The two most common sizes for lifting wrist wraps is either 20-inch or 36-inch. If you’re looking to buy your first pair of wrist wraps, you may be wondering which size is best.
So should you get a 20 or 36-inch wrist wrap? Most lifters should get the 20-inch wrist wrap because it will provide enough stiffness and stability for the wrist joint across several exercises in the gym. You would only consider a 36-inch wrist wrap if you had large wrists, plan to lift maximal (1RM) loads, or are an experienced powerlifter.
Lifters will generally use the 20-inch wrist wraps to start, and then over time as they get stronger, consider using a longer, 36-inch wrist wrap. However, it’s important to know all of the considerations that go into sizing a wrist wrap, so let’s cover those now!
The absolute best wrist wrap on the market is the 20-Inch Inzer True Gripper (click to check today’s price on Amazon). It is the most durable wrap you can buy, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it within 6-12 months (a common experience for most lifters).
Sizing Considerations For Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps come in all shapes and sizes.
The two most common sizes that manufacturers make are 20-inches and 36-inches.
There are four primary considerations that you need to make when determining your wrist size:
1. Size of The Wrist
The bigger your wrist/forearm, the longer your wrap size should be.
The unfortunate part is that manufacturers don’t have sizing charts for wrist wraps as they would for lifting shoes.
It’s simply up to you to know whether you have large wrists or not, which is more likely a function of being a man or woman or being heavier in body-weight.
If you’re unsure whether you have large wrists or not, I’d say you probably don’t, and you should opt for the 20-inch wrap over the 36-inch wrap.
However, the size of your wrist should the least of the three considerations when determining your wrist wrap size. The next three considerations should weigh more heavily in your decision.
2. Weight on The Bar
If you are lifting maximal loads in the 1-3 rep range then you should consider a longer vs shorter wrap size.
The heavier the absolute load on the bar, the more you will feel secure with a longer wrap.
This is because with heavier loads the more strength is required at the level of the wrist and forearm to keep the wrist neutral while lifting.
A 36-inch wrap gives you an extra wrap or two around your wrist compared with a 20-inch wrap, which will help prevent the wrist from bending under the load.
With that said, don’t underestimate how much support a 20-inch wrap can give you. You’d need to be lifting a lot of weight before your wrist starts to bend under a 20-inch wrap.
Check out my article on How To Use Wrist Wraps where I share with you how to get the most out of them.
3. Level of Experience
The longer you spend in the gym, the stronger you’ll be, and the more weight you’ll lift. As such, lifters with more experience (5+ years of lifting) usually prefer a longer wrist wrap.
Let’s say a new lifter bench press 200lbs for 3 reps and it feels like a max weight. The absolute load on the bar in this scenario may not be heavy enough to warrant a longer wrap just because the load “feels heavy” for this individual.
However, if you have spent years in the gym, and now you’re bench pressing 400lbs for 3 reps, a shorter wrap may not provide the stability and stiffness you need to keep your wrist in an optimal position.
You need to judge your own personal gym experience and be honest with your level of strength and the weights that you are lifting. Just because a weight ‘feels heavy’, doesn’t mean it warrants a longer wrist wrap.
3. Type of Training
While a 20-inch wrist wrap is used by lifters from all different backgrounds (bodybuilding, Crossfit, Olympic weightlifting), a 36-inch wrist wrap is almost exclusively used by powerlifters.
If you don’t compete in powerlifting, I would not even consider the 36-inch wrist wrap. The 20-inch wrist wrap will provide enough support for the activities you do in the gym.
However, if you are squatting and benching with high frequencies, and your aim is to continue getting stronger in the 1 rep range over time, then the 36-inch wrist wrap may be a better option for you.
This would especially be the case if you are in a heavier body-weight category, and ultimately, lifting heavier absolute loads.
Who Are 20-Inch Wrist Wraps For?
