Getting involved with Boxing also known as the ‘sweet science’ can be a life-changing experience. Not only does it provide you with a well-developed set of tools for self-defence, it can also prove to be an excellent way to keep fit. Hence why joining a boxing gym is a great decision.
Picking the right equipment is an essential part of the preparation to begin Boxing (almost as important as picking the right boxing gym). Just like any form of exercise, the right equipment can play an essential role in terms of keeping you and your training partners safe. With Boxing being a combat sport, it is essential that you take your safety seriously, no matter what level you are.
1 Boxing gloves
Wearing Boxing gloves is just as much for your safety as it is for those you train with. No boxing gym are likely to allow you to train without them. Your hands will be making contact with: heavy bags, pads and sparring partners on a regular basis often with quite some force. Keeping your hands as protected as possible will allow for multiple benefits: you will be able to train regularly without needing extended recovery times, if your technique is still in development the extra padding can be forgiving and the padding offers excellent defensive benefits.
Purchasing a quality pair of Boxing gloves will last you for quite some time, build quality should definitely be considered over design when picking your gloves. Although ‘gym’ gloves may be available to borrow when training at some gyms, we suggest purchasing your own and taking good care of them to keep them hygienic.
Different sizes for different needs
Boxing gloves come in varying weights, depending on the way in which you are most likely to use them. 16oz gloves are the go-to option if the majority of the time you’ll be working a heavy bag and if you want to be extra safe when it comes to protecting your hands (they also are an excellent way to build speed and stamina). 10oz gloves are an option if you’ll mostly be doing pads and light bag work. Although it may be tempting to go for a lighter pair, remember that your safety should be the primary deciding factor when purchasing a pair of gloves.
The following sports brands are known for creating some quality Boxing gloves: Everlast, Sanabul, Fairtex and Venum.
2 Hand wraps
The human hands are very delicate, able to break with little force on impact unless the person possessing them is well-versed in how to weaponize them. No matter how skilled you get, hand wraps are always a highly advisable part of preparing your hands for combat. A question that often comes up at our boxing gym is ‘how can wraps protect my hands?’, simply put when wrapped correctly, they keep your hand ‘together’. Your hand is made of many different bits and pieces which can lead to injury if they aren’t ‘one’ when making contact at force with an object such as a heavy bag or sparring partner.
It is a common misconception that Boxing gloves alone are enough to keep your hands protected when training/sparring. This is simply not the case, it is the combination of correctly wrapped hands and quality Boxing gloves that give you the support and safety you need to train with confidence.
How to wrap hands?
We suggest asking your coach before training begins or finding detailed videos online to learn how to wrap your hands. There is a specific way to do it, so ensure that you have learned how to do it and take the time to practise until it becomes second nature. It is your responsibility to keep your hands safe, rushing this stage can quite easily lead to you picking up injuries that will have you out of the gym for prolonged periods of time.
Check out Ben’s (TFC head coach) video on how wrap hands here
Although not a necessity outside of sparring, it is still an essential piece of equipment to have as a student of the art of Boxing. Gloves most definitely take off a significant amount of the damage you would otherwise receive from a bare knuckle punch. However, that doesn’t mean you should be comfortable sparring without a mouth guard. If you like your teeth, wear a mouthguard.
In the same way that we’ve suggested a quality pair of gloves to keep your hands safe, the same can be said for your mouthguard. You’ll be able to find budget options that don’t fit your mouth specifically, they’re a dangerous option. At the very least pick a mouthguard that allows for you to mould it to the mouth. The best case scenario would be to book in an appointment with your dentist to have them take the necessary measurements allowing for your teeth to be as protected as possible when in combat.
Double the benefits
Not only is a mouthguard essential for safety, it is also an excellent aid for getting that bit extra of a cardiovascular workout from your training. The restriction it puts on your respiratory system will have you working hard to get the same level of output you would be capable of without it in. There are many gyms that have students train with their mouthguards throughout training regardless of sparring taking place or not.
4 Head gear
Sparring plays an essential role in becoming a competent boxer. While you and your partner may be wearing considerable amounts of padding on your hands, it doesn’t mean that you should be taking any unnecessary blows to the head.
Especially when starting out, it is advised to wear head gear when sparring. In some gyms this is a requirement regardless of what level you are in the sport. This extra piece of equipment will ensure that you’re giving yourself the best chance of keeping any potential head injuries at bay.
Quality just like the other pieces of equipment we’ve listed is important. Especially when it comes to protecting your brain, don’t go cheap. You’re better off paying an extra few bucks allowing you to walk into the ring with confidence.
There is no replacement for skill
Nothing beats technique, as previously mentioned, wearing head gear isn’t a replacement for good head movement nor should it give you the confidence to just rush into dangerous situations.
5 Boxing shoes
Unlike Muay Thai, where you train and fight in bare feet, boxers tend to use boxing shoes.
There are a few reasons behind this.
Firstly, it provides additional support to your ankle than your standard pair of trainers. This is particularly important in a sport like Boxing, due to how the lower part of your body has to move on a consistent basis to keep you safe and provide optimal firepower. The additional support will allow you to throw punches with confidence.
Secondly, there is no heel with Boxing shoes. There are two reasons for this. On one hand, it provides the boxer with a more solid base, while on the other it allows for greater mobility.
Show your commitment
Boxing gyms tend be pretty particular about what they let you train in regarding footwear. Although some will allow you to wear standard trainers, it is better to invest in some Boxing shoes if you’re thinking of taking up the sport and training multiple times a week.
If you’re investing the time to come to training at a boxing gym, invest in your equipment to stay safe too. The benefits you will get from training Boxing will most definitely improve the quality of your life. However, if you begin picking up injuries due to carelessness it will mean an abrupt end to your journey into the ‘sweet science’. Becoming a good boxer is just as much about making intelligent decisions as it is speed and precision. Do your best to make them outside of the ring as well as inside.
Worried you might be too old to get started? We explain the realities here.