Boxing gloves, headgear and a mouthguard are three key pieces of protective equipment in boxing. But whether you're hitting a heavy bag or sparring with an opponent, you must always take time to carefully wrap your hands. Boxers wrap their hands in a variety of ways; in professional bouts, boxers use gauze and tape, but at the amateur level, boxers use cotton wraps. In both cases, the material you wrap around your hands is called "hand wraps."
Hand Wrap Purpose
The thick padding of your boxing gloves cushions the blow of each punch to a certain point, but without properly wrapping your hands, you're at risk of damaging your bones or joints. The purpose of wrapping your hands before training or fighting is to pull the joints and bones in your hands together; without tightly wrapped hands, each punch can create an impact that creates movement in your joints, leading to damage of your joints or bones.
Enter any boxing gym, and you'll notice the vast majority of boxers, if not all of them, are using cotton hand wraps instead of wraps made of tape and gauze. Cotton wraps are available in a variety of colors and lengths; the longer the wrap, the more protection it offers. This type of hand wrap is ideal because you can wash it after using it and re-use it for years. The standard method of using cotton wraps is to slip the loop at one end of the wrap around your thumb, make several passes around your wrist and then wind the wrap over your largest knuckles. Cotton wraps adhere to themselves with Velcro tabs.
Tape and Gauze Wraps
In the professional ranks of the sport, the protection of a boxer's hands is vitally important, given the fighter's earning potential. As such, a boxer's trainer spends several minutes before each fight, and often before each training session, wrapping the fighter's hands with gauze and tape. Although boxers favor different styles of wrapping their hands, the approach typically consists of winding several layers of gauze around the fighter's wrists and hands and securing the gauze with athletic tape.
Wrapping Your Hands
If you're a professional, you won't have to worry about the act of wrapping your hands, as your trainer will do the work for you. For everyone else, wrapping your hands properly is a trial-and-error process. When your hands are wrapped, the wrap shouldn't be too tight, nor should it be too loose. It should tighten when you make a fist but not to the point of causing you pain. If it doesn't tighten upon making a fist, wrap your hand tighter.