CrossFit has been around since the early 2000s and has sustained popularity among many due to its high-intensity level training. The focus of CrossFit is strength and conditioning workouts, often done in the traditional workout of the day (WOD).
That’s where strength wraps — often referred to as CrossFit wrist wraps come into play. While it’s no secret that there are many accessories that CrossFit athletes use, consider strength wrist wraps as essential training gear for overhead lifting.
Because there is so much focus on heavy or maximum effort lifts, especially overhead lifts, wrist joint support is crucial. During intense lifts, we expose our wrists to excessive extension under load, which can impact mechanics, cause injury, and flat out failed lifts.
Among other things, it’s essential to know what strength wrist wraps are, how to use them properly, and how they can benefit your progress. Let’s break down aspects about strength wrist wraps.
What are Strength Wrist Wraps?
Like traditional wrist wraps, CrossFit (strength) wrist wraps are made to provide support to the wrist joints and flexors during heavy lifts. However, unlike most wrist wraps, strength wrist wraps tend to be a little thinner in their material makeup and feature a tying mechanism. Traditional wrist wraps are constructed from a thicker material (such as cotton or nylon) that features a Velcro bound closure.
Who uses strength wrist wraps? You may have noticed that CrossFitters most generally use strength wrist wraps. That’s why it’s common for them to be referred to as CrossFit wrist wraps.
Why use wrist wraps for CrossFit? The reason they’re useful in CrossFit is due to their ability to offer a better range of motion.
For example, if you’re working on your clean and jerk or snatch, the thinner material enables your wrist to be able to extend to the finishing position in both moves.
Although strength wrist wraps have tremendous popularity in CrossFit, they’re not exclusive to only people that do CrossFit. You can use strength wrist wraps for Olympic lifting and powerlifting for similar movements (clean and jerk or snatch). Because strength wrist wraps offer a better range of motion, they also help protect your wrists against stress and injury while reducing fatigue over the long term.
How do you use Strength Wrist Wraps?
Strength wrist wraps can be quickly adjusted to fit your desired level of compression. Their best feature is that they can be tightened for firm support in heavy lifts, or left a little looser for more range of motion.
Knowing how to use them and where to position them on your wrist can make or break your progress.
For example, tying your strength wrist wraps too low (like your forearm) doesn’t provide any support. Instead, ensure that the material is covering your wrist joint for proper support.
Alright, now that the technical and placement aspects are covered, let’s talk about the natural process of use. Start by unrolling the strength wrist wraps and wrapping them around your wrists. It’s possibly a challenge at first because there is quite a lot of material to work with and loop, but the overall process isn’t complicated.
Next, place one side of the material near the base of your thumb, while making sure that the excess fabric is facing away from you (covering the wrist and moving towards the direction of your pinky). Wrap the remaining excess material in a looping motion around the wrist joint. At this point, you’ll notice the shoelace type of fastener.
Lastly, you’ll loop that around your wrist and adjust tightness depending to provide adequate support for the move you’re able to perform. Below is a quick video that shows you how to put on and adjust your strength wrist wraps.
The benefits of Strength Wrist Wraps
There are several scenarios where strength wrist wraps are essential. However, you should be mindful of your dependence on them. Always reserve supportive accessories for your most challenging lifting portion of a workout. There are several instances where you should avoid using wrist wraps.
For all other uses and range movements, strength wrist wraps can help give you the right support and compression that your wrists are seeking.
The benefits of using strength wrist wraps, particularly in CrossFit, extend to more than just support during overhead squats when the weight is heavy. Strength wrist wraps also enable you to push yourself and refrain from injury during Metcons.
If you’re not doing overhead barbell or dumbbell lifts, but are doing handstand pushups or walks, then you will also benefit from the support of strength wrist wraps. The flexibility alone makes them an asset for any lifting session.
Strength Wraps vs. Wrist Wraps
The debate is on. But the decision is made easier, depending on your type of training. What does your daily training routine include?
For those who are into bodybuilding and powerlifting or simply working on basic compound movements, sturdy support and thicker material are necessary for proper function during bench press and other pressing moves.
In this case, the right choice of wrist wrap support is the classic wrist wraps.
If fast-paced, high-intensity workouts (CrossFit) are more of your type of thing, then, by all means, strength wrist wraps are the way to go. Strength wrist wraps are a better choice for WOD because they can quickly be adjusted for your preferred level of support while giving you a better range of motion.
Besides, they are less bulky and provide more flexibility for workouts that demand quick transitions. There are instances where neither of the mentioned wrist wrap options will work for you, but you can quickly narrow it down based on your preferred training style.
Which wrist wraps are right for you?
As you can already imagine, there is a large variety of wrist wraps on the market, serving many different purposes of training. And sometimes, that can be a bit of trial and error if you’re new to a specific training program.
We mentioned earlier that how you intend to use wrist wraps should directly impact your decision in selecting the right kind.
There is one common factor to look for — and that’s quality. Common indicators of quality are material durability and stitching. You can’t rely on straps that are cheap and could give out on you while you’re pushing your limits.
If you’re looking for premium strength wrist wraps made for cross-training, CrossFit, compound movements, and more, check out the selection of strength wraps from Gymreapers.