Wrists are a delicate system of small bones, ligaments, and tendons.. It’s a sophisticated joint that comes under immense pressure during strenuous exercises like weightlifting in general and powerlifting in particular.
There is a lot of internal ability to turn, twist and bend in our wrists, but there is a limit. There is a limit to the wrist’s ability to lift, endure and withstand acute twisting. When that limit is crossed and happens in powerlifting, you can have sprains, inflammation, and joint dislocation.
Wrist wraps strengthen the wrists with their external support mechanism. They keep the joint in a neutral position by applying ample pressure through their stiff stretch, making lifting safer, and much more convenient.
If you are a powerlifter or you plan to become on, this is one accessory you must have in your gear. Strong wrists will help build strong arms and you need them to lift massive weights during intense competitions. And strong arms look awesome too! So a pair of wrist wraps is necessary for you.
Never a waste of money. Rather, they are the best bang for your bucks.
What are Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps are simple accessories for athletes in general and powerlifters in particular. Wrist wraps are bands made from elastic fabric; usually, Velcro and come in different lengths. The elasticity or stretching ability of the wraps is not always the same. There are stiff and loose bands: you can buy the one that suits your particular needs.
The different lengths of the bands allow users to customise their wrist wraps according to the need of the workout. They usually come with a thumb loop for extra support and compact fitting. They are great for a firm fitting around the wrist.
The wrist wraps also come in various widths. As a serious lifter, you will have to put in a great amount of thought and consideration when buying a simple, yet useful accessory like a wrist wrap.
Efficacy of Wrist Wraps for Powerlifting
Powerlifting is hardcore: it’s all about power, strength, and endurance. It is not a child’s play or a beginner’s shot: powerlifting asks for extreme and long-term strength training. Only after a good period of fitness training can you get in the shape to pull through powerlifting moves swiftly.
Powerlifting, as the name suggests, is all about heavyweight lifting. It includes just three lifting maneuvers- bench press, back squats, and deadlifts. Anyone who has even the slightest idea of lifting will know that these moves are dead- difficult. They put immense pressure on the entire upper body (they are compound exercises), but the wrists get the worst hit.
Powerlifting is essentially different from CrossFit or Olympic lifting, where you need quite a lot of wrist extension to pull the moves. Powerlifting is about lifting to your limits. It’s about testing your strength and endurance limits. No wrist maneuvering is involved; you need the wrist to be able to support the massive load in your hands.
Now the wrist joint is a very flexible yet very sophisticated joint in its structure and the ability to twist and endure. It’s a delicate bond of interdependent bones and ligaments, which can do a marvelous job while lifting heavy weights as long as the joint is stable and upright in position.
Powerlifting will definitely be breaking some comfort boundaries, and that’s why you will need extra support with wrist wraps. Wrist injuries can happen when your wrists come under massive pressure of the barbells. These protective wraps help by maintaining an upright position of the delicate wrist joint.
Most lifters use wrist wraps during bench press, but they are quite amazing in squats too. They make lifting easier and safer. Back squats will put immense pressure on your wrists: wrists are indeed relieved when the barbell rests on your shoulders, but to and from that point, your wrists are under attack. Wraps help keep the joints in their right place and hedge against dislocation hazards.
Benefits of Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps are not worn to show off one more fancy accessory in your gym gear: they are the most-needed items while taking a dead shot at weightlifting.
Provides Joint Stability
Joint stability is very important when it comes to powerlifting. This weight lifting style knows no boundaries: you lift as much as possible. There are many accessories to help weightlifters during this extreme exercise, and wrist wraps are probably the simplest and most efficient.
The stress on your wrists during powerlifting is understandable; you would not want the joint limping or cocking backward under pressure. The slightest twisting or anything going beyond the upright posture can wreak havoc in the system of bones and ligaments in the wrist joint and the joining muscles.
Wrist wraps go around the wrists providing firm external support to withstand the pressure of powerlifting. The bones, ligaments, and tendons are supported to remain neutral, which is a huge favor for a powerlifter.
