Boxing Equipment: Punch Bags
Boxing Equipment: Pads
Boxing Equipment: Headguards
Boxing Equipment: Handwraps
Boxing Equipment: Gumshields
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When looking to train at home or buy boxing equipment for your gym, there are a few essential products that most people like to buy. We have listed the most common of these below. Check out our guide below which includes hand wraps, head guards, gum shields, and punch bags.
Essential Boxing Equipment
Equipment: Hand wraps
Hand wraps are used to protect both the wrist and hand against injuries when punching. They keep the joints in perfect alignment while also adding strength to the soft tissue areas of the hand. This is achieved by wrapping the cloth around the wrist, palm, and base of the thumb.
Typical injuries caused by punching (fractures to metacarpal bones) can be avoided by using hand wraps. Furthermore, if a punch lands incorrectly, then the wrapping around the wrist can it it aligned, thus reducing the chance of a sprain.
The fact that hand wraps compress bones and tissues in the hand means that boxers can punch with much greater power than without them. This then offers the double benefit of providing protection while allow boxers to hit harder.
There are different methods to wrapping the hand, with some cornermen preferring to give extra support/padding to the knuckles, thumb, or wrist depending on the particular needs of their boxer. A common trait is to wrap between the figures, as this helps keep things in position and stops the cotton rising back over the hand.
It is typical in training to have re-usable cloth (often with velcro at the end), but this is rare for hand wraps used in a professional bouts. They will commonly be used once and then discarded.
An alternative to using the cotton version is the new, finger-less gel gloves. These are worn inside the boxing glove and are much quicker to put on than the traditional version. Opinions vary on how effective these are, with some people claiming that the cotton version still offers more protection.
Headguards are often worn by amateur boxers and have been seen in numerous Olympic games over the years. The general benefit of a headguard is that is protects the boxer against cuts and swelling. The common version most often seen is the ‘open-faced’ variety. Some versions can include extra padding to cover the cheek bones.
Today you will occasionally see a bar running across the front to the face to offer protection against blows to the nose. This is normally used by professional boxers in sparring when leading up to a fight and is not typically used in amateur contests. Visibility can be decreased with the addition of the ‘nose bar’.
These are pre-made in various sizes. The only real adjustment the boxer can make is to cut small pieces off for a better fit.
Mouth adapted gumshields
This style involves boxers boiling the gumshield to soften it and then placing it in their mouth. As it starts to harden it takes the shape of the boxer’s mouth. Very popular among amateurs and semi-professionals.
Custom made gumshields
The choice of the professional boxer. A dentist will take an impression of the mouth and then produce a mouthguard which offers greater protection and comfort than the two other versions listed above.
It is generally accepted that boxers of the past would use sponges, cotton or small pieces of wood as basic gumshields. Unsurprisingly, Those versions could only offer a very basic amount of protection. British dentist Woolf Krause is credited as being the ‘inventor’ of the boxing gumshield with his more practical version (made of rubber resin) being around as early as 1892. His son, Philip, went on to produce the the first re-usable boxing gumshield.
Perhaps not the first person to use it, but Ted “Kid” Lewis is credited as the first professional boxer to use Philip Krause’s re-usable gumshield. The bout in question was his 1921 contest against Jack Britton. Many believe that Krause himself used it in amateur contests prior to 1921.
Equipment: Punching Bag
Generally filled with air, they are suspended above the ground from a wall mounting. They are used to harness the speed of a boxers punches, but also focus on hand-to-eye coordination.
Various sizes are available for speed bags: Large 13×10″ & 12×9″; Medium 11×8″, 10×7″ & 9×6″; and Small 8×5″, 7×4″ & 6×4″
Larger bags move more slowly and require more force to make them swing. There is more focus here on power and coordination, whereas the smaller bags are destined to improve speed and coordination.
Swerve Balls / Floor-to-Ceiling Balls / Double-End Bags
These are similar in some respects to Speed Bags except that they are attached to the floor and ceiling by a cable. When they are struck then rebound towards the boxer. Obviously harder they are hit, the faster they travel back towards the boxer.
The main purpose of Swerve Balls are to practise ‘hit and move’ techniques. The boxers can develop movement, evasiveness, and punching from angels.
Maize Bags or Slip Bags
Typically these are actually filled with maize, hence the name. Unlike some of the other punching bags mentioned in this section, Maize Bags/Slip Bags are not struck with any great force. They swing in a pendulum motion, suspended from the ceiling, to improve head movement. A young Mike Tyson used to train religiously with one of these, and it was certainly evident in his elusive head movement.
Perhaps what most people think of when they hear the words ‘boxing bag’ or ‘punch bag’. The emphasis here is not about improving technique, although that could be practised, but the main aim is to improve power. Who can forget the classic footage of a 1970’s George Foreman hitting a heavy bag and seeing it bend in the middle.
Circular in shape and typically hung from the ceiling, they are often used to perfect body shots. Almost every boxing gym will have at least one of these.
Freestanding Heavy Bags
Very similar to the Heavy Bag mentioned above, the main difference being that they are not hung from the ceiling. Typically the base is filled with sand or water to secure it in place.
This form of Heavy Bag is particularly popular among people wish to train in their house, as they don’t have to worry about attaching brackets to their ceiling. MMA fighters have also been known to favour this style of bag as they can be knocked over, thus allowing ‘ground and pound’ to be practised.
This type of boxing bag has become quite popular recently, and is a relatively new to the range of boxing equipment available.
In shape they are larger at the top and narrow towards the bottom (some even have an exaggerated ‘mushroom’ shape), with them usually being hung from the ceiling. Due to their shape, they are great for practising a range of different punches: uppercuts, jabs, and hooks.
A good item to have just for the variety of punches that can be perfected with only one bag.
A Wall Bag
This type of boxing bag can also be used for uppercut and hook training, but will be attached to the wall rather than hung from the ceiling.
Body Opponent Bag
This is another new addition you may see in some gyms. They modelled to look like the head and torso of an opponent, giving you an object that actually resembles your opponent. These will be mounted on a pedestal, which in itself will be filled with sand or water to avoid them moving too much upon strikes. Additionally, they are made of synthetic materials and should only be struck while wearing a glove as you would do with the other bags listed above.