Everyone knows that the right gear can do wonders for the WOD posted on the whiteboard that you are about to tackle. But more often than not, the wrong gear is used for the right reasons, and the right gear used for the wrong reasons. No piece of gear out there will help you lift a weight that you physically do not have the strength for or the proper technique. But when used appropriately, the right piece of gear and give you an edge, aid in reducing pain or discomfort, and keep you moving through the workout.
One piece of gear that I always have on hand are wrist wraps. They are pretty popular in the CrossFit community and can be found in many an athletes bags. With the choice of either the standard cotton strips or a elastic strap with velcro, the color options are endless. But which type should you get and when, exactly, should you use them? Some athletes tend to throw on the wraps whenever there is anything over head or they are on their hands. As with lifting belts, there is a time and a place for wrist wraps. When used at the wrong time, they stunt the development of strength in your wrist flexors and extensors. In addition, using the wrong type for a specific movement can hinder mobility or not provide the support you may be looking for.
There are 2 basic types of wrist wraps. First, and most popular among CrossFitters is the cloth wraps. These are roughly 36”long, 3”wide, and will have about 16”ties. The material is cloth and has zero stretch so you can cinch it down on your wrists (think Chinese Rope Burn!) with a simple twist on your wrist or in the opposite direction, loosen it. This type is thinner and more flexible and provide more movement in the wrist while still giving it some stabilization. They are ideal for any movement that requires your wrist to go into extension as they do not hinder the movement. Think clean and jerks, snatches or overhead squats. You can get these in an array of prints, colors, and designs. My favorite are from WonderWrist Wraps on Etsy (see the promo code below to get a great deal from Allison the owner!). They are high quality, durable and in really fun prints! They last a long time and do not hold smell at all (in my experience at least!).
Your second option in wraps are the elastic wraps that are much thicker than the cotton wraps above. Once they are one, they stay in place and there is no loosening them. Only an off and on. they reduce the range of motion in the wrist so these are perfect for lifts such as bench and presses, but not so great for movements like the clean that require a bigger extension in the wrist. Most of these utilize a thumb loop to hold the wrap in place and will secure with hook and loop fasteners at the end of the wrap. I personally use the TerriFIT extra thick wraps. They are 18" long and use the thumb loop and velcro for a secure fit. Not only do they work well, they are very affordable as well. You can check them out here. I do not use these as much as my cotton wraps though and much prefer the cotton ones to allow my wrist its mobility.
I have tried some wraps out there in the cloth line that are just not great. Recently, I used a pair from LIVESORE that are, in my opinion, horrible. The material they used is satin like and does not stay tightened with use. Just a lift or two in those and I was re-twisting my wraps. Had I needed them in a workout, I would have a lot more issues with frustration in these. The ones I use from WonderWrist Wraps are a typical thick cotton that grips on to itself after its twisted. Until you reverse twist, they stay in place. To clean them, I throw them in a cold wash with a mild detergent then let air dry. In between workouts, I spray them with a peppermint deodorizing spray (more on that in a later post!) from WOD Welders. My favorite prints from there are the Wonder Woman and the Camo. Those of you that WOD with me know I LOVE these 2! But you know I need to get their awesome bacon ones ;)
One last key point to the wraps of any style. Make sure you are wearing them properly! If they are not touching the bottom of your hand, you have them to low. They should be tight, that is how you get the stability in them. Once you get them wrapped all the way to the tie, keep wrapping the tie around and then tuck it under the tie that is wrapped. Its simple!
As with any piece of gear you use in your workouts, make sure that you are not using them as a way to hide your mobility issues. If you just cannot do it because of mobility, wrist wraps will be like only taking a pain reliever for a broken leg. You might feel better in the beginning, but in the long run, you are going to suffer. Check out this link below for some amazing tips on wrist mobility: http://www.crossfitinvictus.com/coaches/tips-for-improved-wrist-mobility/
For those of you still wondering and wanting an awesome pair of wrist wraps from WonderWrist Wraps, you can check out their store here at their Etsy Store. Also, if you order before the end of the year, you can use the code LiveLiftRun15 to save 20% off your order. Allison is the amazing owner of the shop and has offered this to all of the CrossFit 1Pulse athletes and followers on the blog so enjoy and show her some love!