Boxing Equipment 101: What To Know Before You Buy

Whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned vet there are a couple things you may need to know before you make your purchase.

Handwraps

Ringside Handwraps

One of the most vital tools in a boxer’s arsenal are his hands. They must be protected at all costs. Handwraps are the most efficient method to holding all of the small bones of the hand in place and protecting them properly.

Traditional Handwraps consist of a cotton-weave fabric that breathes, yet provides a snug fit. Longer wraps, approximately 170″ – 180″ are best because they provide enough wrap to cover the hands, knuckles, and wrists without feeling cumbersome.

A Mexican-Style Handwrap is also available. It has a slight elasticity to it and usually runs in the 180″ range. Almost all wraps are made with a convenient Hook & Loop closure system to make self-wrapping easier. There are also smaller wraps available for junior boxers or women. Take a look here for instructions on wrapping your hands.

Gloves

Ringside Boxing GlovesThere are basically four types of gloves to choose from when you’re considering your purchase, and they are Fitness Gloves, Bag Gloves, Sparring Gloves and Competition Gloves.  Each has a distinct purpose and is designed for specialized performance.

Fitness Gloves are used by fitness enthusiasts and competitive boxers alike.  They are designed for use on the heavy bag, punch mitts, double-end bag, and they are perfect for shadowboxing.  They usually have a synthetic leather shell that makes them very easy to clean.  Molded foam padding provides comprehensive protection for the entire hand.  They can range in weight from 8 to 10 ounces.

Bag Gloves are used when training on a heavy bag, punch mitts, double-end bag and even when shadowboxing. They are generally constructed for advanced and competitive level users and built to withstand continual day-to-day use. A good bag glove provides a high degree of protection for a boxer’s hands and shields them from the constant pounding received during training. They can range in weight from 8 to 16 ounces.

Many boxers default to the heavier side of the weight spectrum so that cardiovascular endurance is increased and strength is gained in the arms. This, in turn, makes the gloves worn in competition seem lighter, enabling the boxer to throw quick, effective punches. Specially formulated molded foam padding provides better protection for the hands and more impact resistance for the joints, while maintaining a consistent feel throughout the life of the glove. Most bag gloves feature a hook & loop closure system for convenience and easy on/off capabilities.

Sparring Gloves include molded foam padding that is specifically formulated to absorb and disperse shock, so that the boxer can experience safe, productive sparring. Standard sparring gloves weigh 14, 16 or 18 ounces. The bigger the boxers, the heavier the gloves. Sparring gloves are available with hook & loop or lace-up closure.

The hook & loop design is popular for its convenience, but some of the more seasoned boxers like the snug, secure, custom fit of a lace-up closure. Preference and comfort are the determining factors. Although a sparring glove can be used for bag work, it is recommended that a boxer doesn’t use the same gloves to hit the bags and spar. A sparring glove has its own, unique purpose and using it for other facets of training undermines the integrity of the glove and it’s safety capabilities.

Competition Gloves are gloves used for sanctioned amateur and professional bouts. Amateur competition gloves have mandatory construction and material requirements. They consist of specially-formulated molded foam padding that provides optimum safety standards, and they are regulated by weight. Most professional boxing matches utilize 8 or 10 ounce gloves. Ringside’s variety of pro fight gloves protect the hand while allowing the boxer to deliver the most powerful punches possible.

Heavy Bags/Punching Bags

Ringside Heavy Punching Bag

There are several factors to consider when choosing a heavy bag. Is it going to be used for fitness purposes or competitive boxing? Where will the bag be used? How many people will be hitting it and how often? These are just a few of the questions that must be answered.
A Powerhide Heavy Bag is more than suitable for the general boxing practitioner. It’s very durable and will stand-up to consistent use. However, there is no substitute for the all leather heavy bag. The resilient leather shell is up to virtually any challenge and will withstand round after round of intensive punching.

In addition to the shell material, internal foam liners must also be taken into consideration. Regular filled bags consist of a 1” closed-cell foam liner. These bags are solid to the punch and hold their shape well. Soft filled heavy bags feature a thicker, 2” foam liner that is easier on the hands and joints, providing more give than a regular filled heavy bag.

Free-Standing Heavy Bags are another option and an ideal alternative to mounting a bag from rafters or ceiling joints. They provide the mass of a traditional, hanging bag but react differently when hit, which can add variety to a routine. They are also mobile, which provides the opportunity for a completely customizable workout area.

The size/weight of the heavy bag should be chosen that is closest to the boxer or group of boxers that will be using it. Although some boxers like their heavy bag to move while being hit, others don’t, so personal preference plays a significant role in the type of heavy bag preferred.

Speed Bags

Ringside Speed Punching Bag PlatformThe smaller the Speed Bag the faster the boxers hands and the more skilled he or she must be. Typically it’s good to start out with a larger bag and practice, practice, practice working down to the smallest size. The Speed Bag can be intimidating but is lots of fun and looks impressive when it’s finally mastered.

Double End Bags are similar to Speed Bags and follow the same rules (as far as sizes). The Double End Bag is a great, all-around bag for developing quick reflexes and elusive defensive skills. Speed Bags and Double End Bags are great for developing hand/eye coordination.

Punch Mitts

Ringside Punch MittsA coach’s best tool in teaching his protégé the art of self-defense can be the Punch Mitts. They’re the closest that a coach can get to providing his student with an opponent, without having to put on a headgear and gloves.

With Punch Mitts a coach can teach his boxer specific combinations, play out virtual ring scenarios, concentrate on his boxer’s strengths and work on his weaknesses.

The Punch Mitts are to a coach, what gloves are to a boxer so they have to be perfect. There are many distinctions between Punch Mitts. Choosing the right pair depends on a coach’s style and the boxer he’s working with. Lighter, more compact mitts are best to use with lighter weight boxers who have fast hands and throw multi punch combinations. Larger, thicker, more impact resistant mitts are easier on a coach who works with heavyweights. A lot of mitt work can be damaging to a coach’s joints if he doesn’t choose mitts that fit well and feel good to use.

The most important aspect to look for in a mitt is that it’s not only designed to be punched but is made with the coach in mind. Make sure that it’s been designed to reduce impact, provide a natural fit and protect the coach. Those are the main ingredients to a good punch mitt.

Last Word On Boxing Equipment

Choosing good boxing equipment is not based on any scientific equations or great insight into the sport. It’s not unlike purchasing running shoes, for instance. Looks, price, manufacturer, materials, durability are all factors, but ultimately what matters most is how it fits, feels and performs. Which is why we, at Ringside offer a 120-day return policy.

If you have any questions about specific items or would just like some feedback about what equipment you’re considering, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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