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Benefits of Wrist Wraps

Your wrists take quite the beating when lifting weights.  

For most exercises, you will have a barbell or dumbbell placed in your hand.  Any slight deviation of the wrist either forward, back, or side-to-side, will cause additional stress at the level of the joint. 

What you want to limit as much as possible are these wrist movements under load.  

When you wear wrist wraps you create wrist stability and any movement of the wrist will be much more difficult.

For example, in the bench press, you want to ensure that the barbell sits in your palm directly over your wrist joint.  As the load gets heavier, the wrist might cock backward, which will increase the stress for the entire kinetic chain, from your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. 

By wearing stripes series wrist straps in this scenario, you have a better chance to keep the barbell stacked directly over the wrist without it flexing backward.  

2. Gives You The Ability To Push Beyond Your Fatigue Limits

When you’re training hard, you will push your muscles to their fatigue limit.  

Not all muscles fail at the same rate though.  

There is generally a cascading effect where your smaller stabilizing muscles will fatigue first, followed by your larger prime movers. 

If you wear camouflage series wrist wraps , you can protect your smaller muscle groups from fatiguing quicker. 

For example, in the bench press, let’s say you want to do an AMRAP set at 70% load (as many reps as possible).

You’ll start the set with your wrist directly stacked over your wrist; however, as the set goes on, the smaller muscles in your forearm that help stabilize the wrist begin to fatigue.  As such, your wrist starts to cock backward.  Once those stabilizing muscle groups fatigue, other muscle groups need to work harder to pick up the slack.  

Therefore, if you can keep your wrist stabilized longer throughout the set, you will likely be able to rep out an additional couple of reps because your system as a whole is working in unison with each other, not overcompensating for weaker muscle groups. 

3. Allows You To Return To Lifting Post-Injury Quicker

If you already have a pre-existing wrist injury, then wrist wraps might help you return to lifting a bit quicker. 

Obviously, you’ll want to heed the advice of your medical doctor, as wrist wraps aren’t a magic cure to fixing injuries.  

However, wrist wraps are a tool in helping people lift weights while experiencing some level of wrist pain or discomfort.  

This is because pain is often caused by bending or flexing the wrist, and wraps can provide the rigidity necessary to keep the joint neutral. 

Wrist wraps can make your hands stronger for any exercise that involves gripping, such as deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, etc.

Try this right now: 

Take your right hand and place the palm on the wrist of the left arm  

Your right thumb and fingers should wrap around the left wrist 

Squeeze your right hand as hard as possible

Observe what happens to the fingers of your left hand 

You should notice that your fingers on the left hand start to close.  

This is the effect that tight thickened wrist bracers have on your grip.  

When you wear wrist wraps your fingers will squeeze harder around the bar.  This is why you see some top-level powerlifters wear wrist wraps while deadlifting.  

5. Makes The Weight Feel Lighter In Your Hand

If your hands are tight around the barbell the load will feel lighter in your hands, which will build your confidence under heavier weight. 

This happens because of the idea of proprioception, which is your body’s sense of the world, including the sense of muscle force and effort.  

Our proprioception is activated by receptors in our skin, muscles, tendons, and joints.  So, when a barbell sits in our hands, it’s constantly providing feedback to our central nervous system to how the weight feels and where our body is in space. 

You can increase your proprioceptive ability by creating rigidity in your muscles. 

Therefore, if your hands are tight, the more proception you have and the lighter the weight feels. 

However, if your hands are relaxed, the less proprioception you have, and the heavier the weight feels. 

Because wrist wraps ensure the muscles in your forearm don’t fatigue as quick and helps grip the barbell tighter, it will help make the weight feel lighter in your hand while lifting. 

Most wrist wraps made from blends are about $5-$10 more expensive compared with the cotton wraps. The additional cost is absolutely necessary if you want a high-quality wrap that will provide you with the needed support. 

Like I said, my go-to wrist wraps are the Inzer True Gripper Stripes Series Knee Strap, which are made from 40% elastic, 10% polyester, and 50% cotton. There’s also a strip of rubber down the middle of the wrap, which grips your skin, ensuring that the wrap does not move once it’s secured by the velcro.

There are several ways that you can wear wrist wraps depending on the benefit you’re trying to leverage the most.  

For example, if you want to increase joint stability and increase your gripping strength, you’ll be required to wrap your wrist differently for these seperate purposes.   

There are several benefits to wearing wrist wraps for bench press, including increasing joint stability, allowing you to push beyond your normal fatigue limits, keeping your wrist injury-free, giving you the capacity to grip the bar tighter, and making the weight feel lighter in your hands. 

Beginner lifters don’t need to wear wrist wraps to start working out.  However, if you already have strength training experience and want to increase performance then wrist wraps should be an integral part of your lifting gear. 

