Nov. 23, 2022
Tags: Sports & Entertainment
We’ve all seen the guys and girls in the weight room, methodically wrapping their wrists. And if you thought that wrist wrapping was only for boxers, you’re not alone.
Next to lifting gloves, wrist wraps are a proven, convenient, and cost-effective piece of exercise equipment. They aren’t just for show or the overly cautious. Wrist wraps have been shown to provide several benefits to weightlifters including wrist support, enhanced performance, and reduced risk of injury.
Are you new to wearing wrist wraps? Considering purchasing your first pair? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about wrist wraps including their benefits and what to look for when buying wrist wraps online.
1. WHAT ARE WRIST WRAPS?
Wrist wraps are pieces of fitness equipment used during exercise, usually weightlifting, to provide support and protect your grip, wrist, and forearm.
Weightlifting wrist wraps are especially useful during heavy lifting workouts such as powerlifting or Strongman where pressing movements and overhead lifts are common.
Wrist wraps are also known as wrist straps or wrist pads. Also, as we’ll discuss more below, they are useful in a variety of different workouts outside of heavy lifting.
2. TYPES OF WRIST WRAPS
There are several types of wrist wraps that can help your workouts depending on your fitness goals and exercise program.
The traditional wrist wrap is a durable piece of material with a closing mechanism, usually a Velcro strap. There is also a thumb loop on the side to ensure security.
It should be noted that the thumb loop is not required to use the wrist wraps. In fact, many lifters prefer to leave it hanging on the side or safely remove it from the strap altogether.
Lifting Strap Combo
Just as the name implies, this wrist wraps and lifting straps combo puts together the supportive benefits of wrist wraps with the lifting support of straps.
Unlike wrist wraps, lifting straps are not focused on providing muscle and connective tissue stability. Rather, they take over when your grip fails allowing you to lift more weight to fatigue the target muscle. More on this below.
EZ Grip Combo
The EZ Grip combo mixes the classic wrist wraps with an extended leather pad. They are sometimes called wrist pads.
The wrist straps provide support while the leather pads ensure a tight grip on the barbell.
The leather pad is incredibly durable and built for elite-level workouts such as weekly powerlifting meets. Unlike lifting straps, the leather pad does not take over when your grip fails during movements such as the deadlift. Rather, it provides a tight grip on the barbell, helping you to securely lift it. But once your grip fails, the barbell is inevitably coming down.
Lifting Hook Combo
This wrist wrap combo is similar to the EZ Grip but instead of a leather pad, there is a lifting hook.
The wrist straps themselves are heavy duty, usually reinforced with several layers of a tough neoprene material. The hooks should be steel – and don’t accept anything less – with a plastic coating as not to damage the barbell.
This wrist wrap, lifting hook combination is ideal for powerlifting and Strongman workouts where personal records (PRs) are set on a weekly basis.
However, with that said, it’s important to remember that if your goal is a powerlifting competition, you cannot use lifting straps or lifting hooks during the actual event. But training with these items is still beneficial to ensure you become accustomed to pulling your target weight.
3. WRIST WRAPS VS. LIFTING STRAPS
There’s an odd trend in the online fitness community where wrist wraps are mistakenly being referred to as lifting straps. These are two completely different things.
While there are some combinations of the two, as we discussed above, wrist wraps and lifting straps serve two different purposes:
Wrist wraps are designed to support your wrist, alleviate tension and soreness, and protect the connective tissue that runs from your hand to your elbow. Wrist wraps can enhance performance during movements such as the bench press but do nothing to prevent grip fatigue.
Lifting straps, on the other hand, are primarily used to prevent grip slippage during maximum effort lifting exercises. They can also take over once your grip has failed, allowing you to complete a few more repetitions to ensure you achieve target muscle fatigue for better results.
4. BENEFITS OF WRIST WRAPS
Before we discuss how to use wrist wraps, it’s important you understand the benefits of wrist wraps and why you should invest in a pair to support your fitness goals.
Wraps provide weightlifting wrist support. Take a minute to think about how many exercises your wrist is involved in. If you’re using a free weight, your wrist is going to be a part of the action.
Is it any wonder that wrist strain is one of the most common weightlifting injuries?
A wrap provides additional support to the bones in your wrist during all exercises and helps you keep prop
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