What Kit do I Need to Start Boxing?
Boxing is a fantastic way to keep yourself in shape and one of the few sports that can be easily practised alone, with a friend or as part of a larger group. But, just like any other activity, it’s essential that you get hold of the right kit before starting out, such as a mouthguard, hand wraps and boxing gloves - and here we’re going to tell you why.
What are the essentials needed to start Boxing?
There’s definitely a number of must-haves when it comes to boxing, those accessories that you should never walk into a session without if you want to keep everything in working order. The good thing is these little pieces of kit are cheap, affordable and really easy to get hold of. So what are they?
Although there are a few things that might be provided for you in the early stages of joining a boxing gym or boxercise class, a mouthguard is not one of them, and you should never practice boxing without one. Made to protect your gums, teeth and reduce the risk of mouth lacerations, mouthguards must be tailored to the shape of an individual’s teeth to maximise protection.
If you're buying a standard mouthpiece, you will need to boil up some water and let the mouthguard soak for the time noted on the instructions provided. When the time is up, remove the mouthguard and run it under cold water for two seconds then place it into your mouth. You must then bite down lightly and press the mouthpiece around your gums with your fingers. Once complete you have your own personal mouthguard, tailored for your training needs.
If there is one area of the body that is more prone to injury than any other in boxing, it's your hands and wrists. Whether you're punching a bag, pads, or an opponent, your hands are constantly the impacted, so it's important to have something in place to eliminate the risk of bone fractures. This is where Hand wraps come in.
Hand wraps are similar to a thin bandage and wrap around your wrists and knuckles to support weight at the point of impact. They come in various lengths depending on the size of your hands and are worn under your gloves during any session that involves punching. In general, most boxers will apply hand wraps prior to any session, whether they're skipping, doing circuits or simply shadow boxing, just to stay in good habits. There is, however, a specific way to apply wraps, which is easy to learn and important to get to grips with from the get-go.
A good pair of gloves is essential if you want to box, and with so many different weights, constructions and price points it can be easy to get a little lost when starting out, and end up lumbered with a pair of gloves that aren't right for you. Boxing gloves are there to further protect your hands for impact whilst also lessening the damage to your opponent at fight level.
When choosing a pair you need to consider two things - whether or not you will be sparring (full contact training), and your weight. To make things a little easier, we've put together a boxing glove comparison chart (below), so that you get the right type of gloves for your size and weight. In general, the heavier you are, the bigger gloves you will need to protect your hands from a more intense impact. Boxing gloves are generally weighed in ounces.
Choosing the correct Boxing gloves
Weight Person Glove
What extra kit might you need?
As well as the three essentials to get you started, there are also a couple of other items that will help out at the beginning depending on the type of training that you're going for. So whether you're looking to train from home or eventually get into full contact sparring, these items could help you on the way.
If you're going to spar on a regular basis then investing in your own head guard is wise. Yes, boxing clubs up and down the country provide this type of kit, but it can get overused and leave you exposed, so buying your own, that fits your head perfectly is a step in the right direction.
Headguards are there to cushion the impact when involved in a full-contact situation with an adversary. It's imperative that your head guard doesn't impede your vision (for oncoming headshots) and fits snuggly on your head. A loose head guard risks causing injury and losing sight of your opponent. Ann overly tight head guard can restrict blood flow and ultimately affect your alertness and overall performance.
You'll know when you have a good head guard when you start to forget you're even wearing it. Always try them on in the shop and walk around for 10 or 15 minutes if possible to ensure it stays comfortable when in place.
Now, a lot of people starting out in boxing can definitely get away with a pair of normal trainers or runners, so long as you can remain nimble on your feet. If you do catch the boxing bug after a while and want to start working out at the next level, and train more effectively at home or in the gym, grab a pair of boxing boots.
Attack and defence in boxing pretty much starts and ends with your feet as you move in and out of striking distance. Directional changes and balance are a huge part of the sport, and the risk of rolling your ankle is an ever present danger.
Boxing boots are not only light with a good grip for both hard and soft surfaces, but they also lace up to the lower part of your leg, helping keep your ankles supported and in the right position. Like hand wraps, many boxers will put their boots as soon as they enter the gym doors, although proper trainers should be used for any long-distance runs pre-workout.
A big step for any aspiring boxer is to get a punching bag hung up in the garage or spare room so that you can get some rounds in at home. This is a highly practical way to train for those who work odd hours and can't always make it to classes.
Before grabbing the first bag you come across you'll want to keep in mind a few things so that you get the best out of your purchase. Will you be using the bag solely for western boxing (hands only) or would you like to eventually practice kickboxing, muay Thai or MMA that involve using your legs and knees to strike.
If it is just straight-up western boxing then you will be better off with something like a PB 850 Punching Bag or PB 1000 Punch Bag, bags with a bit of weight that represent the upper torso of an opponent. If you want to eventually start using your legs, then a longer bag like the PB 1500 Leather Bag, or a Tilting Bag will keep you right. Like this, you can practice your punches, along with knees in both low and high range.
Walk into any boxing gym up and down the country and most training sessions will start with either a light run before skipping or vice versa. An adjustable skipping rope is super cheap, great to get your heart rate up before any type of session, easy to store, and best of all, you can use it anywhere.
It's also a great way to get your wrist and ankle muscles in shape and build those all-important calf muscles, as good boxers spend a lot of time on their toes. Having your own tope that you become accustomed to, adjusting the length to suit your height, will result in longer more sustained skipping and better overall fitness.
If the chord is too long or too short a skipping experience can quickly turn into a frustrating one. They come in both rope and leash form, the latter being more prevalently used by the boxing community thanks to durability over time.