Muay Thai is the art of eight limbs. Practicing your shadowboxing, increasing your stamina through endurance training, and learning techniques to overcome your opponent in the ring are all crucial parts of this sport that we love. One critical, imperative aspect that isn’t mentioned much when people are first beginning to train Muay Thai is that you’re…
Muay Thai is the art of eight limbs. Practicing your shadowboxing, increasing your stamina through endurance training, and learning techniques to overcome your opponent in the ring are all crucial parts of this sport that we love. One critical, imperative aspect that isn’t mentioned much when people are first beginning to train Muay Thai is that you’re going to sustain a ton of small bruises, cuts, and other minor injuries in the gym. I can almost guarantee it. That’s why we’re going to go into the basics regarding hand wraps and how to wrap them properly so that you can get the most out of your training.
There are a total of 27 bones in each of our hands, and they’re all responsible for allowing a full range of movement. These bones, while resilient, are just as susceptible to injury during a fight as they are during training. Have you tried punching a heavy bag without wraps on? It’s a bit painful. The padding from proper hand-wraps would allow you to punch it harder, and for a longer period of time too. Wrapping your hands for Muay Thai, boxing, or MMA protect your knuckles, make sure your bones don’t break, and secure your fragile wrists. Compression and padding are the two major ways hand wraps do this, which is why it’s imperative that you wrap them properly during training.
Above is a pretty complex and detailed analysis of the different nerves within our hands. In comparison to the rest of the body, the nerves in our hands are constantly sending signals to our brain and back. One aspect not talked about enough is the potential nerve damage that can happen due to repeated use of the hands in a forceful way. While the main risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome is genetic, hitting a bag, pad, or person the wrong way can pinch nerves, making you more susceptible.
There are three main types of wraps used for combat sports, but let’s focus specifically on Muay Thai. Cloth wraps are standard across Thailand at the moment and are definitely the simplest to put on. Other types of wraps include gauze and tape wraps, and elastic bandage wraps. Here’s a diagram below, with pros and cons to each of them.
A great reference image from an article by BoxFitUK
The proper way when wrapping hands for Muay Thai is to focus on knuckle padding. When you create that padding, it provides you with an extra layer of protection when you are hitting the heavy bag or pads. Using small gloves to hit a hard heavy bag doesn’t provide a lot of protection in the knuckles. The extra padding at the start of this method helps keep the knuckles firmly secure and protects them from damage. For what it’s worth, I recommend using 14-16oz gloves when doing bag work. If you can learn to wrap your hands with this method, it feels natural. With your knuckle and wrist properly secured, the chance that you get injured during training decreases significantly.
- Putting Wraps on Too Tightly — When wrapping your hands too tightly, you’ll notice soon that it becomes uncomfortable. You lose mobility, blood circulation, and it’s an all-around nightmare to train in.
- Not Wrapping Tight Enough — When you don’t wrap them tight enough, they will fall apart during training.
- Rolling the wraps with the wrong side down – If you start your wrap the wrong side down, you’ll just end up having to re-wrap them at the end. Make sure that the logo side is facing opposite of your skin in order to avoid this. If you started your wrap already, when you’re at the end and either velcroing or clipping on the remaining portion, flip the end in order to do so.
- Not making a fist – There are certain points that you will need to make a fist in order for your wraps to fit snugly. Watch the video below to make sure that you know when to make a fist.
- Failing to properly support your wrist – If you don’t give your wrist enough loops with your wraps, you might not have the adequate support when you punch. If your wrist is not tight and secured, you may sprain your wrist if you hit a hard heavy bag.