Pushes You to Go Beyond Your Fatigue Limits
Powerlifters have to increase endurance levels constantly. They need to push themselves beyond their comfort zones frequently. Lifting huge weights and doing reps can fatigue muscles all over the body. Smaller muscles ( wrists and forearms) will fatigue sooner than larger muscles.
The wrists (small muscle) connect the weight to the forearms muscles and other muscles in the body. If your wrists are supported and upright, they will likely fatigue later, and so will the other muscles in the body.
Allows Quicker Return Post-Injury
Doctors frequently prescribe wrist wraps after wrist injuries. The reason lies in the supporting system of the wraps. The external support helps keep the joint in a neutral position, and firm stretch helps prevent acute twisting of the joint. These features, along with the reduced blood flow, make for a swift recovery.
Forces You to Grip More Weight
The tight wrist wraps automatically help you clench harder on the bars. As the wraps press upon your wrists, your fingers will automatically bend in a closing-in fashion. When the hands are resting on the bar, you will be forced to grip under wraps’ pressure.
Alters The Feeling of the Weight
Stronger muscles help make the weight feel lighter. This is because of the different signals sent to the nervous system. Wrist wraps tighten the muscles in your hands and wrists: the messages read by the brain are that of lighter weight. You feel the weight a little less than it looks, and that gives you immense confidence in lifting.
You feel you can do it, and that motivates you. This makes wrist wraps an incredible gym aid despite their simple outlook and functions.
How to Choose the Right Wrist Wraps for Powerlifting
Choosing powerlifting gear can be confusing at times: too many options and variety in quality can really make it hard to pick the best one out. Knowing the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ will really help you along the way.
When choosing your wrist wrap for powerlifting, you need to make sure that it supports your wrist joint and muscles in the best way. Choosing the right material is also very important; you would not want to sweat and feel irritation while you are powerlifting. Wrist wraps are made from breathable material so you are not irritated by sweat building up under the wraps. Ergonomic design makes them fit around your wrists so naturally that you do not feel any difference.
Choose the right band width too. The bandwidth allows comfort and maximum support for the joints. The firm pressure of the bands diverts stress from the joint to the muscles, which means your wrists are safe from injuries and sprains. However, if it’s too wide, it will cause a feeling of discomfort.
It would be best if you choose a brand that offers more than one band length so that you can pick a pair that suits your specific needs. Powerlifting will need a longer strap for a stern grip of the band around the wrist. It secures the joint, strengthens the grip, and allows the athlete to lift heavier than usual. You can use 18” wrap for maximum support.
If you are powerlifting solely and need wrist wraps specifically for it, you will need a firm stretch for optimal support and stability. Do not choose light stretch/higher flexibility or an extra short band for powerlifting wraps. Firm stretch, strong fabric and sturdy stitching are must-haves for wrist wraps.
The easy hook and loop closure system makes the wraps comfortable and convenient. Also, look for wrist wraps with thumb loops because they are best suited for powerlifting moves. With loops, the wraps stay firmly in place, and there is no danger of slipping and related hazards. Wrist wraps should have sturdy loops though, because they can come off and get loose easily.
Wrist joint is amazing as far as flexibility and endurance are concerned, but they are quite fragile too. Acute extension and pressure on the joint will result in painful injuries. Powerlifting puts immense pressure on the joint as you try to reach your maximum weight lifting capacity. Wrist wraps divert pressure away from joints and stabilize your joints for improved endurance and lifting ability.
Wrist wraps are essential for powerlifters as they offer much-needed support for your wrists. They keep the wrist safe from sprains and dislocations, support the joint and make lifting easier and safer.
- Bentley, Thomas P., et al. ‘Wrist Dislocation’. StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2021. PubMed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507712/.
- Pulos, Nicholas, and Sanjeev Kakar. ‘Hand and Wrist Injuries: Common Problems and Solutions’. Clinics in Sports Medicine, vol. 37, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 217–43. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csm.2017.12.004.