It’s no secret weightlifting and CrossFit WODs require a decent set of gear. Proper preparation is essential with all the muscle stress and joint pressure caused by Olympic lifting and high volume bodyweight lifts. The human body is an amazing machine, and over time, progressive loads become easier and easier as muscle growth occurs. However, as you push the bounds of your limits, it’s smart to consider investing in some gear. In pursuing fitness goals, you'll find wrist wraps provide a number of useful benefits.
Benefits of Wrist Wraps
1. Stabilize Wrists for Heavy Lifts
The wrist joint is composed of many tiny muscles, tendons, and bones. Like any muscle or bone, it will strengthen with training. When you’re approaching a 1-rep max, or entering an Olympic lifting competition, your form absolutely needs to be on point. Under heavy loads, the body is most vulnerable to injury and at risk of sacrificing form.
The primary benefit of wrist wraps is to help stabilize the wrist to prevent hyperextending and promote proper wrist placement under the bar. With wrist wraps, you can better stabilize barbell weight and prevent sapping any strength from your shoulders or legs for corrective movements.
2. Support for High Volume Movements
CrossFit fans are no stranger to max effort workouts. When the body and mind fatigues, form is often sacrificed. Movements like handstand pushups (HSPU’s), ring dips, and high volume Olympic lifts put a lot of stress on the wrist joint. Ideally, your wrist is strengthened over time through multiple WODs.
However, if you aren’t an RX athlete or CrossFit games contestant, your wrists might not be up to par. Rather than sacrificing form on HSPU’s or overhead squats, wrist wraps can offer additional support and stability to give you one less pain point (literally) to distract you.
3. Recover Faster from Injuries
Ever caught a clean wrong? Bailed from a front squat poorly?
Wrist sprains are a common injury in weightlifting and CrossFit. Luckily, the wrist is a resilient joint. After proper rest and mobilization, its only a matter of time before you can begin putting loads back on your wrists.
A benefit of wrist wraps is aiding the recovery process by supporting good form. A good wrap will both improve wrist stability and take strain off your wrist joint. As injury swelling and pressure goes away, you can stop using wraps and let your wrists continue to heal and strengthen.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Yes, wrist wraps can be overused. The point of a good set of wrist wraps is to supplement, not replace.
You should alternate when you use wraps to prevent yourself from becoming dependent on them. For regular workouts and basic CrossFit WODs, you’re probably safe not using them. When pushing for a PR, max lift, or recovering from an injury, you might want to consider investing in a pair.
What Kind of Wrist Wrap Should I Get?
There are two kinds of wrist wraps available for weightlifters and fitness athletes. Traditional wraps are made of thin cotton to preserve range of motion, while strength wraps are much thicker, sometimes leather, that support static powerlifting or bodybuilding movements like bench pressing.
For Olympic lifting and CrossFit athletes, the best wrist wraps include:
- Thin Cotton
- Velcro wrap
- Thumb loop
Investing in the right kind of wrist wraps can help stabilize your wrist joints for heavy lifts, high volume movements, and recover faster from injuries. And with the right preparation, you’ll be conquering anything that comes your way.
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