One advantage of CrossFit training is that you never fall short of accessories. There are belts, straps, wraps, knee sleeves, and even lifting shoes. As a functional fitness athlete, you need to have access to these common pieces of CrossFit gear. The wrist wrap, though one of the common gears, ranks high among the most misused CrossFit accessories. The main function of a wrist wrap is to give support to the wrist joint when doing heavy lifting or maximum effort lifting.
During some of these tough movements, the wrist may be pulled into excessive extension thus resulting in failed lifts, possible injury, and compromised mechanics. Every athlete should know how to use them correctly. Below are some of the tips to bear in mind when using wrist wraps in your training.
Do Not Use Wrist Wraps during Warm Up
When moving 60% of your 1-RM press, you don’t necessarily need to wrap your wrists. Athletes are advised to wear wrist wraps only during training days when working at near max loads. When you become dependent on wrist wraps, they will limit your strength development, particularly in your wrist extensors and flexors. If you are careful enough to look at some of the strongest athletes in the CrossFit gym, they rarely wear wrist wraps.
Never Tie Your Wrist Wrap Too Low
The chief purpose of a wrist wrap is to ensure your wrist joint has excellent support. Whenever you tie the wrap below your wrist joint, it will not function as it should, but rather work just like a forearm bracelet. When tying your wrist wrap, do so in such a way that it covers the entire wrist joint so as to create support and prevent excessive extension.
Go for the Right Wrap
There are two main types of wraps in the market: Velcro-bound powerlifting wraps and cotton wraps. While the powerlifting wraps give you awesome wrist support, cotton wraps are much thinner and flexible. When maxing on a movement such as a bench press, the advice is to use thicker wraps. On the other hand, if you want a max in your snatch or clean and jerk, using thinner wraps might be more advantageous.
Not Every Gymnastic Movement Requires a Wrap
Unless you really plan on competing in gymnastic events such as pommel horse or vault, you may not need to put on wraps. Also, when doing bodyweight CrossFit exercises such as handstand push-ups, ring dips, and pull-ups, you do not need wrist wraps. The only exception to all this is when competing or training with an injury. You may also consider having wrist wraps on to protect your skin when doing high repetitions of muscle ups with a false grip.
In all you do, remember that mobility and flexibility issues should be addressed and not hidden by wearing wraps.