How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes

03.02.2022 by

Although Jiu Jitsu is frequently called the gentle art, even gentle things can erode the hardest materials over time. Our fingers are constantly called on to make grips, both in the gi and no-gi, and are subject to considerable abuse as our opponents fight to rip our hands off of them. Sometimes our fingers may even get caught on the mat or smashed by a wayward knee. To protect and reinforce these precious joints we call upon finger tape.

You’ve probably seen your coach or a veteran competitor taping their fingers before class – in this article we’ll explain why we tape, teach you how to tape your fingers, and offer our top picks for BJJ finger tape.

Grip from the guard training BJJ, BJJ Finger Tape - How And Why to Tape Your Fingers | Jiu Jitsu Legacy

The tale of the tape

You’ve no doubt witnessed your gym’s competitors or an older Jiu Jitsu players in your gym sitting in their chosen corner of the mat, meticulously looping tape around each finger. While there isn’t a ton of scientific evidence supporting taping, most tape users report greater confidence due to the physical support, in addition to reduced pain during and after training.

Its important to know that tape is literally a bandaid for your problems – it will not magically heal a sprain or fix chronic inflammation. Treat finger tape like headgear, knee pads, or a mouthguard. It can help protect against injury or support recovery, but it won’t reverse chronic hand issues. 

How to tape your fingers

While there are different methods to finger taping, the guiding principle should always be support for your digits. In other words, focus your taping on areas that you believe are most vulnerable. 

The easiest way to wrap your fingers is to put rings of tape above and below the joint you’re supporting. Instead of wrapping multiple times, use 3 layers of shorter lengths of tape. You want each piece of tape to slightly overlap itself. For smaller digits like the pinky you may only need to use 2 layers of tape. The tape does not (and should not) completely cover the space between your knuckles. Experiment with different widths of tape to find the size that is comfortable and supportive.

For the most support, and that classic competition look, use the cross, or “X” taping method. As the name suggests, you will create an “X” pattern around the joint to cover and protect more surface area of the finger. 

Our top 5 finger tapes

The best finger tapes are easy to tear, offer adhesive which last throughout your training session, and can be removed without scissors or leaving behind sticky residue. Some tape comes pre-sized for fingers, while others are wider and need to be torn to size. Personally, I prefer using a wider tape and selecting my own width by tearing. This lets me get a better fit on all of my fingers – my pinky and top knuckle do better with thinner strips than my other fingers and lower knuckles.

Johnson and Johnson Coach Tape

How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 1 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape

This is the tape that started it all. While it isn’t specifically designed as BJJ finger tape, it is still some of the best tape on the market. Reddit agrees, with numerous testimonies asserting that this is the tape to get. This tape comes in 1.5″ width (3.8cm) so you’ll need to tear it into narrower strips for fingers. This tape is one of the easiest to tear tapes on the market – both length and width. It is essentially infinitely adjustable.

This tape is great because it doesn’t come off during training and doesn’t leave any residue after removal. Sometimes its can be hard to find the end to remove, as the tape can become one with itself during training. Try to remember where you end your wraps so you can find the ends for removal!

Johnson and Johnson finger tape roll with strips of various sizes torn into the roll for finger taping.
My current roll of tape

Editors Note: I have personally been using Johnson and Johnson coach tape for 6 years. I once purchased it in bulk… I had 32 rolls sitting in my closet! I’m down to my last 2 rolls from that original purchase 3 years ago.

Hampton Adams Finger Tape

How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 2 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape
How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 3 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape

Hampton is a respected name in the tape world and offers its tape in narrow .3″ (.8cm) width which is suitable for most finger taping need. This tape is easy to tear, has a long lasting adhesive, and removes without leaving residue.

Gold BJJ Jiu Jitsu Tape

How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 4 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape
How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 5 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape

This tape is made by BJJ folks, for BJJ folks. This tape has an incredibly robust adhesive and promises not to fall off even during the hardest rolls. However, this does mean that it often leaves a sticky residue behind after you remove it. If you have sensitive skin the intensively strong adhesive may even bother you if you remove it too quickly.

This tape is available in .5″ (1.25cm) width, meaning it can be used as is, or torn in half for smaller digits.

Monkey Tape

How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 6 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape

Monkey tape is one of the original BJJ finger tapes and has been out for a long time. This tape comes in a variety of sizes including: 0.2″, 0.3″, 0.4″, 0.5″ making it perfect for people who want to get tape that provides the perfect fit every time.

This tape has a durable adhesive that errs on the side of being perhaps a bit too sticky and sometimes leaves a residue. Also, while the size options are neat, you pay for the privilege.

Fuji Finger Tape

How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 7 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape
How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes 8 How (And Why) to Tape Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Bonus: Our Top 5 Finger Tapes bjj finger tape

Fuji, the respected BJJ gi manufacturer, produces their own line of finger tape as well. This tape is comes in .5″ (1.25cm) width rolls and even comes with its own carrying case for those who don’t like the idea of their tape rolling around at the bottom of their bag.

The consensus is their tape is sticks well and removes without leaving behind residue.

Summary

Finger taping can help slow an avid grip fighter’s descent into arthritis. But, it is important to note that finger taping should only be utilized as a method of support, and should not be expected to be a cure all. Think of tape as an equivalent in its use as headgear or knee pads. The best way to protect your hands is to allowing injuries time to heal and letting go of grips before your opponent forcibly removes them.

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