Wrist wraps imageWrist Wraps are exercising or sporting equipment worn around the wrist. Their main purpose is to give extra support to the wrist to avoid pain and/or injury during heavy weight lifting sessions. They are used when you need extra support:

  • due to poor mobility in the wrist and hand,
  • when you experience wrist pain under heavy weight,
  • and in cases of nerve impingement around your wrist.

The extra support keeps the wrist tight and secured, in order to keep your wrist straight under pressure and reduce pressure pain.

What are Wrist Wraps?

Wrist wraps are usually made of an elastic material that restrict the forward and backward movement of the wrist. This helps lifters to bend without totally immobilizing the joint. They are used by most power lifters, olympic lifters and CrossFitters.

Wrist wraps vary in length from 24 to 36 inches as the official maximum length for athletes. If you intend to use wrist wraps during official games, make sure they don’t go more than 2cm above the wrist joint. In normal cases, it should not even touch the fleshy parts of the hands.

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Here is a quick video explaining how to put on wrist wraps to make sure you know how to do it correctly. Doing it wrong can actually lead to further injury or pain.

Wrist Wraps Vs Wrist Straps

Wrist wraps should not be confused with wrist straps. Warps used to support and stabilise the wrist, as well as to target specific muscles during work out sessions. Straps are used during exercises that involves pulling, such as deadlifts and barbell rows.

Also read: Crossfit vs Bootcamp Quiz

Lifting straps in most instances are just thin straps that are used for wrapping around your wrist while doing exercises. They are popular among Olympic lifters since they are designed for treatment of hand, wrist and forearm injuries, as well as for support. Wrist wraps are the best powerlifting in the world featuring new materials that store as well as release up to 20% more energy without additional mass.

8 Benefits of Wrist Wraps

  1. Using a wrist wrap will reduce the stress your hands and wrists will have to pass through during any weightlifting session.
  2. Not wearing wraps can weaken the muscle group during a workout intended to strengthen it in the first place. This can be avoided by simply putting one on.
  3. They allow you to train more frequently using heavier weights that would be sure to place undue stress on the wrists.
  4. When going for maximum efforts lifts, they ensure that your wrists don’t slip or bend back out which in turn causes discomfort.
  5. Due to the recent rise in the number of weight training injuries now tended to in emergency rooms, wrist wraps are now very important during weight lifting and body building activities.
  6. Wrist wraps encourage you to concentrate properly on specific muscles during workout, the lift more effective.
  7. They also work to prevent injury and as protection for older injuries.
  8. Lastly, wrist wraps will prevent injuries like Carpel Tunnel syndrome, Syndesmosis, Tendinitis and wrist strains.

Different Ways to Use Wrist Wraps

Front squat with wrist wraps

Heavy Front Squat Position with Wrists bent

Wrist wraps are used in different occasions for different reasons and purposes. Although, it is especially used by athletes who make great use of their arms (a weight lifter for instance), it is also used for normal workout sessions or any other activities that would involve gripping, lifting and pulling heavy weights.

Squatting with Wrist Wraps

There are two main techniques used in gripping a lift during squats. They are the straight wrist technique and the bent wrist technique. When squatting with straight wrists (common in back squats mostly), you most likely won’t need the use of a wrist wrap. This is because your wrist is straight and already being supported by your own muscles.

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However, they definitely help when squatting with bent wrists technique (common for overhead squats and front squats). What the Wrist Wrap does in this case is relieve pressure and absorb the load, instead of the elbow. This can prevent, as well as cure elbow tendonitis – an injury that can be caused by carrying a bar the wrong way.Straight vs Bent Wrist

Bench Pressing with Wrist Wraps

Unlike in the Squats, a bent wrist technique when gripping a bench press is inefficient. The bench press works by moving the bar directly over the wrist and the force is then channelled directly into the bar itself, instead of the bent wrist.

So in other words, you would use wrist wraps during bench press if you struggle to keep your wrists straight during the movement. The wrist will naturally bend a bit without them, but too much can get painful, especially if you have immobile wrists.

Aside from these two main powerlifting movements, you can also find them being used for the following movements:

  • Snatches
  • Cleans
  • Any shoulder to overhead movement (strict press, push press and jerk)
  • Overhead Squats
  • Weighted Dips (on rings or parallel bars)

Closing Thoughts

Overhead position

Overhead position OHS or Snatch

For the most effective use of wrist wraps, it’s best not rely on them all the time. They should not be used when working on wrist strength and mobility e.g. during push-ups. Just as they are worn for support during lifts and workouts, they should be removed during lift sessions that are not so serious.

Must read: Knee wraps vs Knee braces vs Knee sleeves

Avoid using them during a warm up. Only stick them on when the weights start getting heavy or you are doing a lot of reps in a row.

Do not put them on too tight. This could lead to interruption in blood circulation and lead to weaker grasp and unintended injuries. In case of minor injuries to the wrist, rehabilitation should be taken as soon as possible, instead of relying on them to ease the pain.

If you are a powerlifter, crossfitter, bodybuilder or even a plain gym junkie and are lifting 3 figures (eg. 100kg+), then you should at least give wrist wraps a go and see how they feel. You may be surprised at how much more comfortable those heavier lifts become.

Matt Rollans

Matt Rollans

Matt has been doing Crossfit since 2015and is the founder of Rxdsleeves.com. He has competed in multiple competitions throughout his community. He has made it his mission to provide the best, high quality and honest reviews of crossfit products out there on the market.
Matts PRs can be found on the about page http://www.rxdsleeves.com/about/
Matt Rollans