In this article we are going to explain everything related to the use of wristbands in CrossFit and for this we have Adriá, our physio specialized in CrossFit who will give us all the tips to use this accessory in a safe and effective way.
We often wonder if we should use wristbands. In which cases, for which movements, for what purpose, and are they really useful?
Personally, I think they can be a CrossFit accessory interesting if they are used properly but we should avoid generating a dependence on them (as happens with belts, knee pads, ...).
Should I wear wrist braces if I am in pain?
In the presence of injury or pain, wearing wristbands will not automatically make the symptoms disappearHowever, it can help us in these periods of recovery from injuries or painful processes to introduce exercise or tolerate loads that will later have a positive impact.
On the other hand, we can wear them when we move high loads or loads with which we are not yet comfortable because we have not adapted to them. In the latter case we would see them as an aid or support while we are working on wrist mobility and strength.
In which movements are they used?
In very demanding movements or movements that can compromise the joint such as the snatch or OHS I recommend wearing them, especially if we move high loads or perform a lot of volume (in a WOD), unless we have very good mobility and have developed excellent strength and tolerance to the load.
Other exercises in which we can get to move high loads and could benefit from the wrist straps are the different types of press (horizontal and vertical).
In gymnastic movements where there is a high compression such as HSPU or HSW we can take them into account if the volume of repetitions is very high or in the same WOD we find more exercises that can put more stress on our wrists.
We must keep in mind that if we have to put on the wristbands as soon as we leave the locker room to do the warm up, push ups, move medium-low loads, hold the handstand position, ... Something is not right. In these cases we should:
Types of wristbands
Another doubt that often arises is about the type of wristband that we should use or is more appropriate.
If we take into account the great variability of movements and requirements of CrossFit, the most versatile are the fabric wristbands that are adjusted by rotating them on our wrist.
They will make us feel more secure when moving loads and will not be a hindrance when doing gymnastic movements.
In addition, they can be easily tightened or loosened, very useful for resting between sets or varying compression when changing exercises in a WOD.
Another type of wristbands are those that we could relate more to Powerlifting.
They are usually thicker and are adjusted to fit with Velcro. They are designed to move high loads with the bar and stabilize the wrist very well, they can exert more compression than the fabric ones.
As important cons:
Velites is a Spanish brand specialized in CrossFit accessories.
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They are easy and quick to adjust thanks to the small strap that is anchored to the thumb, which you can remove once in place if necessary. They are made of patented bi-layer material (not derived from animals) for better durability and cleaning.
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Another option is functional bandages with tape.
These can be useful in athletes or patients who are recovering from an injury. They allow us to be more specific in the area we want to stabilize or give a compression stimulus.
They must be prescribed by a physiotherapist.
Which model do I recommend?
I would recommend fabric wristbands or synthetic material such as Velites for their versatility and comfort. I would reserve the Powerlifting type wrist straps for heavy barbell lifts such as the bench press, shoulder press and its variants. Bandages with tape I would reserve them for those cases in which the physiotherapist recommends their use.
Do wristbands really work?
Yes, they are useful as long as they are used properly and correctly.
Without going into technicalities and neuroscience, we can attribute its effects mainly to:
Therefore, taking into account these points and what we have discussed above:
Wrist straps can be an interesting tool to be able to move high loads or medium-low loads at high repetitions.
To perform WOD's with exercises that may subject the wrist to high stress. And, in rehabilitation, it can be very useful to be able to introduce weight-bearing exercise in the initial stages along with the use of bandages when necessary.