If you’re getting into Muay Thai in hopes of increasing your stamina, self-defense, or just looking for new techniques to add to your MMA skill set, learning how to do Muay Thai hand wraps properly is essential.
Making sure your Muay Thai hand wraps are done properly is the best way to ensure you’re not walking around with bruised and bloody knuckles. No one wants to look like they’re seconds away from a back-alley fistfight.
New folks may struggle with hand-wrapping the right way, but it can make the difference when sparring, practicing, or in an MMA bout.
Considering the many different ways of hand wrapping, we felt like it was necessary to cut through the noise and give you the definitive methods. With just over two dozen bones in your hands, the correct wrap is the difference between safety and a visit to the emergency room.
Let’s go into why hand wrapping is the best form of protection for you and how to do muay thai wraps by yourself.
- Why Is It Important to Wrap Your Hands?
- How Many Different Types of Hand Wraps Are There?
- How To Do Muay Thai Wraps
- Boxing Wraps vs. Muay Thai Hand Wraps
- Common Muay Thai Hand Wrapping Mistakes
- To Wrap It Up
Why Is It Important to Wrap Your Hands?
Have you ever punched a heavy bag with your bare hands? We’re not talking about one of those little punches either – we’re talking about the ones that can register on the Richter Scale on a good day. It hurts. So, instead of breaking your knuckles trying to prove how tough you are during a practice session, let’s work on protecting yourself.
Wrapping your hands is not only about protecting yourself, it’s about giving you more time to spar or practice. Adding a layer of wraps over your hands allows you to punch harder and for longer.
Wrapping is also about knuckle protection. That extra layer of padding will prevent damage to that area of your hands. Considering the importance of your knuckles for daily tasks, we want to make sure you can still work your hands.
The issue of hand mobility comes into play, too. If you’re not wrapping your hands the right way, you’re not delivering the type of punches that would leave anyone reeling.
Now, here’s the next thing: we’ve already discussed the importance of hand wrapping, but now we have to talk about the different types. Strap in tight.
How Many Different Types of Hand Wraps Are There?
You might have an image in your mind of boxers and MMA fighters taping up their hands before the big fight. Yes, you’re on the right track, but there’s more to hand wrapping than what’s offered by Everlast. Let’s dig in.
Hand Wrapping Tape and Gauze
As we just finished discussing, hand wrapping tape is usually the first thing you might think of when you hear about hand wrapping. Comfort and ease of use are the two main factors of hand wrapping tape and gauze. They are one of the more affordable options to start your Muay Thai journey. Still, you’re trading reusability and the need for help to apply them for ease and affordability.
If the constant need for tape and gauze is frustrating, then cotton wraps are the way to go. With reusability being the number one reason to buy cotton wraps, versatility, customization, and sizing become the tertiary reasons. However, you’ll be beholden to whatever wrap method works to maintain comfort.
Get ready for the most versatile of Muay Thai hand wraps. Breathable, comfortable, and able to stretch around the contours of your hands, elastic bandage is the most common of hand wraps. However, thickness is a known problem with elastic bands. Amateurs and professionals swear by them, but your mileage may vary.
Once you choose your hand-wrapping material, it’s time to learn how to hand wrap properly for Muay Thai before you live your dreams of fighting like Van Damme in Kickboxer.
Tong Po isn’t going to fight himself.
How To Do Muay Thai Wraps
Now we’re on to the meat and potatoes. Wrapping your hands the right way for Muay Thai can give you the safest experience. Get your wraps out, and let’s get started.
Step 1: Wrap Around Your Thumb and Wrists
Depending on your wrap type, you may see a closed loop at the end. Place your thumb inside that loop and begin tightly wrapping your wrist at least three times. From there, use the wrap to wrap around the base of your thumb again.
Step 2: Wrap Around the Upper Wrist
After wrapping the base of your thumb, wrap the upper part of your wrist just above where you have wrapped previously. Following that, in a cross formation, wrap up toward your pinky finger knuckle.
Step 3: Wrap Around Your Knuckles
With the wrap now situated properly, you can begin to wrap around your knuckles. Make sure you are wrapping tightly enough to provide protection but lightly enough that you’re not cutting off the circulation to your hands. Do this three times before crossing the wrap over to the base of your wrist.
Step 4: Wrap Between Each Finger
With your wrap now at the base of your wrist, wrap between each of your fingers until you get to the space between your middle finger and your index finger. Once you wrap that area, bring your wrapping straight down to your wrist and around in another cross formation.
Step 5: Wrap Around Your Knuckles Again
With your wrapping around the top of your hand again, wrap your knuckles three more times to provide further protection. Wrap down in another cross formation to the bottom of your wrist.
Step 6: Wrap Around Your Wrist Until Complete
You should be close to the end of your wrap at this point. Finish the job here by wrapping your wrist at least three more times.
Following these steps is the key to safety. Practice the techniques until hand wrapping becomes second nature.
You might be asking yourself why you can’t just wrap your hands like a boxer. After all, the object is to just protect your hands, right? Not quite.
Boxing Wraps vs. Muay Thai Hand Wraps
Not all hand wrapping techniques are equal. However, you may not know you can interchange boxing wraps and Muay Thai hand wraps if you’re in a training situation. Protection is the key with wraps, so training with either wrap is acceptable.
However, if you’re going into an MMA sparring session with a boxing wrap, you’re going to come out feeling dumb and possibly in a bit of pain.
So, what’s the difference between the two?
With a boxing wrap, the point is to allow for greater security on the fists to allow the fighter to punch with full force without the fear of damaging the knuckles, skin, or bones on the hand. Considering the extra padding on the hand that comes with a boxing glove, any amount of further protection on the hands, knuckles, and wrist will help.
Muay Thai wraps, meanwhile, do have more mobility because there is less padding in MMA-style gloves. Less padding means faster strikes.
Just like anything else, mastering the art of hand wrapping the correct way makes all the difference. Still, there are many common mistakes when it comes to this task. Let’s take a look at a few.
Common Muay Thai Hand Wrapping Mistakes
Wrapping your hands for combat is as difficult as the first time you tried to tie your shoes. Luckily, fellow Muay Thai enthusiasts are pretty forgiving. No one deserves to get roasted while trying something new – especially Muay Thai.
The easiest mistake to make during this process is wrapping your wrists and fists too tightly or too lightly. If you wrap your hands too tightly, you’ll likely cut off the circulation to your fingers. Wrap too loosely and your wraps are likely to come apart during a session or you could seriously damage your hands.
Not closing your fist properly during the wrapping process can also cause issues. An improper hand wrap with an open palm for a closed fist is likely to cause looseness or tightness if you’re still trying to learn the right technique.
Have a friend or personal trainer double-check your work if you’re still trying to get the hang of it. No one wants to see you destroy your hands.
To Wrap It Up
Learning to wrap your hands the proper way for Muay Thai is the absolute best way to protect your wrists and knuckles from damage. Starting with any new form of combat or striking is a learning process, but a few weeks of wrapping your hands like a newborn will give you the experience you need to take care of business.
Remember, it all starts with picking the right wraps for you and understanding the importance of hand protection in striking situations. We’ve also written a post about the best Muay Thai hand wraps to make your life easier!
Van Damme would be proud of those protected hands. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to get cracking on writing about how to do one of his splits as a man. We’re prepared for pain.