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How to wrap your hands for boxing

Boxing is a brutal sport. During a match, a boxer can sustain facial lacerations, eye injuries, nose injuries, and concussions. However, the second most common injury, just below facial lacerations, is one many people fail to consider. According to PubMed, it is hand injuries.

Because of this, a boxer must learn how to properly wrap their hands. While this may seem difficult, it will become second nature after you do it regularly.

Why do I need to wrap my hands for boxing?

A hand might seem tough, but it is a complex machine that has many pieces and moving parts. By the numbers, there are 27 bones, 27 joints, 34 muscles, and over 100 ligaments and tendons. And that doesn’t include nerves, blood vessels, and bursae — tiny sacs that reduce friction between the moving parts of your hand.

A single strike can do a lot of damage to both the recipient and the boxer’s hand. Wrapping the hands before boxing helps hold the bones in place to reduce the occurrence of injuries.

The glory days of boxers like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman may be long past, but boxing gloves aren’t just for prime time fights. Learn how to properly wrap your hands before the match.

How to wrap your hands for boxing

Put your hand palm down

The starting position is palm down with the fingers spread out.

Loop your thumb

One end of your boxing hand wrap will have a loop. Place that loop around your thumb.

Start at your wrist

Take the wrap to the outside of your wrist over the back of your hand. Wrap around your wrist three to four times. It is important to wrap tightly but not to the point of restricting movement or cutting off circulation.

Wrap your knuckles

Angle the wrap up so it moves from the base of your thumb to just below your little finger. Run the wrap across the palm of your hand so it comes out between your thumb and index finger. Wrap around your knuckles three to four times.

Wrap between the fingers

Bring the wrap down across your palm from the outer edge to the base of the thumb. Wrap between the little finger and the ring finger two times before proceeding to the space between your ring finger and your middle finger. Do this twice before moving on to the space between your middle finger and your index finger.

Wrap between the index finger and thumb

To wrap this area, you need to create a figure eight. Wrap across the back of the wrist. Bring the wrap up across your palm to the space between your index finger and thumb. Wrap straight down, then across the front of the wrist. Take the wrap up across the back of your hand, and wrap it between your index finger and thumb. Do this twice.

Alternate knuckles and wrist

Alternate wrapping. Go once around the knuckles and once around the wrist to create an X. Do this twice.

Finish up

Wrap the rest of the wrap around your wrist or your knuckles, and secure it with the hook-and-loop fastener.

Tips for wrapping your hands for boxing

  • Don’t wrap your hand too tight. While you want the wrap to be tight enough to protect your hand, don’t overdo it and wrap your hands so tightly that it constricts movement or blood flow. 
  • Some trial and error are involved. You might have to experiment with the wrap to figure out your preferred style. For instance, do you want more support around the wrist or the knuckles? This will be something you learn with experience.
  • Quick wraps are an option. If you have trouble wrapping your hands using the traditional method, you can purchase quick wraps. These easy-to-don items include a glove and a shorter wrap for wrist support. They are much easier to put on than traditional wraps.


Q. Do I need to wrap my hands if I am wearing boxing gloves?

A. Yes. Boxing gloves and hand wrap serve two different purposes. Boxing gloves cushion the blow. Hand wraps, however, secure the hand. Not wearing hand wraps is similar to not wearing a seatbelt. When there is an impact, you are going to move. Not wrapping your hands means it is much more likely that you will sustain an injury.

Q. Do I need to wrap my hands when hitting a punching bag?

A. Yes. It doesn’t matter what you are hitting, there will always be an impact. That impact, whether with a heavy bag or an opponent, will do the same type of damage to unprotected hands.

Q. How often should I clean my hand wraps?

A. Think of your boxing hand wraps like socks. That means, after every wearing, you should remove them and wash them. Always make sure your hand wraps are fully dry before putting them on. Not only will a damp hand wrap make abrasions more likely, but it also creates a breeding ground for bacteria. If you box every day, consider getting two (or more) pairs of hand wraps.

Q. How long do boxing hand wraps last?

A. Depending on usage and care, boxing hand wraps will last for different lengths of time for different individuals. On average, you can expect to get about six months out of a pair. However, be sure to inspect your wraps as you are putting them on. If you see signs of significant wear and tear, such as faded colors and tears, it may be time to purchase a new pair.

Other essential boxing gear 

Boxing gloves

Boxing gloves are worn over your wrapped hands. They provide a cushion to help further protect your hands from damage. You can get women’s boxing gloves that are specifically designed for women’s hands as well.

Boxing shoes

Boxing shoes should fit like a second skin. They are designed to offer support while providing exceptional grip to give you an advantage in the ring. Both men’s boxing shoes and women’s boxing shoes are available.

Heavy bag

Not all boxing involves hitting another person. You can get in a great workout and burn up to 600 calories in 60 minutes when using a freestanding heavy bag.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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