Hand wraps help protect the bones and tendons in your hands when you are training by punching heavy bags or speed bags and when you are sparring with full contract. They also help support your wrist and thumb and protect the knuckles from being grazed/rubbed raw and possibly infected. To help prevent injuries, always wrap your hands before working out.

There are various styles of hand wraps. The least expensive and easiest to find are the ribbon hand wraps. They come in various lengths: for small hands, 120" hand wraps are good; for medium to large hands, use 170" or longer. Most sporting goods stores sell hand wraps, but usually only the short versions, only good for small hands.

  • Proper tightness of hand wraps is important. Wraps should be tight enough to stay firmly in place, but not too tight, or they will hamper circulation. You should be able to form a correct fist, with the knuckles covered by the wrap. Wrapping takes practice. If your hand wraps do not feel right, do them over.
  • Hand wraps have a top and bottom. Some are clearly marked "This Side Down." The reason is that the Velcro fastener should be face up when finished. If you started with the wrong side down, just give the wrap a twist at the end of wrapping.
  • Hand wraps can be machine washed and dried. Put them in a sock wash bag to prevent tangling.
  • Let wraps dry after a workout and then roll them before using them again. If you work out several times a week, use a couple of pairs.
  • For smaller hands, avoid wrapping too many times around the palm, because the wrappings will bunch up. You may need to include a couple figure 8's and extra times around the wrist to take up the slack.  

Ways to wrap

There are different ways to wrap hands. Some add extra protection to the knuckles, while others help keep the wraps from moving and loosening.  

The following instructions are for wrapping left hand with 9' cotton Velcro fastened wraps. Right hand is wrapped in the same manner.

  • Put thumb through loop in wrap so wrap is lying across wrist.
  • Wrap twice around wrist in the direction shown.  
  • Turn hand over and wrap across back of hand between thumb and first finger.  
  • Turn hand over and spread fingers to allow slack around knuckles. Wrap twice around knuckles in the direction shown.  
  • Turn hand over and wrap across back of hand going below thumb. 
  • Turn your hand over and wrap around thumb as shown and then across the back of hand. 
  • Wrap across wrist, around thumb, and across palm. 
  • Wrap across back of wrist, under thumb, around thumb as shown, and then across wrist. 
  • Turn hand over and wrap across back of hand going between thumb and index finger.  
  • Turn hand over. Wrap around knuckles.  
  • Turn hand over. Wrap across back of hand below thumb and then around wrist.
  • Secure wrap using the Velcro strips.  


Shotokan karate. [Online]. Available: http://thecyberdojo.com/index.html

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