You’ve been to your first couple of classes and now you’re hooked. It’s time to for you to buy your own gear.
Some gyms have their own gear that you can use but it can pretty old and ratty and you’ll probably want to invest in your own as soon as possible. In this article, I’ll be going through all the gear you’ll need for your first few months of training.
UFC legend Sam Stout taught my first Kickboxing class and told my training partner and I that we should buy hand wraps as soon as possible. Sam fought in the UFC for nearly 10 years and knows a thing or two about throwing punches and protecting his hands and I took his advice and bought some wraps in time for my next class.
Hand wraps are the first thing you should purchase if you plan on hitting thai pads, focus mitts or heavy bags. There are 27 bones in your hand and hand wraps restrict the movement in your fist when you punch which ultimately prevents injury. Your hands also tend to sweat like crazy when they’re in gloves and wrapping them will absord a lot of that sweat. Hand wraps are also very cheap and usually cost between $5–$10.
Hand wraps come in two common lengths, 120" and 180" and what size you purchase will come down to personal preference. I started off using 120" because my hands are pretty small and I found them to be the perfect length. I’ve used 180" but I found them too bulky but I would recommend them if you have large hands and your gloves have a large hand compartment.
There’s cotton and nylon hand wraps, cotton hand wraps do not really stretch out during use while nylon wraps do stretch out a bit. The difference between wearing nylon and cotton wraps is pretty insignificant and both work well and are good options.
Lastly, hand wraps only work if you wrap your hands properly. I highly recommend checking YouTube tutorials on how to wrap your hands and practicing at home before you go to class.
I train at Adrenaline MMA and nearly all kickboxing and boxing classes start off with three rounds or ten minutes of skipping. I would definitely recommend skipping before class as a way to warm up, whether your gym requires you to or not. Skipping with a rope that is the wrong size is a total nightmare. Ropes are very cheap and I recommend that you buy your own.
There’s different styles that you can choose from, some have weighted handles or thicker ropes etc. I find that a cheap plastic rope for under $15 that fits you properly will do the job just fine and if eventually you want a more advanced rope, you can upgrade. There’s a great sizing guide you can use for reference here.
Boxing gloves are used for nearly all Muay Thai and Kickboxing training. Gloves vary in weight (80z to 16oz or more), materials (synthetic or leather) and in price ($30 to $400+). I’ve written articles on specific gloves before but in this article I’ll just keep to the basics.
First things first, be sure to buy boxing gloves and not MMA or novelty gloves. You’ll want gloves that weigh in between 10 ounces and 16 ounces. You should try on the gloves to make sure they feel comfortable and that the weight feels right for you. I have trained with 16, 14 and 10 ounce gloves and I prefer 10 ounce gloves but other people swear by wearing heavier gloves and it all comes down to personal preference. If you plan on sparring, you must own a pair of 16 ounce gloves, most gyms will not allow you to spar with anything lighter than that.
For your first pair of gloves, you should invest at least $50. $50 or more will get you a good pair of gloves that offer great protection and that will last you a long time.
Once you’ve bought your gloves, take care of them. After every class you should let your gloves air dry and wipe them down inside and out with disinfectant wipes.
Shin guards may or may not be necessary for the training that you do. If you do any type of sparring or you do contact drills, you’ll most likely need shin guards.
Although I currently do not spar, I purchased shin guards because our kickboxing classes require us to give and take a lot of leg kicks. There are weeks that go by where I’m not required to use them and other weeks where I use them every day. If you find yourself using your gym’s shin guards often or that your classes require them, they are pretty inexpensive and worth buying.
A decent pair of shin guards should go for around $50 or more. When buying shin guards, make sure that they offer good protection and that they are not too tight or too loose. If you tie your shin guards as tight as possible and they are sliding around your legs when using them, they are too big. Shin guards should fit snug to your leg and should not move when you’re sparring or going through drills.
Headgear / Mouth Guards
I do not currently spar and because of that, I don’t use any headgear and I don’t need a mouth guard. Our gym requires members to pass a fitness and practical test before you are able to spar and I’ve yet to try the test. Once I begin sparring, I will update this article.
Muay Thai / Kickboxing and martial arts equipment is pretty reasonably priced. For less than $200, you can purchase gloves, wraps, rope and shin guards.
When I first started, I bought a couple sets of hand wraps for $10 (Fight Monkey Thai wraps), Gloves for around $110 (Fairtex BGV1), a generic skipping rope for $10 and shinguards (Fairtex Pro-Style) for around $80. I spent just over $200 on my equipment and after months of training every day, my gear still looks brand new.
If you buy good quality gear and take proper care of it, it will last you years.