Anyone who has watched any type of boxing show will have seen that moment where they cut to the dressing room between fights and there will be a boxer in the changing room getting his hands wrapped, you see a boxing trainer going through the ritual of putting the white wrap between the fingers, over the thumb and around the wrist.
What he is doing is protecting the fighter’s hands from the heavy punching he is just about to unleash, and using gauze and tape to do it. Each boxer will have their hands wrapped in their own unique way which makes them feel comfortable. This can be a lengthy process and one that has to be done with precision. In a fight you can’t have your hands feeling uncomfortable or the gauze feeling loose. It’s one of those rituals of boxing which has stood the test of time, and there is still nothing better than gauze and tape for the job.
In training, it’s unlikely that you will use gauze, this is due to a few reasons. As mentioned, it takes time to make it perfect. That’s not usually the kind of time you have for training so re-usable cloth is generally preferred. Re-usable cloth is also fairly easy to put on by yourself once you’ve had a bit of practice. There is also a clue in the name of why it’s preferred as well. It’s re-usable, as after a fight a boxer will have the gauze and tape cut off and thrown away, as it can’t be used again.
In sparring and when hitting a bag there’s nothing wrong with using re-usable cloth as it will do the job just fine. In competition with smaller gloves and a harder punching surface however, a boxer will always want to make sure his hands are covered with tape and the best gauze for boxing.
The Difference Between Cloth Wraps and Gauze
If you’re starting out in the boxing world and hitting a heavy bag and doing some sparring, then you will likely have the hand wraps that you fasten together yourself and can pick up from any kind of store. These kind of wraps generally have a loop that you place over your thumb, before wrapping them around your wrist and hands before eventually fastening them over your wrist.
These are generally a ‘one size fits all’ item that is obviously made from a soft cloth that feels fairly comfortable. If you’ve mastered your own art of wrapping your hands the way you like then it’s a process that may only take a minute or two. They are really easy and meant to give you a level of protection from mild and moderate types of boxing activity.
Gauze hand warps clearly aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ item as they will be cut and wrapped to the shape of your own hand. When you have your hands wrapped this way the process is a lot slower and more meticulous. Obviously the change in process is due to the change of environment, it’s a much more serious method for a much more serious outcome of actually having a fight with smaller gloves.
While gauze wraps can be used for all levels of boxing, generally the other methods of wrapping your hands aren’t recommended when you get to the top level. Sooner or later you will need to learn how to wrap your hands like a professional if you have any hopes of one day being one.
Normal Cloth Hand Wrap Summary
- Cheaper over time
- Easy to use
- Not the highest level of protection
Other Types Of Hand Wrap
Elastic bandage wraps, known as Mexican style, are a variation on the cloth wrap. Instead of cloth, they use an elastic material which will stretch to suit your hand shape. One of the other big advantages of the wrap is that, due to the elastic structure, they are much less likely to loosen during training. They can, however, be on the bulky side, but can be a great alternative to cloth wraps. That horizontal elasticity is also in contrast to high-quality gauze so it isn’t something that you want to get used to. It can be easier and feel better than a cloth wrap in some respects, but it might get you used to different type of feel that you’d get as a professional.
Elastic Bandage Summary
- Stretch to fit your hand
- Don’t come loose
- Material can be thick
- Different feel to gauze
The newest type of wrap on the market is gel wraps, which look like fingerless gloves. The lure of these is obvious as they are almost instant to put on and can have you ready to train in no time at all. This disadvantage of these is fairly clear as well as they don’t have the security or comfort of a traditional hand wrap. They don’t offer the same level of protection and are a bit of a shortcut. They have gel padding over the knuckles and a strap that goes around the wrist. They are generally more expensive than cloth wraps, but if you have the money and are just getting started, then his could be a good choice. You will soon, however, have to move on to wrapping your hands properly.
Gel Wrap Summary
- Easiest to use
- Most expensive
- Doesn’t offer a great level of protection
- Doesn’t get you used to proper hand wrapping
Why Is Wrapping Your Hands So Important?
You have a large glove on your hands, with a secure strap or laces around the wrist and a lot of people must wonder what the point of wearing hand wraps is. In truth, however, hand wraps play a vital role in boxing by protecting the bones in your hands and providing support for your wrist. It may feel as though a glove would offer enough protection, but it simply doesn’t. Most of the bones in your hand and wrist are small and easily broken. Hand wraps are vital in keeping them protected.
The wrap will provide protection for your fingers, knuckle, thumb and wrist which can be vulnerable when you throw a punch. When a punch hands, the wrap will help to evenly distribute the power of the strike evenly over the area which will help prevent injury. I once saw an ex-boxer who spent his whole career not using hand wraps and it looked as though he’d been in some sort of industrial accident. Knuckles weren’t where they should be and he regretted never protecting his hands in the way that he should.
