The First Step in Hand Protection for Boxing

Have you ever twisted an ankle, jammed a finger or pulled a muscle? It could ruin your day. Most of us have experienced some type of minor physical ailment that has hindered us from going about our normal daily routine. Regularly simple tasks like brushing your teeth, walking-up stairs or putting on a shirt become a battle, plagued with pain and frustration.

Unfortunately, the only time we really appreciate being injury free is when we’re injured. Otherwise, the numerous tasks our bodies perform behind the scenes with every, single movement are taken for granted.

Boxing Injuries

As a boxer, you can’t afford to take things for granted, especially as it relates to your hands. Like a teacher’s textbook, an artist’s paintbrush or tap dancer’s shoes, your hands are indispensable tools of the trade. Injuring a hand means being sidelined and losing valuable progress.

I know from first-hand experience how debilitating a hand injury can be. I participated in the sport for many years, and over time, if you’re serious about it, working out and competing becomes routine. It becomes ingrained in who you are. A hand injury can be an exasperating situation. Injuries occur. It’s a part of life. But if you can reduce the chances, doesn’t it make sense to take preventative steps?

Protective Measures With hand wraps

So what’s the first step to ensure that your hands are the most protected each and every time you hit the gym? The answer is hand wraps. Hand wraps support the wrist, thumb and knuckles, and help keep the 27 bones of the hand and wrist aligned and compressed to prevent injury.

There are many different types of hand wraps, and the style you choose depends on personal preference. They are available in a variety of materials, including traditional, Mexican-style, gel, gauze/tape, as well as lengths, such as 120”, 170”, 180”, 200” and even 210”.

Types of boxing hand wraps

Traditional hand wraps are usually thicker and made of herringbone weave cotton.  Mexican-style hand wraps (the most popular style of hand wrap) are made of a slightly elastic material that molds to the curves of the fist. Gel hand wraps include a layer of shock absorbing gel over the knuckle area, encased in neoprene, and some include an additional hand wrap portion to further secure the gel in place and support the rest of the hand. Gauze is made of cotton/nylon blend material and is paired with trainer’s tape for added support. Gauze/tape is usually used for competition. More details on available options can be found here, and basic instructions on how to wrap your hands can be found here.

hand wrap from ringside

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or striving to win your next bout, remember to protect your hands and don’t take them for granted.

About the author

Albert is a retired boxer and long time Ringside team member. He was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team (Atlanta, GA) and former member of USA Boxing’s Board of Directors. Albert is a three time USA Boxing National Champion, as well as the 1992 National P.A.L. Champion. He also medaled in the 1993 World Championships, 1994 Goodwill Games and 1995 Pan-American Games. Albert continues to share his extensive boxing knowledge by coaching, blogging and assisting with tournament administration at events supported by Ringside.

The Boxing Coach’s Equipment Checklist

As a coach, it’s your responsibility to properly lead your athlete into competition. He should be both physically and mentally fit, posses the necessary boxing skill, and have the tools necessary to perform his best.

There are many supplies a coach must have to make this possible. As a result, we have developed a checklist of coaching essentials.

Ringside Coaching Equipment

No-Swell – a must have when your boxer sustains bumps and bruises. It’s important to keep it immersed in ice so that it is as cold as possible.

Spare Mouthpiece – it’s always good to have an extra mouthpiece on hand for any unforeseen occurrences. It should be form fitted to your mouth so that it will be more comfortable and won’t come out as easily.

Vaseline – used to rub on a boxer’s face to keep the skin moist.

Ice Bag – helps keep any swelling down and cool the boxer off.

Cornerman’s Towel – to wipe the boxer clean of any sweat or blood.

Gauze – Should securely support the hand. Length, width, and material should conform to event regulations.

Trainer’s Tape – used to secure shoe and glove laces, as well as add further security to the handwrap.

Scissors – to cut wraps, tape, etc.

Punch Mitts – used to help warm-up the boxer prior to competition.

Water Bottle – used to easily administer water in the corner.

Ring Bucket – used when a boxer rinses his mouth and to catch the water used in the corner.

With this list, you can be sure that you and your boxer are both prepared to fight!

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!

Ringside’s Boxing Equipment Checklist

Leading up to competition, it’s important to have a calm, focused mindset. Being sure that you have all your equipment before you leave for the event will give you one less thing to worry about.

