All About Wrist Support for Muay Thai

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Wrist injuries are common amongst Muay Thai and boxing beginners. These could range from minor injuries like wrist soreness to major ones like fractures that require surgery. Although fractures are less common for beginners, the importance of proper wrist support should not be overlooked.

Many people start out over-enthusiastically especially when it comes to unleashing their fury at the heavy bag. It feels good as a way of destressing but the aftermath can cause you some physical stress instead. I remember one of my early wrist sprains took an entire month for it to be fully recovered. Before you overwork those wrists, there are certain things you need to take note of, in order to minimize any wrist pains.


How to Prevent or Minimize Boxing Wrist Injuries
boxing wrist injuries

  1. Stretching Exercises – Do not underestimate those subtle wrist stretches that you perform at warm-up. Proper and regular wrist stretching will improve their flexibility. Boxing with inflexible wrists increases the risk of wrist ligament tear. So be sure to do your wrist stretches diligently.
  2. Work on Your Techniques – start with light punches especially at the heavy bag, and then slowly build up your speed and power. Make a fist firmly and land your punches correctly with maximum contact on your first two knuckles. Also make sure your wrists are straight and not bending at awkward angles.
  3. Strengthening exercises – A stronger wrist is vital not only for more powerful punches, but also for withstanding the impacts of your punches. You can promote wrist strength by performing exercises such as knuckle push-ups, wrist curls, and wrist grips. Besides wrists, working on strengthening the forearms will also help to minimize wrist injuries.
  4. Hand Wraps – Hand wraps are not optional, they are mandatory! Certainly so if you want to avoid any wrist mishap. Hand wraps are worn to hold and compress your knuckles, wrists, tiny bones and the soft tissue, keeping them in place and lessening the impact of your punches on them.
  5. Gloves with good wrist support – For people with weaker or more brittle wrists, it is recommended to get gloves that provide good wrist support. There are many modern gloves designed with an added focus on offering more stability and protection for the wrists.
  6. Rest – IF and when you sustain wrist injuries, try and rehabilitate your wrists before returning to your training. Minor injuries such as soreness will heal within a few days but if you train with injuries, you might aggravate it. (Click here to read on “How to Treat Common Muay Thai Injuries“)

A Quick Guide to Hand Wraps

Muay Thai legend, Singdam Kiatmoo9

Hand wraps are your first and most important line of defense against wrist injuries. The standard hand wrap length is 180” and should suffice for most hand sizes. If you want to feel more secure, you can go for the longer 200” hand wraps.

There are many variations to wrapping your hands but learn one well, and you can improvise it to your own liking. The best way to learn is to ask your instructor to show you or watch a video on YouTube:

Make sure the hand wraps feel snug but not overly tight as this will restrict your blood circulation. Remember, your handwraps are only good if your hands are properly wrapped. Keep practising until you get it right.

Choosing Hand Wraps
There are generally 2 variations of the cloth hand wraps: The elastic (aka mexican hand wraps) and nonelastic versions. I prefer the elastic ones as they contour and fit better on the hands. For a start, I would get at least 2 pairs of hand wraps. These cloth will soak up your sweat and you will need to wash/sun them regularly. If you train everyday like I do, you are going to want to have at least a few pairs. They do get pretty stinky if you don’t wash them for a while, so it’s proper gym etiquette to avoid drowning your training mates with awful scents while you train.

Besides practicality reasons, I personally own about 10 pairs of hand wraps for different moods and looks. I have featured some of my personal favorites below and they are all excellent choices in terms of quality and comfort:

Fairtex Thai Flag
Fairtex Thai Flag
Click here to purchase Fairtex at Amazon 

Top King TKB
Top King
Click here to purchase Top King at Amazon 

Title Boxing Hawaiian
Title Boxing
Click here to purchase Title at Amazon 

Meister USA Theme
Meister
Click here to purchase Meister at Amazon 


Tips on Choosing Gloves

Although not as effective as the hand wraps in terms of wrist support, well-designed gloves can provide an added layer of protection. Here are some considerations to make when it comes to choosing a pair of good protective gloves:

How to Choose the Right Size
Punching gloves sizing are measured in terms of weight and run from 8oz to 20oz. There are also smaller sizes, like 4oz and 6oz, catering to kids. Generally speaking, heavier gloves equate to more padding which offers better overall hand protection. Lighter padding allows you to feel the power of your punches as they land on bags, so you need to make sure that you have the right techniques. Heavier gloves will slow you down but they will lessen the impact of your punches and decrease the risk of injuries. Additionally, they are good for conditioning and building arm strength.

Lace-ups vs Velcros
When tightly laced up, lace-ups will feel extremely secure and won’t shift during training. Other than that, they won’t really offer much better wrist support over velcro gloves. The one downside to using lace-ups is that you will need someone to help you put them on. This is impractical for a normal training session where you will be doing a myriad of exercises and you may need to take your gloves on and off multiple times. This is less of a problem for sparring and competitions. But velcros are a better choice under most training circumstances since they can be taken on/off so easily by yourself.

