Wrist Wraps

Are Wrist Wraps Allowed In Powerlifting? 6 Rules To Follow

Are wrist wraps allowed in powerlifting

In the sport of powerlifting, there are many different federations with different rules that can make what is allowed and what isn't a little confusing. 

Every federation clearly agrees that wrist wraps are allowed in the sport of powerlifting. They are also allowed across every division and their use is encouraged for safety and performance benefits.

Though all federations agree that wrist wraps are allowed, the length, width, and brands allowed can vary.  

Key Takeaways

  • All powerlifting federations have a max width of 8cm for wrist wraps, and a length of 1m (with the exception of the 100% Raw Federation that only allows a length of 61cm). 

  • While not all brands are approved for powerlifting competitions, Gymreapers wrist wraps can be worn across any federation.  

  • Wearing wrist wraps is not cheating in powerlifting, but there are rules around how you can wear them, such as not being too high or too low on the wrist.  

Can You Wear Wrist Wraps for Powerlifting?

Can you wear wrist wraps for powerlifting?

If you're new to powerlifting, you may be wondering if wrist wraps are allowed during competition. 

The answer is yes, you’re allowed to wear them for all three lifts: squats, bench, and deadlifts. 

There are some guidelines you should follow to ensure that you stay within the rules, however, which I’ll address below.

The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), which is the most popular powerlifting federation, allows wrist wraps as long as they meet certain criteria.

These requirements include:

Length Requirements

In the IPF, wrist wraps must not exceed a length of one meter. 

This is the most common length requirement across all federations with only some smaller federations (like 100% RAW) requiring shorter wrist wraps.

Even though you are allowed up to 1m wrist wraps in a competition that doesn't always mean a longer wrist wrap is better suited to you. 

To learn more about the right wrist wrap length explore our other articles:

  • 4 Tips For Wearing Wrist Wraps For Bench Press & Do They Help
  • Width Requirements

    In all powerlifting federations, the width requirement is a maximum of 8cm for wrist wraps. 

    In addition, the IPF also allows 12cm standard commercial sweatbands to be worn on a lifter's wrist instead of wrist wraps if a lifter chooses.

    I have personally never seen this in competition as a sweatband would not provide any support in comparison to a wrist wrap

    It is, however, permitted by the rules.

    Material Requirements

    Wrist wraps must be made of a one-ply woven elastic covered with polyester, cotton, or a combination of both. 

    These material requirements are also pretty common across other federations as well although other federations do allow multi-ply rather than one-ply material.  What this means is having two pieces of material stitched together vs just a single piece.

    Due to these material requirements, something like a boxer wrist wrap would NOT be approved in the IPF.

    Brand Requirements 

    In 2023, Gymreapers joined many popular brands including SBD, Stoic, and A7 in IPF approved brand list

    In high-level IPF competitions, or even in some countries on the local meet level, you will go through an equipment check by the referees. 

    The referees look to ensure that all of your equipment not only meets the criteria above but also that the brand of your equipment is on the “approved list”.

    Often first time lifters will purchase equipment that fits the criteria of approval but is not on the approved brand list.  This leads to new lifters not being able to wear that piece of equipment on meet day.

    If you have aspirations of being a competitive powerlifter, especially in the IPF, then make sure that your wrist wraps and other equipment are on the approved list.

    Why Do Powerlifters Wear Wrist Wraps?

    Why do powerlifters wear wrist wraps?

    Wrist wraps are worn by powerlifters for several reasons. 

    • First, they provide support and stability to the wrist joint, which can help prevent injury during heavy lifts.

    • Second, they can increase the amount of weight an athlete can lift by providing additional support to the wrists.

    • Finally, they can help keep the wrist in a neutral position, which can improve the lifter's form. 

    Related Article: How to Choose the Best Knee Sleeves for Powerlifting

    Are Wrist Wraps in Powerlifting Cheating?

    Some people argue that wearing wrist wraps in powerlifting is cheating because they provide an advantage over lifters who don't use them.

    This argument doesn't hold up because wrist wraps are allowed by most powerlifting federations, and lifters who don't use them are choosing not to take advantage of the added support they provide.

    Wrist wraps are not considered cheating in powerlifting.

