While wrist wraps have become increasingly prevalent in both competitive and recreational demographics, their posited ability to augment bench press performance by enhanced wrist stability still remains unclear. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of varying wrap styles on bench-specific muscular strength and associated power, as well as quantitative and subjective differences between sexes. METHODS: Eighteen resistance trained males and females (9M/9F; 24±4y; 176±33cm; 80±15kg) visited the laboratory on three separate occasions in randomized, crossover, and counterbalanced design to sport either a flexible wrist wrap (FW), stiff wrap (SW), or a no wrap control (NW) condition. All participants underwent a bench press one-repetition maximum (1RM) test and linear position transducer-derived peak power and velocity assessments. Furthermore, subjective stability (SS) and discomfort (SD) were determined promptly following 1RM attempts. Bench press performance and sex-collapsed subjective variables were analyzed using a two-way (condition x sex) mixed model ANOVA with repeated measures and a nonparametric Friedman’s ANOVA, respectively. Both analyses were performed at a p<.05 significance level. RESULTS: Analyses failed to detect any main condition or interaction effects for bench press 1RM, however, a statistically significant main sex effect was observed (p<.001; ηp2=.597) favoring males relative to females (p<.001; 114±22kg vs 68±16kg). Both peak power and velocity failed to reveal any significant main condition or sex effects, nor any interactions. Nonparametric assessments further revealed significant wrist wrap condition effects for both SS (p<.001; Kendall’s W=.628) and SD (p<.001; Kendall’s W=.935), whereby NW was statistically more comfortable (p<.001) than either wrap condition, without any difference between DW and SW (p>.05). CONCLUSION: Although wrist wraps did not significantly alter bench press-specific strength and power, participants nonetheless perceived wrist wraps as subjectively more stable irrespective of increased discomfort.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The authors of this abstract would like to thank Peter Spence and SBD Apparel for generously donating the wrist wraps utilized in the present investigation.



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