Trying Out Gloves
If you get the opportunity to try out gloves, whether with your gym mates’, your gym, or your local fight store, make sure that you have your handwraps on when trying out gloves. Having your handwraps on makes a whole world of difference. If you try on a gloves without your handwraps and it feels just right, it could end up a too tight with your handwraps on. Some brands are a little more snug than others, and even within the brand, there might be a little variance among different models. So bear that in mind. If it’s a little too tight without handwraps, it’s probably not the right pair for you.


Best Muay Thai Gloves for Wrist Support

There are literally thousands of gloves models out in the market and it can certainly get a bit intimidating picking the right one for yourself. We have ploughed and searched the fields and shops to narrow down a list of gloves for the best wrist support. So here’s a list of our recommendations to get you started:

Fairtex Mexican Style Boxing Gloves BGV9
Fairtex Muay Thai Boxing Gloves BGV9 - Heavy Hitter Mexican Style - Minor Change Black with Yellow Piping 12 14 16 oz. Training & Sparring Gloves for Kick Boxing MMA K1
  • New and softer padding and comfortable hand compartment. Better feeling and more safety.
  • Constructed of premium leather with vectro straps.
  • Handmade in Thailand.

Muay Thai gloves are typically known for their shorter velcro cuffs. The Fairtex BGV9 Heavy Hitter are built with longer wrist cuffs, designed to provide better wrist support. They also feature more padding in the knuckle area to provide more protection for those hard-hitting boxing sessions. The BGV9s are Mexican style as opposed to traditional Thai gloves which are often padded all-round to provide coverage against kicks. For general bag- and pad-work, these will work perfectly. IMO, for Muay Thai or hard boxing sparring, go with Twins, Yokkao or Top King for more cushioned padding.

>> Click here to purchase Fairtex BGV9 Gloves at Amazon now<< 


Top King

Top King gloves are very well-padded and make a great option as your sparring gloves. They extend almost halfway up your forearms and would make very support for your wrists. Top King gloves are durable and are very well made. You will find them to be one of the most common gear being used at your gym. There is practically nothing to complain about these gloves.

>> Click here to purchase Top King gloves at Amazon now<< 


Hayabusa T3
Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves for Men and Women - Black, 16 oz
  • A REVOLUTIONIZED TRAINING GLOVE: You need a glove that checks all of the boxes, from protection and comfort to durability and fit. T3 Boxing Gloves do just that, with a decade of sports science &...
  • BUILT FOR COMFORT WITH A TAILORED FIT: Interior fabric feels smooth and cool on your hands and helps to regulate your hand temperature. Two interlocking velcro wrist straps adjust to fit your hands...
  • WORLD RENOWNED WRIST SUPPORT: Dual wrist straps and splinting system work together to keep your wrists aligned with each punch. It locks your wrists in place when you strap up, preventing risky and...

One of the most popular and widely recommended gloves in terms of wrist support has received an update. Hayabusa  is known for extensive research and innovation in the design of their products. Tokushu T3 boasts an engineered (synthetic) leather proven to outlast regular leather. But the really outstanding feature of these gloves is the dual wrist wrap. This patented design provides excellent alignment of the hands and wrists, guarding against harmful twisting, flexion and extension. Additionally, it secures the gloves and provides ample padding for protection.

>> Click here to purchase Hayabusa T3 at Amazon now<< 


Cleto Reyes Training Gloves
Hook and Loop Closure Training Gloves
  • Leather strap with hook and loop closure for a firm and quick adjustment.
  • Manufactured with the best quality control in leather and all materials.
  • Attached thumb prevents eye injury and also prevents thumb from being broken or sprained.

Cleto Reyes is one of the best boxing gloves maker out there. Favored by boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, the gloves are hand-made and very high quality. The longer forearms provide great wrist support with great padding for boxing. In terms of wrist support, they are up there with the best, if not the best themselves. These are simply some of the best gloves that money can buy. Cleto Reyes training gloves come in both velcro and lace-ups to choose from.

>> Click here to purchase Cleto Reyes at Amazon now<< 


Boon Sport Training Gloves
MMABLAST Boon Thai Style Training Gloves - BGV - Brown (12oz)
  • With Velcro Straps for Easy Security and Release.
  • US TOP GRAIN LEATHER used for Long Lasting Durability.
  • Multi Layer Foam Construction.

Boon gloves are made with good quality cowhide leather. But their best feature has got to be the extra wide velcro strap. The sturdy velcro locks the gloves in place so they are firmly secured even for thinner wrists. The only complaint some might have may be that Boon gloves look a little unexciting compared to other brands. But hey, the simplicity of the aesthetics could be your cup of tea.

>> Click here to purchase Cleto Reyes at Amazon now<< 


Conclusion

No perfect handwraps or gloves exist to keep you completely free from wrist injuries. But you can take the necessary measures as highlighted in this article to minimize any potential risk. Train happy, train hard, train safe.

Chok dee!

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