CrossFit athletes have lots of accessories they can choose from today. Every athlete you see today will certainly wear any of these accessories; straps, belts, knee sleeves and lifting shoes. In my own view, I believe athletes either overuse or misuse wrist wrap. What a wrist wrap is meant for is to provide an athlete with support on the wrist when using heavy efforts or doing overhead lifts. The wrist tends to over-extend during these activities, ultimately leading to injury or failed lifts. It is important for every athlete to wear a wrist wrap, but it needs to be properly used. I have compiled the tips below, which will help you optimize your trainings.
- Do not wear wrist wraps when warming up
Wrist wraps is of no use when working at 60% of your normal RM press. I tell my athletes to wear wrist wraps on days when we are performing near maximum load. Using wrist wraps all the time has a way of limiting the strength in the extensors and flexors of your wrist. The next time you hit the gym, take your time and observe some of the top performers there. You will notice they hardly wear wrist wraps
- Your wrist wraps shouldn’t be tied too low
Always bear in mind that a wrist wrap is there to provide support to your wrists. If you place your wrist wrap somewhere below the joint of your wrist, your wrist wrap is nothing other than a bracelet that provides no form of support. Your wrist wraps needs to be tied so that it covers your wrist joint, while also providing support to your wrist.
- Opt for the right kind of wrap
There are two variants of wraps you will find in the Market; Thin wraps with more strength and flexibility and thick Velcro-bound lifting that provide the wrist with greater support. If your workout routine requires you to do max movements like shoulder or bench press, then I recommend going for thick wraps. If your wrist will have to go through a wide range of motion while performing jerks or snatches, then I recommend thin wraps. This is because snatch and jerk will extend your wrist into a finish position.
- Avoid wearing wrist wraps for gymnastic movements
Wrist wraps will be of no use unless you intend wearing a leotard or you will be performing actual gymnastic movements like pommel horse of vault. Also, wrist wraps won’t be necessary for body movements like pull-ups, push-ups and ring dips. The only time you can do otherwise is when you are training or have an injury on your wrist. Some athletes are in the habit of providing their skin with extra protection when performing acts like muscle ups using false grips. The bottom line is that you will have no need for wrist wrap while doing some gymnastic movement in CrossFit.
- Wrist Wraps isn’t what you use for hiding flexibility or mobility problems
The common reason athletes cite for wearing wrist wraps is to minimize the pain that comes when the wrist is extended during activities like front squats. Athletes that suffer this kind of pain during squatting have poor rack position which is often caused by poor mobility in the upper part of the body. Other contributing factors to poor rack position include; poor shoulder flexion during external rotation, lack of thoracic extension, and poor wrist flexibility. Wrist wraps wont’ add any element of flexibility to your wrists. If you want to improve the flexibility of your wrist, then you will have to “Tips for improved wrist mobility” written by Nichole or “How to get a better rack”, which I wrote myself.