    They are allowed in most competitions and are considered essential pieces of equipment for many lifters.

    Wrist wraps don’t necessarily make the lifter stronger but allow them to express the strength they already have better. 

    Wearing wrist wraps in powerlifting is the same as wearing running shoes during a marathon.  Nobody would think that running shoes are cheating.

    However, it's important to follow the rules and guidelines set by the powerlifting federation you are competing in.  

    What Powerlifting Federations Allow Wrist Wraps in Competition?

    All powerlifting federations allow the use of wrist wraps during competition. 

    However, the rules and regulations may vary between federations.


    Wrist Wraps Approved?

    Approved Length

    Approved Width

    Requires certain brand approval?



    Max 1m

    Max 8cm




    Max 1m

    Max 8cm




    Max 1m

    Max 8cm




    Max 1m

    Max 8cm


    100% RAW


    Max 61cm

    Max 8cm



    6 Rules to Follow for Wrist Wraps in Powerlifting

    6 rules to follow for wrist wraps in powerlifting

    If you plan to use wrist wraps in powerlifting, here are six rules to follow:

    1. Check the rules of your powerlifting federation to make sure the wrist wraps you plan to use are allowed.

    Do not assume your wrist wraps fit the requirements.

    Study the rules and regulations to ensure your wrist wraps fit the brand, length, and width requirements.

    Pro-tip: Buying wrist wraps on the IPF-approved list will almost always ensure they meet the requirements of every federation or at least most of them.

    2. Choose wrist wraps that are the appropriate length and width for your federation's rules.

    Though most federations have the same length and width requirements the odd federation does allow shorter wrist wraps.

    Unless full 1m length wrist wraps are best suited to you because you prefer the feeling of multiple revolutions around your wrist, you may want to pick slightly shorter wraps.

    In fact, most lifters will prefer a slightly shorter wrist wrap anyways, but if you do prefer the longer wrist wraps make sure to compete in federations that allow them by their rules.

    3. Practice with your wrist wraps before the competition to get used to them and make sure they provide the support and stability you need.

    Using wrist wraps is a skill. You need to make sure you are well practiced with wrapping your wrists.

    When wrapping your wrist wraps you want to make sure that wrapping them in a position that supports the lift you are performing and is within the rules of your federation. 

    Most federations will typically have a regulated position where you are allowed to place your wraps.

    Additionally, you may wear your wraps in different positions for squats, bench, and deadlifts, and you will want to be practiced knowing where these positions are for you on competition day.

    4. The Brand you purchase is approved in your federation

    The IPF and USPA have approved brand lists of which brands of wrist wraps are allowed to be worn in their competitions. 

    If you are competing in one of these federations make sure your wraps are on the approved brand lists provided by each federation.

    5. You must remove the thumb loop while lifting

    A common mistake many new lifters make in their first competition is going out to perform their attempt with the wrist wrap loop still on.

    Most federations have a rule against this. If you do this you will just be told to take them off before performing your lift.

    It is very rare to see a lifter miss a lift due to this, however, in many federations, you have one minute from the time the “bar is loaded” for you to perform your lift. 

    If you are short on time, having a referee ask you to take your thumb loop off, might cause wasted time that could otherwise be spent focusing on setting up for your lift.   

    Because of this, it is common practice to take your thumb loops off while lifting in training to ensure you are ready for this on meet day.

    6. You must not position them higher on your wrist than what is allowed in your federation (Rules may differ between federations)

    In the IPF, you must not extend your wrist wrap beyond 10 cm above and 2 cm below the center of the wrist joint. 

    Your wrist wrap also can not exceed covering a width of 12 cm on your wrist. 

    Other federations may have other requirements for positioning so ensure that you check the rules of your federation.

    Essentially what this rule is trying to prevent is having you wrap your wrist halfway down your forearm, which might provide more elbow support than wrist support.  

    Wrist Wrap Recommendation

    Gypreapers 18-Inch Wrist Wrap - Approved In all federations Wrist Wrap

    Gypreapers 18-inch wrist wrap

    The Gymreapers 18-inch wrist wrap is approved in all powerlifting federations and is a great, sturdy, and durable option that can support all your lifts.  

    Click For Best Price

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