Best Wrist Wraps for Powerlifting and Bodybuilding in 2020
I am of the belief that wrist wraps are a fundamental piece of lifting equipment. Find the best wrist wraps for powerlifting and bodybuilding is a key step to take.
The trouble is that there seems to be a whole lot of options for something that is essentially rather simple.
I'm sure you'll agree, it makes it hard to know if you are getting a good, supportive pair or wraps or a flimsy piece of stretchy fabric.
This guide will give you all the information you need to know about wrist wraps as well as my opinion on the best pair to buy.
Best Wrist Wraps for Powerlifitng - Quick View
To save you some scrolling, here's a quick overview of my suggested wrist wraps.
Why Wear Wrist Wraps for Powerlifing?
Wrist wraps are generally thought of as a piece of safety equipment for presses and, in some cases, squats and deadlifts.
It isn’t likely that you will see a big increase in your bench press numbers from using wrist wraps. Unlike a powerlifting belt or knee sleeves for squats, wrist wraps don’t tend to increase your lift by a large amount.
What wrist wraps will do is provide you with support around your wrist joint and enable you to keep it straight while pressing.
For most people, a straighter wrist is going to lead to a better transfer of power to the bar.
Wrist wraps can help to enforce this stronger position under heavier loads.
So, if you do struggle to keep your wrist straight when pressing, wrist wraps might add a little bit to your one rep max.
Personally, I feel the tightness of the wrap provides and stiffness of my wrist helps me get a stronger grip on the bar. This, in turn, makes the weight feel lighter upon un-racking.
It also make sense that wearing wrist wraps allows you to forget about any pressure on your wrist joint and put more focus into your lifting instead.
Do wrist wraps prevent injury?
As I mentioned earlier, if you are somebody that struggles to keep your wrist solid during the bench press, wrist wraps can help you.
While there is little scientific research to show the benefits of wrist wraps during lifting, common sense should tell us that preventing the wrist from bending backwards under load is probably good for your wrists.
In fact, I started using wrist wraps in the first place after I stumbled at the top of an overhead press, causing the bar to roll backwards into my fingers, bending my wrist with it and causing a sprain.
Some lifters use wrist wraps for squats to minimise the risk of the bar putting pressure on a bent wrist. This is more common for low-bar squatters because of the hand position when squeezing the bar into your back.
In short, I do feel wrist wraps make lifting safer for your wrist joints if you wear them properly (I’ll cover that later).
When should you use wrist wraps?
I will state that I have no actual scientific proof for this section, but I will present what makes sense to me and you can make up your own mind about it.
I think wrist wraps should be used a bit like most people would use a lifting belt; only for higher intensity sets.
My reasons for this are as follow:
I feel like putting them on later in the workout acts as a bit of a mind trick and makes the weight feel lighter once you put them on.
I like to keep some sets performed without them, so I don’t become over-reliant on them.
I think lifting weights without any support must have some strengthening effect on the wrist joint. Lifting with wraps for every single set may remove this benefit and weaken some of the tissues inside the wrist.
Again, you may not agree with those points but those are my thoughts and you can use them to draw your own conclusions.
What size wrist wraps to buy
If you are competing in powerlifting, your chosen federation is likely to have its own set of rules and limits for wrap sizes.
The most commonly seen sizes for wraps are 18” and 24”. I would say this is where you want to aim.
A longer wrap means more coverage and less joint movement but I feel anything over 24” is overkill for most lifters.
Plus, constantly wrapping and unwrapping a long wrap in the gym gets rather tedious.
12” wraps are also available but, unless you have tiny wrists, they aren’t really long enough to get a good amount of material above and below the wrist joint when you wrap them up.
How to use wrist wraps properly
Wrist wraps are a simple piece of equipment and there isn’t much to them. However, there is a correct way to wrap your wrist properly before lifting.
They key is to make sure you are wrapping on both sides of your wrist joint. Many people simply wind the wrap around their forearm, which does next to nothing.
You also want to crank the wrap tight. It shouldn’t be so tight that your hands are turning purple, but it will be tight enough to resist your hand when you try to open it.
If you’re putting your wraps on at the start of the session and not taking them off until the end, they are likely too loose. Properly tightened wrist wraps are not comfortable.
Instead of listing the steps and trying to have you imagine what to do, here’s a video that explains it well:
Which wrist wraps to buy?
In all honesty, many wrist wraps from the top brands are going to be quite similar.
What you want to avoid is purchasing a pair that are too soft to provide good support or are inferior quality and going to stretch and fray.
I have seen some sites present a whole list of recommended wrist wraps, which I don’t feel is useful for such a simple product. With that being said, my recommendations are simple:
Get the Titan Signature Series Gold Powerlifting Wrist Wraps. They are very supportive and quite stiff, which I think is a good thing, but will soften up slightly over time.
I would just grab the 18” version since I hate having too much wrapping to do before every set. I also feel like the support I get from cranking the 18” tight is always going to be more than enough.