Boxing is a physically demanding sport that requires intense training, skill, and technique. It’s also a sport that comes with a high risk of injury, especially to the hands.
The human hand is a complex system of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are vulnerable to damage from the repetitive impact of boxing. That’s why hand protection is crucial for boxers, and one of the most important tools for hand protection is the hand wrap.
The importance of protecting your hands in boxing
Punching bags, pads, and opponents can put an enormous amount of stress on the hands, which can lead to injuries such as fractures, sprains, and bruises.
Hand injuries not only affect a boxer’s ability to fight but can also result in long-term damage that can impact their daily life. A boxer’s career can be severely impacted by a hand injury, causing them to lose valuable training time and competition opportunities.
One of the best ways to protect the hands in boxing is by using hand wraps (link to Amazon). Hand wraps are strips of cloth that are wrapped around the boxer’s hands and wrists before putting on boxing gloves. They provide an additional layer of protection to the hands by absorbing shock, distributing pressure, and stabilizing the wrist and hand.
Hand wraps also help to prevent the skin from tearing and protect the knuckles from abrasion and cuts.
Hand wraps and their purpose
The purpose of hand wraps is to secure the wrist, pad the knuckles, and stabilize the hand. Hand wraps are designed to be wrapped around the hand in a specific pattern to provide maximum protection and support.
The hand wrap should start from the base of the thumb and wrap around the wrist, palm, and knuckles. It should be tight enough to provide support but not too tight that it restricts blood flow or movement.
How the hand can be injured in boxing
The human hand is a complex structure that consists of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When a boxer punches, the force of the impact is absorbed by the hand. This can cause the bones in the hand to fracture or break. In addition, the tendons and ligaments in the hand can also be damaged.
This can lead to long-term injuries that can affect a boxer’s ability to compete.
Materials Used to Make Hand Wraps
The materials used to make hand wraps are an important consideration when choosing the right wrap for your needs. The most common materials used are cotton, spandex, and polyester. Cotton is a popular choice because it is comfortable, absorbent, and easy to wash. Spandex is often added to provide elasticity and help the wrap retain its shape. Polyester is used for its durability and ability to wick moisture away from the skin.
Some hand wraps are also infused with antimicrobial properties to help prevent the growth of bacteria and odors. This is especially important for fighters who train frequently and need to keep their equipment clean and hygienic.
The length of hand wraps ranges from 120 to 200 inches, depending on the boxer’s preference and the level of protection needed.
Types of Hand Wraps Available in the Market
There are several types of hand wraps available in the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. The most common types are traditional wraps, gel wraps, and quick wraps.
Traditional wraps are the most popular type of hand wrap and are used by most boxers and fighters. They are made from a long, narrow strip of fabric that is wrapped around the hands and wrists in a specific pattern to provide support and protection.
Gel wraps are a newer type of hand wrap that features a layer of gel padding over the knuckles and along the back of the hand. They provide extra cushioning and support, making them a popular choice for fighters who have had previous hand injuries or who want to reduce the risk of injury during training and competition.
Quick wraps are a type of hand wrap that is pre-formed and designed to slip over the hand and wrap around the wrist. They are easy to put on and take off, making them a convenient choice for fighters who want to save time and effort. However, they do not provide the same level of support and protection as traditional or gel wraps.
How to Wrap Your Hands for Boxing
Proper hand wrapping is crucial for boxers to protect their hands from injuries and ensure optimal performance during training and competition.
- Gather your materials: To begin, you will need a pair of hand wraps, typically 180 inches in length, and a flat surface to work on.
- Position the hand wrap: Hold the hand wrap with the loop at one end. Slide your thumb through the loop, ensuring that the side with the label faces down.
- Wrap the wrist: Begin by wrapping the hand wrap around your wrist three to four times, moving towards your elbow. This provides essential wrist support and stability.
- Wrap the thumb: After securing the wrist, bring the hand wrap diagonally across the back of your hand and wrap it around your thumb once. Then, bring it back across your hand towards your wrist.
- Wrap the knuckles: With the hand wrap now at your wrist, move it across the back of your hand and wrap it around your knuckles three to four times. Ensure that your fingers are spread apart to allow for proper padding and flexibility.
- Secure the fingers: Starting at the pinky finger, weave the hand wrap between each finger, moving towards the index finger. After wrapping between the fingers, bring the hand wrap back down to your wrist.
- Reinforce the wrist and knuckles: Wrap the hand wrap around your wrist once more, then move it back up to your knuckles, wrapping them an additional two to three times for added protection.
- Finalize the wrap: Finish by securing the remaining hand wrap around your wrist. Use the Velcro strap to fasten it in place, ensuring a snug but comfortable fit.
Other Protective Gear to Consider
A crucial component of a boxer’s protective gear, boxing gloves provide cushioning and support to the hands, reducing the impact of punches. They come in various sizes and weights, so it’s essential to choose the right pair for your specific needs.
A mouthguard is a vital piece of equipment that protects the teeth, gums, and jaw from injury during sparring or competition. Custom-fit mouthguards offer the best protection and comfort, but boil-and-bite options are also available.
Wearing headgear can help protect the head and face from cuts, bruises, and concussions. It is especially important for amateur boxers and those who are new to the sport.
A groin protector shields the sensitive groin area from accidental low blows during sparring or competition. Both male and female boxers should wear groin protectors for optimal safety.
For those who practice kickboxing or Muay Thai, shin guards are essential for protecting the shins and insteps from injury during training and sparring.
How to Care for Hand Wraps
Proper care and maintenance of hand wraps are crucial for ensuring their longevity and effectiveness. Follow these guidelines to keep your hand wraps in optimal condition:
- Washing: After each use, hand wraps should be washed to remove sweat and bacteria. To prevent tangling, either place them in a mesh laundry bag or wash them by hand using mild detergent. Allow the hand wraps to air dry, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources.
- Storage: Store your hand wraps in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Rolling them up neatly after each use will help maintain their shape and elasticity.
- Inspection: Regularly inspect your hand wraps for signs of wear and tear, such as fraying, thinning, or loss of elasticity. Damaged hand wraps may not provide adequate protection and should be replaced.
- Replacement: The frequency of replacement depends on the intensity and frequency of your training. As a general rule, hand wraps should be replaced every six months to a year, or sooner if they show signs of wear and tear.