As a result, we have developed a checklist of competition essentials:

Ringside Boxing

Headgear (amateurs only) – Your Headgear should be competition approved and properly fitted before you arrive at the event location.

Mouth Guard – It should be form fitted to your mouth so that it will be more comfortable and won’t come out as easily.

Hand Wraps – Should securely support the hand. Length, width, and material should conform to event regulations.

Bag Gloves – A necessity for pre-event workouts.

No-Foul Protector – It should be fitted properly and not hinder movement.

Boxing Jersey (amateurs only) - Should fit properly and adhere to event regulations.

Boxing Trunks – Should fit properly and adhere to event regulations.

Boxing Shoes – Should be broken in and comfortable.

Gym Bag – Should be large enough to fit all your equipment and allow easy access.

Using this checklist, you can double check that you have everything you need before you leave for your big match.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Anatomy of a Glove

That’s right – the Ringside Blog is back!  Starting right now, we’re going to be bringing you some great resources and posts about everything in boxing.  We’re even looking to work with other big boxing bloggers from across the internet, so keep your eye on this space!

Among the many things we take very seriously here at Ringside is educating the public on the variety of choices they face when purchasing boxing equipment.  No matter what your boxing goal is, the right gear is waiting for you.  We start with boxing gloves.  Just take a look at this handy infographic and get to shopping!

The Anatomy of a Glove

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2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp- Week 9

There’s less than two weeks before the first bell rings at the 2012 Ringside World Championships.  On August 1st, competition in the largest amateur boxing tournament in the world will get underway and with it, the celebration of all your hard work, determination and sacrifice.

You’ve been in camp for two months, and the prize is within sight.  The key now, in the

2012 Ringside World Championships

days leading-up to the big show, is fine-tuning and rest.  The objective of this part of camp is to maintain your conditioning and recover from the taxing workouts that constituted previous weeks of training.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 9 of your training camp.

Diet

Eat smart.  Eat Healthy.  You’re going to need all the energy you can muster for the upcoming competition, so don’t get off track now.  Continue to fuel your body properly.  At this point, you should be on or very near your competition weight.  This will give your body plenty of time to acclimate, and you won’t have to worry about making weight at the event.  This will allow you to concentrate on your opponent, not the scale.

Roadwork 

Continue your routine by jogging four miles, five to six days per week, at a nice, steady pace.  Feel free to throw in a few sprints here and there, but not as hard or consistently as you were in previous weeks.  Remember, the goal of this part of camp is to maintain and recover.

Gym Workout

Just like you did at the beginning of camp, insure that your fundamentals are solid in these weeks leading-up to the tournament.  Continue to work your obligatory four rounds at each station (heavy bag, shadow boxing, jump rope, mitts, etc.) at a consistent pace.  Incorporate your final two to three sessions of sparring into these remaining weeks to insure that your timing, distance and reflexes all primed for competition.

The difficult part of camp is over.  You’ve done it, but training isn’t over just yet.  Take this time to insure your fundamentals are solid, your technique is on point and your mindset is positive.  Maintain and recover.

If you missed Week 1, Week 3, Week 5 or Week 7 of training camp, click here.

 

-Never.Stop.Training.-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 7

T minus three weeks and counting until the first punch is thrown at the 2012 Ringside

2012 Ringside World Championships

World Championships in Kansas City.  Your victory is earned in the weeks and months leading up to the event.  It’s what you do NOW that insures a great performance then.

The tournament itself is the culmination of all the effort you’ve invested, all the hours in the gym, all the punches thrown, all the miles logged on the track.  It is where you showcase the skill you’ve developed and the conditioning you’ve built.  It’s a time for celebration.

To get there, it’s important that you stay focused and dedicated during the final weeks of camp.  During these next two weeks, specifically, we will make an all-out, final push in our preparations.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 7 of your training camp.

Diet

Continue to fuel your body with a healthy diet, the benefits of which are numerous.  It will give you the power to fight through these remaining weeks of camp, which means you’ll be in better shape for competition and more energized during the bouts.  It will also help you reach and/or maintain your competition weight more efficiently.  This can’t be stressed enough – don’t wait until the last minute to cut weight!  Preferably, you should be at your competition weight a week before the tournament.

