How to use Wrist Wraps

how to use wrist wraps

Wrist Wraps are a great gym accessory that improves performance and enhances safety during heavy pressing movements. But how do you use them? This article explains this and more, including when to use wrist wraps, when not to use them and what to look out for when buying them.

What are wrist wraps?

With strong elastic material, wrist wraps enfold around your wrist to provide optimal support to lift heavy weights. They are particularly useful in movements like the bench press and shoulder press. They are not to be confused with Lifting Straps, which are instead used for pulling movements like the deadlift and pull-ups. 

What do wrist wraps do?

Wrist wraps prevent the front of the wrist from overextending and causing pain or injury. They do this by keeping the wrist from flexing back or forward.

With the added stability and stiffness, wrist wraps allow you to add extra weight to your heaviest lifts. This will add some weight to your bench press and shoulder press, maximising your performance.

Again, make sure not to confuse them with Lifting Straps. In case you’re looking for information on how to use lifting straps, see this blog instead.

How to use wrist wraps

  • Open up the wraps.
  • Wrap one tightly around your arm. To ensure its tightness, rest your elbow on your thigh to act as a counterbalance – this allows you to wrap it more securely.
  • Follow the same steps for the other wrist.
  • Make sure you unfasten and release the tightness between sets, otherwise your hands could go numb.

When to use wrist wraps

Wrist wraps are most useful in heavy push movements. This is because they stabilise your wrists, preventing them from overextending. This also allows the movement to retains its form.

This is important for exercises like bench press and overhead press because, in these exercises, the barbell has to sit in the base of your palm with the load sitting on a neutral wrist. As the weights get heavier, your wrist could flex back. Wrist wraps keep the barbell directly stacked on your wrist, which increases performance and helps prevent injury.

Examples of typical movements where wrist wraps are most useful:

  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Shoulder press
  • Press-ups
  • Dips
dips
@luisyoung_ performing some dips using our Wrist Wraps.

Do wrist wraps weaken your wrist?

Wrist wraps are most effective when saved for your heaviest sets (around 80-85% of your max). If you rely on wrist wraps too much, you’ll never build up your smaller muscle groups around your wrist to support the joint. Avoid wearing them during warm-up or lighter sets, and save them for when you really need them.

When not to use wrist wraps

For pulling exercises such as deadlifts, pull-ups and lat pulldowns, wrist wraps are pretty redundant. This is where Lifting straps come in.They’re designed to improve your grip while performing heavy pulling movements.

Can you use wrist wraps for deadlifts?

You can, but they wouldn’t be very helpful. The accessory commonly used to enhance deadlift performance are lifting straps. Straps displace the weight from the fingers to the wrists, meaning you can lift more weight than your natural grip would otherwise allow. Wrist wraps = push movements. Lifting straps = pull movements.

Do wrist wraps help pull-ups?

No. The same logic applies here as it does to the deadlift. Since the pull-up is a pulling movement, there is and therefore no need for wrist wraps. Lifting straps, however, could be helpful if your natural grip is a limiting factor.

Should you use wrist wraps for bicep curls?

Although not a pressing movement, wrist wraps can be useful for curls. If you are performing a bodybuilding range (8-15 reps), it is likely the weight is light enough for you to cope without them. Put simply, you can use wrist wraps for curls if you struggle with wrist pain, but it is recommended to save wrist wraps for heavier compound lifts.

What to look for when buying wrist wraps

Material

The quality of the material is an important factor when it comes to wrist wraps. You want it to be elastic and soft, but also strong. At Bulk™, we have two choices when it comes to wrist wraps: the standard version and the premium version. Both are great, but the material quality of the premium wrist wraps provides extra comfort and elasticity.

Length

The majority of wrist wraps you’ll find will be 20-inch. Most lifters are fine with this length, as it provides an ample amount of strength and stability. You would only consider a 36-inch wrist wrap if you had very large wrists or an advanced powerlifter pressing elite weights.

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