In a lot of ways, wrist wraps are just like belts, knee sleeves, weightlifting shoes or any other powerlifting accessory.
You don’t absolutely need them.
I’ll bet after using them once, you’ll never want to lift without them. Maybe you feel stronger. Maybe your joints feel healthier. Or maybe your gear just looks awesome and you want to show it off (there’s nothing wrong with that!).
1. Help Prevent Injury
The primary function of wrist wraps is to keep your wrist and hand in direct alignment with your forearm (neutral position in above image)
You might have noticed when pressing weight close to your max, your wrists tend to roll back (wrist overextension). This is NOT the optimum position for your wrists. I first realized this when I started to get shooting wrist pains during heavy bench presses. When rotating my wrists, there was this horrible clicking noise I’d get also. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, it’s likely you’re getting close to a wrist injury.
Wrist wraps help to force this alignment and the stiffest ones will prevent your wrists from rolling back.
2. Lift Heavier Weights
When your wrists ‘roll back’ you’re no longer pressing in a straight line. You now have to overcome the bend in your wrists. In other words, an additional moment arm is created at your wrist joint. More of your pressing power will be used up at this wrist joint (instead of into the barbell) to overcome the force needed for this new moment arm.
By forcing this forearm-wrist alignment, wrist wraps give you a straight line to press into. You can therefore transfer all of your power directly into the barbell.
Many would have you believe that wrist wraps make you stronger. In reality, they force you to put your maximum power into the most efficient bar path.
Image : PowerliftingToWin
3. Long Term Peace of Mind
This is really my favorite reason to use wrist wraps.
For me, the gym is an escape.
It’s the place I can go and no matter what, I’ll leave in a better state of mind than when I went in. It’s the place I really learned what it meant to grind. It’s the place I learned to tackle challenges head on. It’s the place I can go and make a good day even better. It’s the place I can go and make a shit day less shitty. It’s really a place that has given me so much and only ever asks that I put in an honest effort.
The last thing I ever want is for an injury to take that all that away from me.
When I was a kid, I had a really bad knee injury that stopped me playing football for years. If you’ve ever had an injury, times like that make you realize how much you take a healthy body for granted.
So yeah, better form, injury prevention and wrist protection are great reasons to use wrist wraps.
But what I really value is that peace of mind that I’m doing everything possible to make sure my little mental escape is what is really protected.