One of the most popular gym accessories are wrist wraps. You have definitely been working out at your gym and you see someone with something around their wrist. You ask yourself, “what are they?”
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Wrist wraps are one of the most misunderstood and misused weightlifting accessories. Lucky for you, we know everything about them because we have our very own collection of wrist wraps, called Freestyle Wraps. They 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 your own pair of freestyle wrist wraps to your gym bag or not!
What are wrist wraps?
Not only are wrist wraps an excellent tool, but they are also one of the simplest and most affordable pieces of gym equipment. They're made from a stretchy material that provides just the right amount of support for your wrists.
Wrist wraps do more than just protect the wrists from damage, however. They boost stability and leverage during heavy lifts and can improve your performance in many exercises. If you've been avoiding wrist wraps thinking they look too complicated to use or are unsure if they'll be worth it, don't worry! A quality pair is a great tool to have in your gym bag.
How do you wear your Freestyle wrist wraps?
Before we dig into the benefits of wrist wraps and the best pairs for you, let's talk about how to use them. (If you're a wrist wrap pro, feel free to skip ahead!)
- Place velcro end though the belt loop
- Then put your hand though the hole you created and pull tight
- Wrap the brace around your wrist so that it's snug against your wrist bones.
- Wrap around again, making sure that you have enough coverage to protect your wrists.
- Tighten by pulling on the loose end, creating a velcro seal. The wrap should be snug without cutting off circulation or giving you pain or numbness—you want support, not discomfort!
Simple enough, right? You can do this before all of your lifts. Even if they're just there as extra support during heavy days in the gym or other athletic endeavors with lots of rotations, they can really help!
What are the benefits of using wrist wraps?
Wrist wraps can be beneficial for many reasons. They can help:
- Reduce pain from overuse, allowing you to continue lifting without constant discomfort.
- Reduce risk of injury by preventing your wrists from bending too far backward or forward.
- Increase your strength and power because they provide stability and rigidity in your wrists, which will allow you to lift more weight.
- Improve wrist flexibility and mobility due to their elasticity that allows them to stretch as well as maintain some level of tension on the wrist joint while lifting weights or performing other exercises so that it doesn’t get overworked.
- Improve your form by keeping your wrists straight when doing certain exercises such as bench presses so that there's no chance of bending backwards on accident! This way all the pressure will go into building muscle instead of being focused around an area where there isn't any muscle mass at all (like when people bend their back).
When to use wrist wraps
Wrist wraps are a good idea when you're first starting out, because they help reduce strain on the joint. When you're trying to increase weight and reps, wrist wraps can help you eke out that extra rep or two. If you ever feel pain in your wrists during lifts like the bench press, that's an indicator that it's time to use your wrist wraps.
Wrist wraps can also help protect your wrists when doing overhead lifts such as bench presses or squats. You'll want to at least use them for benching and shoulder presses, but they are nice for other exercises such as squatting as well.
- Adjust your grip on the bar so that you're holding it with a full hand. Wrist wraps can interfere with how you grip the bar, so adjust as necessary to make sure your grip is firm and secure.
- The two most common ways to use wrist wraps for bench press are tucking your elbows in close to your side and keeping them at 45-degree angles while positioning your wrists in line with the rest of your arm. Either way, be sure not to bunch up or bend at a severe angle when you position your wrists. You may choose either straight or angled wrists based on comfort or goals.
- Once you've got everything set up correctly, watch yourself in a mirror while executing several repetitions of bench press. Make any minor adjustments necessary to make sure that everything is lined up properly and remains stable throughout each repetition. Maintain correct form by keeping as much tension as possible on all involved muscle groups throughout each rep.
Wrist wraps are a great tool for shoulder press, but remember that they're not a replacement for proper form. Since you've already learned some ways to stabilize your wrists when you're using them, you should have an idea of what to do with your wrist wraps when it's time to shoulder press.
- Remember proper posture by keeping your chest up and back straight
- Place each of the barbells into the hand position in which you feel most comfortable
- Use the direction of your thumb to help guide the correct positioning of your wrist wraps (make sure they aren't too tight—tightness can be painful and leave marks on your skin)
- Use your wrist wraps as a source of added stability, but make sure that they don't get in the way
What to look for when buying wrist wraps
Since everyone's lifting needs are different, the best wrist wraps are really dependent on your training goals and what you find comfortable. The three main things you should consider when looking for wrist wraps are: length, material, and stiffness.
- The length of wrist wraps can have a large range. Wrist wraps can range anywhere between 12" to 30" in length. The most common length is usually around the 16” mark. The length of your wrap is important because you want it to be long enough to adjust the compression to your liking. However, if they are too long, they can start to interfere with your training performance.
- The most common wrist wraps are made from a cotton, nylon, or polyester blend. Make sure to choose the right type of material for your lifts. For those using wrist wraps for heavy lifting and free weights, you should choose a nylon or polyester blend. If your main focus is CrossFit training, you are more likely to want a cotton blend. The cotton is thinner and more flexible, which helps let your wrists breathe. If you are training for bodybuilding or powerlifting, your best option is the nylon or polyester wrist wraps. These wraps are tougher and more durable.
- Material and stiffness go hand-in-hand. The tougher the material, typically the more stiff. Stiffer wraps do not necessarily make them automatically better, but they are ideal for heavy lifting and free weights. More flexible wraps are ideal for high rep and high intensity workouts because you need to have good wrist flexibility, but also stability to perform exercises effectively and to prevent injury.
If you need some added stability and protection for your wrists, get some wrist wraps!
You should always make sure to get the right size (not too long or short) and a brand that’s known for quality. Be careful not to wrap too tightly as this can increase the risk of injury. If you feel pain when lifting, stop using them immediately.