wrist wraps

Wrist Wrap Guide: What are they, how, and when to use them

by Evelyn Valdez

With so many gym accessories in the market, it may be hard to figure out what gear is best for you. One gym accessories you may have heard of or even seen lifters use are wrist wraps. You probably wondered to yourself, “what are those??”.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Wrist wraps are one of the most misunderstood and misused weightlifting accessories. And lucky for you, we know everything about them because we have our very own collection of Wrist Wraps that are designed to help you lift heavier, safely. So, keep on reading to learn what they're used for and how to properly use them, so you can decide whether you're going to add wrist wraps to your gym bag or not!

What are Wrist Wraps?

Wrist wraps are commonly used by powerlifters, bodybuilders, and even new lifters to help provide wrist support when pushing heavy weights. Some people may confuse them with lifting straps, but they are not the same thing! Wrist wraps only wrap around your wrist and they do not contain a strap that wraps around your hand as lifting straps do. They are just meant to add compression around the wrist to help protect it and to provide stability without limiting the range of motion. However, there are different types of wrist wraps to fit any type of lifter's needs...

  • Wrist wraps: This is the traditional wrist wrap we've discussed above. It's typically made with a durable piece of material with a closing mechanism, usually strong Velcro. They also feature a thumb loop for those who want additional security when lifting. There are fabric wrist wraps, but if you're heavy lifting then grab a pair that are heavy-duty and have strong velcro to ensure you're getting the compression needed for wrist stability.
  • Lifting strap combo (or wrist straps): This type combines wrist wraps and lifting straps to give you additional supportive benefits from the lifting support of straps. So, aside from providing compression to provide stability to the wrist joint, this combination helps with grip fatigue as well, so you can lift more weight to completely fatigue the targeted muscle! This combination isn't as common since most lifters have separate pair of lifting straps for the pull days.
  • EZ grip combo: This combination is great for those who want to protect their palms from blisters and calluses! It's basically a classic wrist wrap, but with an extended leather (or other fabric) pad. The wraps provide wrist support and stability while the pad helps you get a tighter grip on the barbell So, it'll help you securely lift while protecting your palms from the rough weights.
  • Lifting hook combo: This one is very similar to the EZ grip combo, but instead of a pad, there's a lifting hook. This combination is ideal for powerlifting and Strongman workouts because it helps increase grip strength that helps lifters hit PRs on deadlifts, overhead presses, and other heavy compound exercises.

Benefits of wrist wraps for lifting

Wrist wraps help provide stability and compression to the wrist joint during heavy overhead lifts or push exercises. They help you by stabilizing the barbell or dumbbell and preventing draining any strength from your shoulders or legs. So, how does this benefit your heavy lifting? Let us tell you...

  • Helps reduce your risk of injury: As we have discussed, wrist wraps are designed to stabilize and protect your wrist joint when performing max/heavy overhead lifts. Heavier weights can add too much stress to the wrist joint and can cause the wrist to be pulled into excessive extension which can lead to a sprain or a strain. Using wrist wraps while performing max overhead lifts will help give your wrist the support it needs to successfully complete your set and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Helps you train harder, and lift heavier: The stabilization that weightlifting wrist wraps provide allows you to train harder and push heavier weights. Heavier weights can compromise form and fatigue the wrist joint quickly which can lead to failed lifts. With wrist wraps, you have the support needed to help you push through a few more reps without wrist pain and fatigue holding you back.
  • Helps alleviate wrist pain and with injury recovery: If you suffer from wrist pain or soreness and any type of weight causes a tinge of pain, then use wrist wraps to stabilize your arm and reduce the soreness and pain associated with heavy weights. If you're recovering from a wrist injury, which can be common amongst avid weightlifters, use wrist wraps to ease your way back into lifting heavier weights. Luckily the wrist can recover quickly after the proper amount of rest and mobilization. So, once your wrist is starting to feel better, use a pair of heavy-duty wraps for additional support! You can use wrist wraps during push exercises after recovering from a wrist injury to help ease your wrist back into training. Doing this will help improve your wrist stability and take the strain off the joint.