I am one of those cursed few who—unless snow is actively falling from the sky and I have been outside for more than two hours—always wants the area around me to be five degrees cooler than it is at any given moment. Nowhere is this more apparent than the gym, where a tough workout in what most would define as "room temperature" is enough to transform me into that one gym friend who looks like a walking puddle. And because my hands are not exempt from this indiscreet form of slipperiness, the single most important workout accessory I own—more than my phone, or my podcasts, or maybe even my shoes, honestly—are my trusty pair of wrist straps.

The most common variety of a wrist strap is a set of two strips of cloth, each a little over a foot long, with a sturdy, stitched-in loop at one end. The opposite end goes through the loop, and the resulting circle then slides neatly around your wrist. Before each lift, you wrap the loose end around the handle of the weights as many times as possible and then tuck any excess beneath your fingers, essentially cinching your palm to the handle. Congratulations, you have just turned from a earnest, damp-palmed fitness enthusiast prone to slippage into a rock-fisted, steel-forearmed master of all that is grip.

Wrist straps work by essentially shoring up the weak point in your grip—where your fingers meet—with an equal and opposite force. (Note that when wrapping, you want the loose end to go around the bar in the direction opposite your fingers. In other words, the back of your palm, which is hopefully impermeable, should be on one side of the bar, and the strap should be roughly parallel to it and winding around the other.) Think about the pulling exercises where, toward the send of a particularly onerous set, the benefit you're deriving from eking out those last few reps is perhaps diminished by your slowly-yet-inexorably-failing grasp on the bar—deadlifts, rows, lat pulldowns, pull-ups, shrugs, and the like. Taking a few seconds to lash yourself to the weight will help fight this fatigue, keeping your movement steady and stable and making the tenth count as just as valuable as the first.

As in most things that you'll encounter throughout your fitness journey, wrist straps are best used in moderation. The forearm muscles that comprise your grip get worked every time you pulling a weight against gravity, and relying too heavily on straps risks weakening your unassisted hold on the bar. One way to avoid this pitfall is to use them only when you really, actually need them—that is, when you're in the gym and your grip is slipping—instead of automatically breaking them out the moment it's time for shrugs. Performing a few wrist curls or using a hand grip strengthener, too, can help ensure that the bottom segment of your arm gets gets just as wicked jacked as the all-important top one.

Might you look a little goofy with frayed segments of canvas hanging from your wrists? Sure. But they just might make a meaningful impact on the efficacy of some of the weight room's most foundational exercises, and at only a couple bucks, it doesn't hurt to have a pair in your gym bag just in case.

Wrist wraps are a great exercise accessory to keep in your gym bag. After all, they protect some of your most important joints (your wrists) while you lift. But a quick Amazon search produces hundreds of results — option overload.

You'll probably even see a few wrist straps in your results, too. Not to be confused with wrist wraps, lifting straps twist around a barbell to improve your grip and don't actually support your wrist. Wrist wraps, however, are all about stability and joint support.

Luckily, we've taken the confusing research out of your hunt. Browse our expert-recommended options and learn how to zero in on the best wrist wraps for your lifting workouts.

If you want to give your wrists a little extra relief while you strength train, these supportive wrist straps can provide all the stability an everyday lifter needs.

These are perfect for day-to-day, non-competitive lifting because they're easy to adjust and take on and off, according to Jereme Schumacher, DPT, a Washington-based doctor of physical therapy.

You can also use these for extra joint protection when you play sports like tennis or basketball. You can even toss them on if you're planning to spend a long time typing on your computer — your wrists will thank you.

Most of the best wrist wraps fit relatively stiff and snug, but these are more flexible, making them the best CrossFit wrist wraps you can buy, according to Schumacher.

That's because CrossFit workouts involve a lot of different exercises, all of which demand different levels movement from your wrists. For instance, your wrists should stay pretty rigid during deadlifts, but need to bend during handstands.

Fortunately, Gymreapers' wraps are both adjustable and flexible to accommodate both needs.

For many people in the gym, grip strength tends to be a problem area with a lot of pulling exercises, like deadlifts or rows, according to Schumacher.

While you don't want to neglect training your grip strength in your workout routine (wrist curls can help with that), these wraps have a built-in glove to give your grip a little extra traction.

Plus, this wrap protects the skin on your hands from tearing and callousing as you lift.

Providing more support than the average wrap, these are the best powerlifting wrist wraps you can sport, according to Schumacher.

When powerlifting or otherwise moving heavy loads, it's best to seek max support for your wrist to help keep them injury-free. The extra wide, 18-inch band on these wraps offers the high level of stability needed.

"When looking at wrist wraps for powerlifting, [look at] the length," he says. "They generally vary between 12-inch, 16-inch and 18-inch lengths and this affects the wraps' performance and feel [more on that below]. I recommend trying a few different types of wraps to see what works best for you." (Opt for longer wraps for more stability.)