Roadwork

At this point, you should be consistently running at least four miles, five to six days per week.  Your pace should be brisk and challenging.  Continue incorporating sprints or intervals into your routine.  During your bout there will be times of high and low output, relatively speaking, so your roadwork should mimic this pattern.

As an option, you can try alternating between distance and interval runs.  One day, run for your obligatory four miles, and the next day, perform an interval routine where you focus on giving spurts of 100% output.

Gym Workout

Your gym workouts should be intense and taxing.  Give it all you got, and leave it all in the

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero

gym.  Work at least four, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, mitts, speed bag, heavy bag, etc.).  While you’re training, picture yourself in the ring, at the tournament, with your opponent in front of you.  Imagine various situations and your reactions to them.  Having rehearsed the scenarios in your head, during training, you will be better prepared when the time comes to perform.

You should be consistently sparring two times per week for three to four, three minute rounds.  You can even incorporate a mock-bout by staging an actual competition match in your gym.  Have your coach wrap your hands with gauze and tape, just like he will at the tournament.  Wear your uniform, have your coach be the referee and sit between rounds.  The objective of this exercise is to get better accustomed to the atmosphere of an actual competitive match.

If you missed the tips from Week 1, Week 3 or Week 5, click here.

-Never.Stop.Training-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 5

You’ve committed an entire month of training to the 2012 Ringside World

2012 Ringside World Championships

Championships,and there’s no turning back now.  With the big dance only five weeks away, you’re about half way through camp, and it’s time to raise the bar even further.

By now, you should be in a set routine that incorporates a healthy diet, training and rest.  Establishing the regimen was the hard part.  With momentum now on your side, you’re on a path that leads directly to Kansas City and an outstanding performance.

You’ve put in the work and laid a strong foundation.  It’s now time to build on that and push your body even further.  Stepping into the boxing ring to compete can be one of the most strenuous, nerve-racking and physically taxing experiences anyone can go through (and consequently, one of the most rewarding).  It’s essential that you’re as prepared as possible when the time comes, so push your mind and body now to insure you’re ready.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 5 of your training camp:

Diet

Continue your healthy diet.  Avoid the temptations of junk food and fuel your body with nothing but the best.  It will show in your workouts and ultimately, in your performance.  We’re about half way through training camp, so if you’re trimming down for the tournament, you should be half way to your competition weight.  Don’t wait until the last minute to lose weight!  It will damper the experience and negatively affect your performance.

Roadwork

You should be consistently logging 3 – 4 miles, at least five days per week and at a healthy pace.  It’s now time to incorporate sprints.

Boxing matches aren’t static.  There is an ebb and flow to them, times of heated activity, as in the middle of an exchange, and times of lesser action, as you search for an opening.  The roadwork you perform should mirror the output required in the ring.  There is a wide variety of sprint routine options, so you should integrate the one that works best for you.  However, a good place to start would be to incorporate 20 – 30 second sprints, every couple of minutes, as you take your daily jog.  With time, you’ll find that you will be able to invest a greater amount of energy during the bursts and recover faster.

Gym Workout

Your gym workouts should be all about intensity.  Perform four, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, mitts, etc.), and concentrate on the intensity of each round.  Push yourself.  Remember that your eventual opponent is training too, maybe at the exact same time you are.  It’s up to you to train harder, sacrifice greater and focus more intently than him.  It will be worth it in the end.

Sparring should also commence now.  One to two times per week for three, three-minute

Sparring should be a learning experience.

rounds will be sufficient.  Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be fighting for your life when you spar.  It should be a learning experience.  Enter the session knowing what you want to practice and heed your coach’s instructions.  Eventually, your skill, timing, reaction speed and distance will improve.  For more information on sparring, check out John Brown’s Principles of Proper Sparring DVD.

If you missed the tips from Week 1 or Week 3, click here.

-Never. Stop. Training-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 3

Two weeks have gone by since you made the choice to compete in the 2012 Ringside

2012 Ringside World Championships

World Championships.  This, in of itself, was a major decision, so congratulations.  You’ve cleared the first hurdle. 

As outlined in Week 1 of camp, you should have spent the last two weeks building a foundation on which to grow and improve.  Your regular workouts should now have you in a routine, a set pattern that you can continue all the way up to the day you arrive in Kansas City.  The key is consistency. 

