Wrist Wraps – The Real Truth
It won’t take many workouts before you will notice some bodybuilders wrapped up like Egyptian mummies. Some of them will use everything they can find: wrist wraps, weight-training gloves, wrist straps, knee wraps, weight-lifting belts, etc. Though we encourage you to lift without any of these weight training accessories, we aren’t going to argue if you won’t lift without them. In this post you will find out all the benefits and drawbacks of wearing wrist straps. We know you’ll make the right decision.
What are wrist wraps?
Wrist wraps, as the name implies, wrap around wrist. Bands of elastic material that are tightly wrapped around the wrist to support them during heavy lifting or while performing exercises that place a high amount of stress on the wrists. They are usually held in place by Velcro. Most have a thumb loop to hold the wraps in place until you tighten them. So after tightening them, get in the habit of pulling the thumb loop off of the thumb. At the end of the wrist wrap a hook-and-loop closure helps to keep the wrap in place.
Wrist wraps of the past were very thin or cut from old knee wraps and did not stretch well. New wrist wraps are a shorter version of knee wraps made of the same material. They are more comfortable, are thicker, stretch better, and hold together longer. Today most drugstores sell them for a few dollars.
Advantages of using wrist wraps
Wrist wraps obviously provide support to the wrists, but they do not add anything to how much a lifter can lift. They will only help you to stabilize the wrist during bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. In other words, they will help you to secure your wrists in proper alignment. Many bodybuilders get sore wrists from doing power cleans, bench presses, standing shoulder presses, and other heavy exercises. Incorrect technique and poor flexibility often cause this soreness. They give great support to the wrist and might prevent a wrist injury if a weightlifter has incorrect technique. They feel good and probably give some psychological support to.
When to wear wrist wraps?
Remember, for wraps to be effective, they have to be pulled pretty tight. There are only a few good reasons to wear wrist wraps:
- If you’ve recently suffered a wrist injury, you may need the support.
- If you have a tendency to hyperextend your wrists while you perform a bench press, it’s a good idea to wrap. Otherwise, you could drop the bar.
- If you are an older person, have already suffered an injury to the wrist, or have arthritis in the wrist, the wrist wrap can help take some pressure off the wrist joint itself.
Drawbacks of wearing wrist wraps
You don’t need wrist wraps if you have healthy wrists. Unfortunately, some bodybuilders abuse this fact. Instead of wrapping only the injured or extremely week area, they wrap just about every joint (both knees and wrists). This not only restricts their range of movement, but also causes the joints to become dependent on the wraps. As you progressively increase the weights you use, your ligaments and tendons increase in strength alongside your muscles. If you wear wraps to much, your wrists will not feel the need to strengthen. This can cause a serious problem.
The trick to using wrist wraps is you gotta keep them loose when you’re not doing your set. When you’re about to hit your set that’s when you tighten them up. Otherwise they are going to cut off your blood flow.
Will you lift more with wrist wraps?
Here’s where people get confused. Wearing wraps helps you lift more weight, which should be good, right? Wrong! Wrist wraps do not add anything to how much a lifter can lift. Even if they could help you to lift more weight, it’s an entirely wrong principle. Being able to lift more weight is good only if it comes as the result of your muscles getting stronger, not because you’ve fortified yourself with wraps.
Once again, a personal preference item. They are certainly not essential to a safe or effective resistance-training program. Wrist wraps are primarily used to support the wrist when you have an injury. If you don’t have weak or injured wrists you will not benefit from their use. True, the initial few workouts will potentially make your wrists and knees sore, but this will also be the time when you strengthen them to withstand further stresses. You have to learn how to preserve proper wrist position, how to make your wrist more flexible, and how to perform the exercise using perfect technique.