There is a huge difference from punching a bag with a bare knuckle, punching it with just a wrap and punching it with a wrap and a glove. With the full protection, you are able to throw your punch with confidence knowing that you’re not going to hurt your hand. You don’t want to go into a training session, sparring session or a fight with anything else in the back of your mind. Not only does a wrap provide real comfort, but it also gives you the confidence to punch with your full power.
The Importance of Using Gauze
Gauze is preferred in a fight as it offers you the most protection when compared to any other method. Not only does it provide the most protection, but it is also very light so you’re not adding any unwanted weight to your hands. It can be made to fit your hand to provide you with the full protection that you’re looking for. When buying gauze though, it’s important to make sure you’re buying the best gauze for boxing and one that is not going to let you down.
The 3 Best Gauzes For Boxing: Our Picks
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) are the organization that run boxing in the UK and they have their own range of products that they sell and endorse, including this hand wrap gauze set. One of the differences between standard gauze and a high-quality one is the way that it’s made. With this gauze it doesn’t stretch horizontally so it can stay securely on your hand, but it can stretch vertically which can give you the movement your fingers require when you’re moving your hands.
With this kit, however, you don’t just get the gauze. No matter how good the gauze is, you can’t securely fit it around your hand without some form of tape to keep it here. This handy kit gives you all of the tape sizes that you’d need for the different parts of your hand. Just like with gauze, having great tape is important as well in order to keep everything in place. Wraps coming loose during a fight can not only be distracting, but it can be dangerous too.
This kit also comes with a carry case that can be very useful which is an added bonus. With this being from the BBBoC, you have that reassurance that it is going to be a quality product. This is a great starter kit that will give you the tools you need to be able to wrap your hands effectively. This is also great for professionals too, but as you gain experience with wraps you will most likely find your own personal preference and way of doing things and the specific tape sizes you prefer. This though is a great product that will give you everything you need to get going.
Whilst not being directly a product from the British Boxing Board of Control, this is a product which is endorsed by them. This is the same type of gauze as with the one offered from the BBBoC in that it doesn’t have any stretch along the length, but it does along the width. With this product however, it is just the gauze that is offered for those that are looking for just the hand wrapping gauze, whether you’re starting out, or getting in new gauze when you’re running low on supplies.
These wraps were made with professionals in mind, and with the BBBoC approval, these can be used for all levels of boxing and they proudly state that their gauze have been used by the likes of Tony Bellew in the past. They are a high-quality product that won’t let you down.
Not only is it a quality product, but it is also very affordable and comes in a box of 24 individual wraps. This product offers more flexibility than the starter pack with the first product as you can get your wraps and your tape individually. As you become more confident with your wraps, you may find that you use certain types of tape more than others so need to replace them on a more individual and flexible basis. This is a product that offers a lot of high-quality hand wraps for a great price.
Just like with the last product, this is solely for providing the gauze that you are looking for. As with all gauzes’ on this list, it comes in a 5cm x 10m size, which is standard for the industry. The 5cm width is the perfect size for wrapping around the knuckles and the wrist and then it can be cut to any length that you might require.
One of the key areas that you want from gauze is for it simply not to fail. Before a fight, you have more than enough things to worry about and you don’t want your gauze to be added to that list. With the C.M.S Medical gauze however, it has a selvedged construction meaning that it won’t fray or splinter. It is very strong gauze which means that it will be one less thing that you have to worry about.
A lot of boxing is in the mind and fighters want to feel comfortable and have no distractions. That mental level of comfort mostly comes from your high-quality training in the gym and the practice you will put into your various boxing sessions. That mental comfort also comes from your equipment not letting you down. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re getting stressed before a fight by something as simple as cheap gauze, buying a high-quality product is important. A high-quality product is exactly what you’ll get from C.M.S medical.
Choosing The Right Gauze
There is a reason that every boxer gets their hands wrapped, and there is a reason that they all use gauze to do it. If you want to have any kind of career in the sport and try and protect your hands in the process, then you need to wrap your hands. It protects you for a variety of different reasons.
Despite being a violent and destructive tool in the sport of boxing, people’s hands are actually quite fragile and contain a lot of moving parts. Your hands contain 27 bones and all of them need to be protected. It’s not just your hand either; your wrist alone contains another 8 bones. When added together with both of your hands combined, that’s a total of 70 bones that you need to protect, any of which can easily be fractured if you don’t wear hand wraps.
The importance of hand wraps is clear, but also the product you use is important as well. There are certain products that you don’t want to take shortcuts on, and in boxing you don’t want to take shortcuts on anything. Great gauze will fit in with the contours of your hand, provide the only movement that your hand needs whilst also providing support too. The three products shown here do all of that.
At the start of your boxing career you may be happy to start off with the re-usable cloths wraps, but once your boxing gets serious, you’ll need gauze, and you’ll need to make sure that you make the right choice. Boxing is a sport that doesn’t forgive shortcuts, in all areas of training, preparation and equipment.