How to Wrap Your Hands for Muay Thai and MMA
Take care of your hands! Your hands contain some of the smallest and most fragile bones, joints, and ligaments in your body. And if you're like most people, you probably use your hands every day, not just while training/competing. You need to take care of your hands so you can punch harder, lock up that submission, and maintain common tasks like typing on a keyboard or carrying groceries.
How do hand wraps help?
- Keep your metacarpal bones (aka "palm bones") in the correct position. Imagine a tomato sitting on the table... now pretend there is an object pushing down on the tomato from above, with extreme force; at some point the tomato is going to give and all sorts of juicy contents are going to come fly out in several directions. That's what happens when you punch! The front of your knuckles make contact with the target, the rear of your metacarpal bones are being driven forward by your wrist/arm. At some point, all that force wants to give, and your metacarpal bones want to move up, down, left, or right. That's when your hand breaks! The hand wrap prevents this expansion from happening. It keeps your metacarpal bones in the proper position and decreases the chances of a broken hand.
- Wrist Support - If you're punching hard, you want your wrist fixed in position and proper alignment. If your wrist bends while landing a punch, that movement absorbs the power. Bending or flexing too much, or in the improper angle can lead to injuries. Hand wraps help support the wrist and keep your wrist in proper alignment while punching.
- Tighter fit inside your glove - This reduces injuries by reducing or eliminating moving/shifting of your hand inside the glove and increases your ability to land your punch on the correct part of your knuckles.
- Knuckle Protection - You want to hit with your knuckles, but heavy bags can be HEAVY, striking pads can be HARD, and the elbows on your opponent can be POINTY. A few layers of wrap can go a long ways to absorb shock and protect your knuckles.
- Thumb Support - You're probably not trying to hit with your thumb, but sometimes the target or your opponent moves and you land your punch at the wrong angle. If you hit with your thumb and your thumb moves, it can lead to nasty sprains or broken bones. Hand wraps help support the thumb and keep it in a generally fixed/protected position while punching.
Here's a great video from Team Alpha Male on how to wrap your hands for Muay Thai and MMA.
Note: the open palm in this hand wrapping style allows extra mobility for you to clinch and grapple. Other types of wraps cover the palm, and although these styles still protect your hand, they may make other parts of training more difficult.