How to Wrap Hands for Muay Thai in 5 Easy Steps
Greetings, tigers! Welcome to the ring one more time! Today we’ll be paying some special attention to your best weapon – your claws. Or, in human terms – your fists. In Muay Thai, I’m sure you’ll agree – punches are still one of the most important, if not crucial aspect of combat. Despite this ancient discipline having a lot more moves besides punching, a great warrior still needs to make best use of his fists. After all, they’re the closest to your opponent’s head – and that is where you’ll need to strike, fast and sharp like a cobra spitting venom!
But in order to do that, your hands will have to be as taut and nimble like snakes. Mobile, yet unyielding. Flowing, yet hard. Quick, yet powerful. To do this, of course – you’ll have to master the art of wrapping your hands first. You see, it’s not a surprise that your hands will resemble snakes after the wrapping. Nature works in mysterious ways!
SO, WHY WRAP THEM?
There is no one single reason, but an interplay of many. The most important is plenty apparent, and very important: protection.
Your hands are your most valuable tool in the ring. Have you seen a sword? Good knights, samurai, and other warriors carry their swords sheathed, yes? This is for the sole purpose of keeping the sword clean, sharp, and safe from unwanted interaction that could damage it. It is protected from unwanted impacts when travelling, unwanted humidity which can corrode the blade and make it brittle, as well as unwanted heat by the sun, or cold from the snow. Basically, your hands are like a sword’s blade – if you don’t keep them well buffered and protected under the gloves during the fights, they could break. And if your hands break, how are you going to fight, my good warrior? Your wrists, knuckles, joints and fingers need the support of the wrap.
Another reason is of course, stability. A good hand wrap will make your fists punch like swords, delivering the full impact precisely at the center of the intended target. If you wrap them badly, or loosely, trust me, you’ll only get hurt. It often happens that fighters hurt their hands, break a finger or worse because their angle wasn’t just right, their punch landed a bit off target, their hand slipped, and the full force of the impact crushed the bones in their hand. On the other hand, a properly wrapped hand will be as compact as a hammer, and will always land blows precisely. And the more precise and stable your punches, the more forceful they are.
So, let us summarize: reason one is health and protection, and reason two is support and stability. So, how to do it? Follow these five steps.
Unroll your hand wrap all the way to the end, until it reveals the thumb loop on the end. Place the thumb loop around the base of your thumb, and pull the wrap across the back of your hand. When doing this across the back of your hand, make a fist and it should “clinch-up” the beginning of the wrap. Try to make a fist and see how it feels. Continue if it’s all good.
Wrap it around your knuckles three times. Make sure to wrap it in such a way that when you make a fist, the punching area is padded as well, instead of just your knuckles. Then, cross the wrap over the back of your hand, and this time proceed to wrap it around your wrist three times. After completing this, come up and across your palm, then loop the wrap halfway around your thumb. Go back across your palm one more time, over the back of your hand. Then loop the wrap halfway around your thumb from the other direction. This way, you’ll be securing your thumb in both directions.
Lead the wrap back around your wrist. Then, using the thumb as the “anchor,” begin weaving the wrap between each finger, beginning with between your pinky and ring finger. Proceed doing this with all the spaces between the other fingers. During this time, keep your thumb fully extended so that the wrap is coming up from the base of your thumb. Applying hand wrap between each knuckle like this helps maintain the proper and natural separation that exists between the knuckles. It allows for greater mobility and compactness. Additionally, it will provide proper cushion when you hit, avoiding injuries.
Once you’ve completed wrapping all three spaces between your knuckles and fingers, use your thumb as the anchor one last time and come back up, around the outside of your knuckles and wrap them together – again three times. While the first wrap ensured proper placing of your knuckles, allowing them to separate upon impact, this second layer keeps the in the proper place.
After that’s done, cross the wrap over the back of your hand and wrap at least three more times around your wrist. If you have a lot more wrap left, you can cross it back and forth over the back of your hand, making an X pattern and improving stability.
That’s admittedly a little complicated, but should be no problem if you pay attention. Plus, the internet is rife with instruction videos which can also help you greatly. Finally, some tips. If you can’t complete three or more final wraps around your wrist, your wraps might be too short and you should consider getting bigger ones. Conversely, if you have a lot more wrap remaining, you should consider getting shorter wraps. As with everything, moderation is key – applying too much hand wrap will prevent you from making a compact, tight fist. Always make sure that your wrap is comfortable, and snug enough to stay in place, but not so tight it cuts circulation.
Your hands are your tools, your weapons, fighter. If you take good care of them, they’ll serve you well. Sheathed swords last longer and cut sharper – the same goes for fists!