...and my bench has never felt better!
I've been using wrist wraps ever since I first got introduced to lifting (so for about ~5 years now!). In 5 years, this is the first time I actually stepped back to evaluate how and why I use them. It's funny because I consider myself a "critical thinker" in most aspects of my life: academia, spirituality/morality, my career, and even when it comes to lifting (in the programming sense). However, there are some really fundamental basic assumptions that I started this lifting journey with that somehow escaped my regular "life audits".
This whole idea of universal truths or principles is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and it's something I have to keep coming back to. Very often (I believe), we'll step back, examine our assumptions/truths, evaluate, come to a conclusion (sometimes the same one sometimes a different one) and then move forward. However, we're just swapping one truth for another. Assumptions, principles, and truths are a necessary part of what it means to be human-- so I'm not saying we should ditch them. I just think it's easy to go into autopilot sometimes and forget that your current belief system is built on a number of assumptions that deserve evaluation as we grow, learn, and are continually exposed to different inputs.
So back to the wrist wraps... I always assumed wrist wraps = stronger bench. However, recently a colleague/fellow lifter was watching me bench a few months ago and asked if I had ever tried benching without wraps. My automatic response was, "not really, maybe on warm ups but I always put them on for higher rep or heavier sets-- I'm more stable that way".
However, that belief didn't match up with reality. I was having trouble holding the bar in the optimal position, and was continually having issues with stabilization throughout the bench. My wrist and elbow position have always been a struggle to control when sets got difficult. He suggested trying to go without wrist wraps, at least for sets where it felt manageable.
Since then, I haven't used wrist wraps on bench. Not out of any new dogmatic belief that "wrist wraps are bad or make me weak". Simply from some new things I learned through experimenting and picking apart that initial assumption.
The TLDR; I stopped using wrist wraps, and my bench got better!
Dont' be afraid to question your assumptions, you never know what you may learn or what progress you may be missing out on.