Hand wraps are the most under rated equipment in boxing. We tend to forget that hand wraps are really imperative because they protect a boxer’s most important and useful weapon - “hands.” Therefore, don’t ignore the hand wraps. Also, know that the purpose of a hand wrap is not to cushion impact rather they secure all your loose joints and small bones. When you wrap up your hands, the shock is well distributed and the tight grip helps you when you make a fist. So whether it is your heavy bag day or a day with your speed bag or in the ring, don’t forget to use the hand wraps.
Along with knowing the importance of hand wraps, it is also essential to know how to keep them clean. Your hands tend to get all sweaty when you’re boxing or even during training, and so do wash and clean your hand wraps on regular basis; in fact you should maintain a good hygiene with the hand wraps as well as with your gloves. Here are some quick tips to help you keep your hand wraps clean and avoid them from being smelly.
How to keep your hand wraps clean
- Hand wraps need washing every now and then. They are crammed into sweaty gloves and though you dry them out most of the times but it is important to wash them as well.
- Before washing your hand wraps do remember that the fabric is such that its color might bleed therefore don’t wash them with whites especially. Wash them with similar colors.
- Every hand wrap comes with washing instructions therefore read those before you get to washing of the wraps.
- Usually it is alright to wash your hand wraps in the machine but don’t dry them in there because that would shrink them. Always hang and dry the hand wraps. This will increase their life as well as maintain the creases etc.
- Some hand wraps come with an instruction to wash them by hand as it helps increase the life of the product.
Pro Tip: Get a wash bag for your hand wraps and avoid a tangled mess in the laundry.
We would also suggest that you get two pairs at least so that they can be washed and cleaned on regular basis. Also if you have a habit of rolling the hand wraps after use; unroll them and hang them to dry to get them rid of the sweat and odor.
How to wash hand wraps depends a lot on the material that they are made up of as well. Here is a short note on the different materials that hand wraps are available in.
Materials used for hand wraps
Tape & Gauze: These are used by most professionals and are commonly known as athletic tape and gauze. These are protective and also quite light. They take more time to wrap and cannot be reused. These are excellent but not practical for training on regular basis.
Reusable cloth hand wraps: These are usual classic hand wraps; the absolute standard. Mexican hand wraps: These look exactly like cotton wraps but they have much more elasticity. These feel better but in terms of life, they have a slightly shorter lifespan as compared to cotton hand wraps.
Gel hand wraps: These wraps aren’t like traditional ones; in fact they are more like gloves and are to be slipped on. They have a lot of padding and are quite convenient. However, these aren’t recommended by a number of professionals who feel that the wrist isn’t supported well and these don’t contour your hand as well as traditional hand wraps.
Which wrap works best for you is something that you will have to find an answer to. You can consult your trainer and also try these yourself to find out the perfect hand wrap. Since these are vitally essential, it is important that you know which ones to use as well as how to tie them up. There are a number of ways to wrap your hands; let’s take a glimpse of one of the methods.
Wrap up your hands perfectly for excellent grip
- First loop your thumb and begin wrapping from the back of your hand (not the palm.) This is because if you wrap from the front then the handwraps will loosen when you make a fist whereas when you wrap from the back then the handwraps become tighter and gives you a better grip.
- Secondly, while wrapping your hands, give due important to your wrist. Wrap the fabric around your wrist a few times to protect it well.
- Thirdly, move on to wrapping your palm.
- Next, when you’re done wrapping your palm then bring the fabric back down below your thumb and begin to make an X on your hand. From the bottom of your thumb take the fabric between your pinky finger and ring finger. Bring the fabric around your fingers and take the fabric down (like an X). Repeat the process with all fingers.
- Once that’s done, bring the fabric down to your thumb and make it go around it once.
- Continue to wrap the handwraps around your knuckles and finish the job around the wrist. You can also take the handwraps around your knuckles a few more times and finally finish with the Velcro on the wrist.
Pro tip: You can know that you’ve tied your handwrap well if it tightens around your hand when you make a fist.
Final word about hand wraps
- Don’t ignore them. It takes just a few minutes to wrap it on and take it off but these are absolutely vital for giving your hands a good grip as well as protection.
- Don’t tie them up too tight because with that your hand might end up hurting especially since it will reduce the blood flow of your hand.
- Some athletes tie the hand wraps tightly whereas some leave them a little looser. Usually latter one is preferred but looser hand wraps on the wrist allows better uppercuts and hooks etc. So choose what you prefer.
- Wrapping is a ritual that should be followed every time you practice as well as when you’re in combat.
- As far cleaning your hand wraps is concerned, don’t shy away. Remember to dry them every time you use them and wash them regularly. Not washing and drying them properly will lead to your hand wraps getting spoiled quite fast. Even though they are cheap, you won’t want to spend your time, energy and money on these all the time.
Pro tip: Don’t underestimate the power of a hand wrap.