Do you have sore knuckles? Do you know the pros and cons of both boxing gloves and/or MMA gloves (fingerless)? In this post I will discuss both hand protection and the major differences between boxing and mma gloves.
To have the best experience at CKO you should always wrap your hands and wear gloves. Luckily it has only happened a handful of times but every once in a while we have had some people take off their gloves in the middle of class cause they think they are tough enough to punch the bag without gloves (usually wannabe tough guys). Striking the bag without gloves is just about the dumbest thing you can do, cause our hands are relativity delicate. Walk in to any Professional boxing or MMA gym and you will see every fighter wrapping hands and wearing gloves to strike the bag, and hit focus mitts, cause hand/wrist injuries, such as sprains and fractures, are all too common in combat sports. In fact Floyd “Money” Mayweather has broken/sprained his right hand so much that before everyone one of his fights, his hand durability is always “called in to question”. Let’s not forget that “Money” is probably the best pound for pound boxer that has ever lived, so if he can hurt his hand, so can you!
It is not just a question of perfect technique or doing the ancient hand strengthening techniques we saw in 80’s karate movies, it comes down to the fact that our hand and wrist contains 35 bones which is ideal for very fine motor skills and not very ideal for repeated slamming. Just like many professional combat sport athletes, in any given CKO class we easily punch the bag several hundred times in just one hour, so if the pros use hand protection, I think we should too!
Please don’t let this talk of injury scare you away from CKO kickboxing, with some knowledge and some preparation you can significantly reduce the likely hood of hand injuries. Most pro fighters hurt their hand during a fight not during training so if you take precautions the chances of you breaking your hand at CKO is basically zero. In fact we have not had any member break their hand, but we have had some sore knuckles and sore wrists. Here are 5 steps to protect your hands:
- Always wrap your hands!
- Wear/use good quality gloves. Just like anything else, glove quality matters, if you have become a CKO addict, make sure you are using quality gloves, and not just the “starter” bag gloves.
- Snap you punches like a whip, this helps minimize the amount of time your hand makes contact with the bag.
- When striking the bag use proper technique and don’t lose focus. If you need help with technique I recommend coming to class early and asking for another orientation or signup for a few mitt sessions. Focus mitt sessions really help with technique, are a lot of fun, and a great workout too!
- Don’t wait till you get injured. Our body is usually very good at giving us warning signs, so if your hands start to become sore take necessary action. As we will discuss later, MMA gloves don’t offer the best protection, so if your hands start to become sore, invest in a pair of 12-oz to 16-oz boxing gloves, get some knuckle guards which go under your wraps or get the new gel shock handwraps which is an all in one knuckle guard/handwrap combo. My recommendation would probably get the knuckle guards and wrap my hand as the gel shock handwrap maybe hard to wash (but I have never used them).
MMA Glove are usually put into 3 different categories – Bag gloves, Training and Competition.
- Bag Gloves – Usually have an grip bar for comfort and protection and contain added protection compared to competition gloves
- Training – No grip bar (better for grappling) and usually added protection compared to competition gloves.
- Competition – Very little protection, not practical for a fitness class.
The pros and cons of MMA gloves:
- More comfortable
- More appropriate for a fitness class – better for push-ups, water bottle, grabbing bag, towel, etc
- Improve technique – This is more out of necessity, because their is less protection so they force you to improve form.
- Washable (At least some are)
- Less protection compared to a boxing glove – bad striking form increases the chance of injury
- Not recommend for mitt sessions.
- Tighter fit makes it hard to use hand wraps or add knuckle protection
Boxing gloves are usually put into 3 different categories – Bag gloves, Training, and Competition.
- Bag Gloves – Usually lighter weight around 8oz to 12oz
- Training – Usually heavier weight 12oz to 18oz
- Competition – Usually have laces and are not recommended for a fitness class.
The pros and cons of boxing gloves:
- Provides lots of protection
- Loose fit allows for longer hand wraps, knuckle guards, etc
- Heavier 12oz to 18oz – A 16oz or 18oz glove makes your workout much harder. Over the course of a hour the added weight will surely be felt and this increases muscle, burns more calories, increases hand speed and punching power. Using heavier gloves creates a very different workout.
- Awkward for push-ups, water bottle, or other class related tasks
- Added protection can promote bad form – less feedback to your hand.
- Hard to keep clean – not washable
- Will eventually start to stink
My recommendation is to have both a pair of MMA fingerless gloves to be used most of the time and a pair of decent boxing glove to be used if hands are sore or if looking to change up your workout, improve hand speed and/or punching power. Also invest in added knuckle protection and make sure you always wrap you hands!
Most importantly – Please don’t be cheap when it comes to protecting your hands! I have seen way too many people go down to Big 5 or Sports Authority and buy Gel Wraps because they don’t want to spend $50 for a decent pair of gloves. First of all these are not even “bag gloves” they are “wraps” that you put inside your boxing glove, using these alone will not provide you the proper protection. Secondly our hand is a delicate instrument and should be treated as such, so please invest in the proper equipment, go train, and become a bad-ass.