At this stage, as you begin to increase the intensity of your workouts, it’s natural to question yourself, to lose focus and ponder whether or not all the work is worth it.  When you feel these emotions creeping up on you, step back and bring to mind your end goal, to valiantly compete in a world amateur boxing tournament, the biggest in the world. 

Remember that in less than eight weeks, you will be stepping into the ring and looking into the eyes of your opponent.  Remember that the work you put in NOW, the harder you push yourself NOW, the more prepared you will be when that day comes.  In the end, it will all be worth it.

With two weeks of training behind you, you should now start to feel some of the results.  Let’s build on that as we enter Week 3.

Diet

Continue to eat healthy.  This effort, coupled with the regular workouts, should be enough for you to start shedding the pounds.  Pace yourself so that you are on weight a week before the tournament.  This will give you adequate time to acclimate, so that you have plenty of energy for your bout.

Roadwork

It’s time to start picking-up the pace.  Push yourself so that you’re jogging a little faster.

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero

Begin adding distance incrementally so that you’re consistently jogging 3 – 4 miles, instead of 2 – 3 miles.  In the coming weeks, sprints will be incorporated into your roadwork routine, so it’s important that you’re ready for this next step. 

For the most benefit, you should consider your roadwork a separate workout, performed separately from your gym workout.  It’s a lot to ask of your body to run then hit the gym or vice versa.  Roadwork is traditionally done in the morning and gym workouts in the afternoon or evening.  However, if this doesn’t fit into your schedule, just be sure to allow as much time as possible between workouts so that your body can recover.

Gym Workout

Like your roadwork, it’s important that you start picking up the pace in the gym as well. 

Perform 3 – 4, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, speed bag, mitts, jump rope, etc.).  Try to throw more punches, on the average, than you did in the first two weeks of camp.  You can even go so far as to have someone count your punches, so that you know exactly how you’re progressing.  Always remember that the effort you put in now is directly related to how you will perform at the tournament.  So punch hard and punch often.

Sparring will be incorporated into your regimen in the coming weeks, and you have to make sure you’re ready for it.  Sparring should be used to improve your technical skills, not get in shape.  That’s done beforehand, now.

Continue your progression with more reps of sit-ups and neck exercises.  Make it burn.  You won’t regret it.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to each individual athlete, these general tips will help you be ready for the 2012 Ringside World Championships.

 If you missed the tips from Week 1 of training camp, click here.

-Never.Stop.Training.-

Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 1

The 2012 Ringside World Championships is only two months away, and it’s imperative that preparations begin early.

The first order of business is simply to make the decision to participate.  At first glance, it

2012 Ringside World Championships

would appear to be a fairly easy question to answer, but in reality, it’s a very important choice to make.  It’s a goal, a commitment you’ll be making to yourself that will directly affect the next two months of your life.

If you’re willing and choose to accept the challenge, then I congratulate you and assure you that it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.  A significant portion of the challenge is mental, and since you are now armed with the necessary psychological fortitude and determination, you’re already half way to the finish line.

Now to tackle the other half.  With an expected 1,400 athletes at this year’s tournament,

Where Victories Are Earned

there will be no shortage of competition, and each athlete will be striving for the same objective – a world championship.  The victory is earned with the work you log in the weeks leading-up to the tournament, in the sacrifices you make now.  The sport of boxing doesn’t allow for last minute cramming. 

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 1 of your training camp:

  • Diet
    • Waiting until the last minute to lose weight is ineffective and dangerous, so don’t do it.  Begin eating healthier now.  This, combined with the increase in training, will help you lose any excess weight more gradually.
  • Roadwork
    • Start laying the foundation for the harder running routines that will come in the following weeks by running 2 -3 miles, at least five days a week.
  • Gym Workout
    • Experienced and novice boxers alike should take the time to insure that their fundamentals are solid.  This will decrease the chance of bad habits forming as workouts increase in intensity.
    • Perform three, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, speed bag, jump rope, etc.).  At this point, intensity should be moderate.  The goal of these early days is to get the body back into a routine and to lay the foundation for what’s to come.
    • Start doing sit-ups and neck exercises to strengthen these important parts of the body.

Like building blocks, it’s important to lay a strong foundation for the camp, and by incorporating these components into Week 1 of training, you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come. 

-Never.Stop.Training.-