I would buy the 20-inch wrap if you’re this type of person:
- You are a woman
- You are a man with average-sized wrists and forearms
- You have less than 5 years of gym experience
- You don’t exclusively powerlift, i.e. you like to do various activities in the gym, including bodybuilding, Crossfit, or Olympic weightlifting
- You plan to use your wrist wraps for exercises other than squatting, benching, and overhead pressing
- You are wanting to use wrist wraps for rehab purposes
Takeaway: Most lifters will choose the 20-inch wrist wraps for their first pair. It’s only over time and experience using wrist wraps where lifters feel like they need to upgrade to the 36-inch model to get additional support and stability.
Who Are 36-Inch Wrist Wraps For?
I would buy the 36-inch wrap if you’re this type of person:
- You have bigger wrists and forearms
- You are lifting heavier absolute loads (more than the average)
- You’ve been lifting for a long time (5+ years)
- You are a competitive powerlifter
- Your aim is to improve the strength of your squat, bench press, and overhead press
- You already know you like stiffer supportive equipment because you wear stiff knee sleeves and elbow wraps
Takeaway: If you already know your wrists have problems staying in the optimal position because you’re a competitive powerlifter, and you’re generally a larger person, you should consider the 36-inch wrist wrap.
Other Sizes For Wrist Wraps
If you’re shopping for wrist wraps, you’ll notice a variety of other sizes for wrist wraps.
While it’s uncommon, you may see wrist wrap that are sized:
Shorter Wrist Wraps
You may find a use for shorter than 20-inch wraps if you’re using the wrap for rehab purposes.
For example, while performing everyday activities if you are coming back from a wrist injury.
But, using them in the gym would probably not be as functional as a 20-inch wrap.
Longer Wrist Wraps
In my opinion, there is no point in a wrist wrap longer than 36-inches.
Most World Record bench press lifts are done using a 36-inch wrap (and some even with a 24-inch wrap).
So, if you can’t keep your wrist neutral with a 36-inch wrap, then the problem isn’t’ the wrap, it’s your wrist. At that point, you should work on more wrist/forearm strengthening exercises.
Check out my article on the Benefits of Wearing Wrist Wraps
Top Picks: Types of Wrist Wraps
I’m going to share with you my top two wrist wrap recommendations.
Both of my picks are Inzer products, which in my opinion has the most durable wrist wraps on the market.
No matter what size you get, the most critical feature you need is durability.
I’ve had wrist wraps from almost every major manufacturer on the market, and the longest-lasting wrist wraps by far have been Inzer.
Because wrist wraps take a beating in the gym from the constant usage, it’s common for wrist wraps to fray, either the elastic begins to deteriorate, or the Velcro straps stops working. It’s an extremely common experience and most lifters need to replace their wrist wraps after 6-12 months.
I’ve had both of my Inzer Wrist Wraps for over 3 years and even with constant usage, they have maintained their integrity and work like new.
Inzer True Gripper Wrist Wraps – Best Overall Wrist Wrap
My favorite feature of the Inzer True Gripper Wrist Wraps are the addition of the rubber strips.
On the insides, Inzer placed two bands of exposed rubber. When you tie the Gripper wraps around your wrist, the rubber will decrease the chances of fabric slippage under heavy weights.
And, since the rubber runs through the whole length of the wraps, the gripping effect will literally multiply by each turn you add.
Inzer Iron Z Wrist Wraps – Runner Up
The Iron Z wrist wraps come with the same durability as the True Grippers, but they don’t have the rubber strips.
As such, the Iron Z wrist wraps are slightly cheaper, which would be your go-to option if you’re on a budget.
You would only find an advantage with the rubber strips if you’re a competitive powerlifter and lifting heavy loads. Otherwise, you would be just fine getting the Iron Z wrist wraps.
Sizing considerations for wrist wraps include the size of your wrist, how heavy you’re lifting, how much experience you have, and the types of activities you do in the gym.
Most lifters will be pleased with the 20-inch wrist wrap.
I would only consider the 36-inch wrist wrap if you’re a competitive powerlifter with a lot of years of experience, and have already tried the 20-inch wrist wrap beforehand.
If you’re interested, I wrote a full review of the best wrist wraps for powerlifting.