How to Wrap your hands for Boxing or MMA is a question most coaches are asked frequently and because of the time it requires to show someone and then them to practice can be something that gets overlooked. Creating a good wrap for boxing, MMA or Muay Thai is an essential skill for the combat sports practitioner but also one that takes a little time to learn and often is overlooked by beginners who look at the task as complicated and not necessary until they are more advance. Don’t make that mistake… It’s absolutely necessary!
How to wrap your hands for boxing or for any combat sport is a subject that so many people struggle with early in their martial arts journey but where do you go for help and what’s the best method?
Firstly let’s look at the reasons why you wrap your hands.
In body parts terms your hands are a delicate tool, any sport such as Boxing, MMA or any of the kick boxing forms such as Muay Thai that involve striking and regularly use equipment such as heavy bags or pads can easily cause injury to the hands or wrists of the people involved if precautions are not taken.
Hand wraps serve to protect the small bones in the hand from bruising and even breaking, keep the skin on the knuckles from tearing and help prevent you from spraining your wrists when delivering a punch. The latter problem frequently impacts inexperienced fighters who are hitting the heavy bag often with a poor technical understanding. Many fighters who are inexperienced hitting a bag that could weigh up to 100 pounds will swing their arms and hit the bag without realising they are already storing up potential injuries later or even immediately! I’ve personally seen fighters come in with injuries they have had for many years taking what might be seen by the beginner as almost ridiculously involved protective precautions for their hands later in their careers which maybe could have been avoided by less involved measures earlier.
Gloves are obviously also essential but many people don’t understand that much of the protection you require for your hands comes as much from the handwrap as it does from the gloves no matter how much you paid for your gloves!
Best Hand Wraps to Buy
Quality boxing hand wraps usually offer a quality cotton of either 120”, 180” or in some case 200” some offer a degree of stretch in the wrap some do not but the slightly stretchy style is now increasingly popular.
The Length depends on the usage and for MMA the shorter wrap may well be favoured with a smaller knuckle pad but beware of striking heavy bags with small wraps and gloves. Many MMA fighters will strike a heavy bag very lightly using their MMA gloves retaining their power shots for full wraps and 10oz or bigger bag or boxing gloves.
A standard wrap in modern terms is the 4.5m or 180” wrap.
Methods of wrapping for Boxing and Combat Sports
There are many methods to wrap your hands which are equally relevant but the key components are the knuckle pad and wrist wrap. Some coaches are keen on a thumb wrap some are not.
The videos we provide below show some of the world’s top coaches and fighters sharing their methodology. Try a few and see which suits you however as long as you get competent with a good method and a little luck your hands should manage to avoid most the common injuries sustained by fighters and martial artists whilst training!
Method 1. Mark Dellagrotte; Sittytong Gym Boston.
This is a lovely straightforward method for a tight and secure wrap. Mark includes wrapping the thumb but doesn’t emphasize building the knuckle in favour of security around the wrist and simplicity although leaving the option for building the knuckle to the end. Mark being from a Muay Thai background favours what is an all round protective wrap and we would recommend this method for beginners as its easy to create a good secure fit as well as providing the essential protection you need.
Method 2. Chris Camozzi – UFC Vet
This is a more complex method than Method 1 however it builds the knuckle pad right at the start of the wrap so is certainly a good option for anyone with a previous knuckle injury, heavy hitters and boxers. Chris doesn’t use the thumb loop using the stretch of the fabric to secure the wrap. This is a tricky one to do well but once you get it is a great method giving excellent protection over the knuckles and a secure wrist so try it out and expect to need to practice to get it perfect!
Method 3 BJ Penn
We included this one as the MMA legend BJ Penn uses what I would describe a specific wrap for MMA gloves. He is using shorter 120″ wraps and is the only one on out the set that does this. If you are specifically wrapping whilst using MMA gloves this method is a good one (also check out Method 4 Jeremy Williams)
Method 4 Jeremy Williams
One of American Boxings most feared knock out artists Jeremy Williams demonstrates quite a different method here keeping his knuckle flat and emphasizing security on across the entire wrap. This is again more complex than the first method but he mentions wanting comfort inside the glove and this method is suitable for small boxing gloves and MMA gloves. He also double wraps the thumb seeing the protection of his thumb as paramount and keeping a tight flat top wrap.