If you’re strength training and want to keep progressing at the gym then definitely think about adding wrist wraps to your gym bag!

When and how to use wrist wraps

The first thing to know about using wrist wraps is knowing when to actually use them! They are commonly used for pressing and overhead lifts. Heavy-duty wrist wraps are designed for heavy lifters and should only be used when you are performing max/heavy sets. However, if you're training for hypertrophy (building muscle) and following a high-rep, moderate-weight workout routine, then you can still utilize wrist wraps for support! High rep workouts cause repetitive stress on the wrist and elbow joint which can eventually lead to a strain and injury. To help, you can use wrist wraps to ease the strain off of your wrist.

However, despite wrist wraps being a great weightlifting accessory to have, they shouldn't be heavily relied on. Relying on wrist wraps for every type of lift can lead to poor mobility in the upper body. So only use them for your heaviest lifts, not for your warm-up sets!

Not sure what exercises to perform with wrist wraps? Stick with heavy pushing exercises like...

  • Max overhead squats
  • Shoulder press exercises
  • Bench presses
  • Triceps extensions

You can even use them for bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups which require a stiff and stable wrist!

How to wear wrist wraps

Strapping on a pair of wrist wraps is easy! It'll depend on the type, but for the classic velcro wraps follow these steps to ensure its securely around your wrist:

Step 1: Find the thumb loop and line it up with the inside of your wrists.

Step 2: Put your thumb through the loop so the wrist wrap is in place on your hand.

Step 3: Wrap your wrist with the velcro side facing in. The velcro needs to be on the outside of the wrist once you’re done wrapping. Keep the edges aligned while you wrap them around your wrists.

Step 4: Wrap it until it’s comfortably tight and secure it with the velcro. It should be tight enough to put pressure, but not too tight that it causes discomfort.

Extra tip: Make sure that the wrist wrap covers the wrist joint enough to create support. If it’s set below the joint then they become useless!

What to look for when buying the best wrist wraps for you

Everyone's lifting needs are different, so the best wrist wraps are really dependent on your training styles and goals. There are three things you should consider when looking for wrist wraps to add to your gym bag...

  • Length: Wrist wraps vary in length, they can be anywhere between 12" to 30" in length! The length of your wrap is important because you want it to be long enough to adjust the compression to your liking, but not too long that there's a bulky wrap interfering with your training performance. For example, a good length for women seems to be 12" and 18-19" for men.
  • Material: Typically wrist wraps are made from a cotton, nylon, or polyester blend. Choose the right type of material for your lifts. If your main focus is on high reps workouts like CrossFit training then cotton may be a better option because it's thinner, more flexible, and lets your wrists breathe. For those using wrist wraps for heavier weights, choose a nylon or polyester blend. These wraps are tougher and durable. We recommend going with nylon or polyester wrist wraps, but again, it really depends on your training style and goals.
  • Stiffness: Aside from the material, take note of the stiffness. Stiffer wraps don't necessarily mean they're better, but they are better for heavy lifting. Flexible wraps are ideal for high rep workouts because you need good wrist stability with some flexibility to perform exercises effectively.

Now you have all the necessary information to help you find the perfect pair of wrist wraps! You'll know exactly what type to get to maximize your training sessions and hit new heights on your fitness journey 💪

Not sure where to buy wrist wraps?

Look no further because we have the ultimate collection of Wrist Wraps! Our Wrist Wraps are made from polyester and feature a strong velcro material that keeps wrist wraps in place. They're heavy-duty, and come in two lengths, 12" and 19". Our original version is 12" in length and is excellent for women and anyone performing high rep workouts, like cross-training. Our Wrist Wraps 2.0 are 19"  in length and can be used by any and all heavy lifting enthusiasts! The long length allows you to adjust the compression to your liking, but not so long that you have extra material getting in the way of your workout. And they come in various colors that match with the rest of our UPPPER Gear!

Lift heavier for longer, safely with UPPPER Gear!

>> Shop UPPPER Wrist Wraps <<


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