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Kickboxing is one of the most popular martial arts globally, with millions of practitioners and numerous different styles. Be that as it may, you’ll need practically the same equipment regardless of which style your choose to practice.
It is imperative to have all the equipment you need to perform at practice and in matches. It provides you with safety and allows you to develop your skills to the fullest capacity. Also, some of the equipment is crucial for your opponent’s safety too.
We’ll go through all the key equipment pieces you’ll need for your Kickboxing training. We’ll start with body equipment from most to least important and continue with other stuff you’ll need for practice. You can find most of the practice equipment in your Kickboxing gym. But, it’s always great to have your personal items to train individually outside of your gym.
Kickboxing uses the same gloves as boxing. The gloves have thick and tie around the wrist. The index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky are joined, while the thumb has its own compartment.
The weight of the gloves depends on the rules in which the contestants are competing in. Most commonly, the fighters wear 8 oz gloves in the featherweight and lower categories, while lightweight and heavier category fighters wear 10 oz gloves. There are also 12-16 oz gloves and higher, typically used for training purposes.
It can vary from competition to competition, and fighters can sometimes agree on a custom size, too. Both fighters must have the same size gloves to ensure identical conditions. Lighter gloves have a higher impact force due to having less padding. So, the thicker and heavier the gloves are, the lower the power is behind strikes.
It is hard to overstate the importance of suitable gloves in Kickboxing. Most of the strikes are delivered with maximum power and would be quite dangerous to use without gloves. Not only would that be dangerous for the opponent, but you as well. It protects the opponent from severe cuts and blunt force trauma, while it also protects you from damaging your knuckles, wrists, hand bones, and fingers.
If you’re unsure which gloves to choose for yourself, we have a few suggestions for you with which you can’t go wrong. Venum Challenger 2.0 gloves are trendy for their outstanding quality/price ratio. Many professional fighters use Venum gloves, and the Challenger 2.0 gloves are great for beginners and training purposes. They are made out of high-quality leather and are incredibly durable, which is great for high-intensity training, sparring, etc. You can check the price on Amazon.
Hand Wraps (Bandages)
If gloves are crucial for the safety of your opponent, hand wraps – commonly known as bandages – are the most vital part of equipment for the protection of your wrists, hands, and knuckles.
A hand wrap looks similar to a medical bandage and is put on quite similarly. You wrap it around your wrist, hand, and the lower part of your forearm to ensure stability and protection for your wrist.
Powerful punches can cause your wrists to twist and get seriously injured. Even worse, the small bones in your hand may crack in that situation, which is even more challenging to heal. Do not even think about putting on your gloves without having bandages under them.
If you don’t know how to tie them properly or are still a beginner and have difficulty doing it, use models with a thumb strap to help you get started with wrapping, like Everlast Professional wraps, etc. One other great model to check out for training and sparring purposes is the Venum Boxing Hand Wraps, among others.
Competition wraps are made out of gauze and tape, and there is an exact prescribed amount that’s allowed to use. But, they aren’t reusable, so the wrapping method is a bit different. That’s why they aren’t commonly used in training, too.
Mouthguards are used in almost every martial art that includes fighting competitions, even if they aren’t full-contact. Even Karate practitioners must use mouthguards, even though it is a light-contact, point fighting sport.
It wasn’t that simple to find a mouthguard that fits perfectly, but that has changed with the development of boil-and-bite mouthguards. You put the product in hot water, and when it heats up, you take it out and bite into it. It makes a perfect mold for your teeth so that the mouthguard will be perfect for you.
There are many benefits and reasons why you should wear a mouthguard in Kickboxing, Karate, or any other martial art practice, especially if you’re planning on participating in sparring and competition.
First of all, your teeth will be protected from powerful impacts. A mouthguard distributes the force of every strike around your mouth and protects the teeth, preventing chips or your teeth from getting knocked out.
Secondly, it protects your jaw and surrounding tissue as well as it protects the teeth. The distribution of force helps to prevent dislocation and keeps all the joints in the right place.
The soft tissue in your mouth, such as your cheeks and tongue, will also be protected. A strike can cause your teeth to injure that soft tissue by biting or cutting, but a mouthguard will effectively prevent that.
As we mentioned, most of the models nowadays are made with boil-and-bite technology, so you don’t have to worry about the mouthguard fitting. Just make sure you get this kind of a model. Some of the most popular models for martial artists and other sportspeople in any contact sports are the Venum Challenger, SAFEJAWZ Slim Fit, and Shock Doctor Pro.
All three are boil-and-bite guards that guarantee a perfect fit. The difference between them is in shape, density, and size. The SAFEJAWZ mouthguard is the slimmest out of the three, so it gives you a bit more breathing room than the others. But, a slimmer mouthguard usually means less shock distribution. It’s all about finding the perfect option for you personally.
Shorts & Groin guard
We’re not going to spend too much time on the shorts, as every fighter has their preferable option in that department. Some fighters like to wear looser shorts; others find them disrupting when using leg techniques. Some love the models with the legs cut on the sides for extra comfort, while others enjoy the compression shorts for practice and competition.
In the end, it will come down to what you prefer and feel the most comfortable in. Most organizations and promotions (both amateur and professional) allow only shorts as your choice of clothes wear. However, some organizations and specific competitions will enable you to wear training pants in battle, such as some WAKO competitions, etc.
As for the groin guard, it’s a crucial part of your Kickboxing equipment regardless of if you are a beginner or a professional, male or female. Although groin strikes are strictly prohibited in Kickboxing, a high frequency of low kicks and middle kicks are the main reasons why unintentional groin shots tend to happen quite often.
Also, Kickboxing strikes are almost always mighty, which means the shots delivered to the groin area can cause severe injuries. That means you should be careful and wear a groin guard if you’re doing any sparring, let alone a match. Even Karate and BJJ practitioners use groin guards, even though Karate is a light-contact sport, and BJJ involves no striking.
To determine what groin guard fits you the best, you should know what types of groin guards are available. Most male groin guards are cup-based, while female guards are usually flat with extra padding around the most sensitive areas. A groin guard’s goal is to distribute the blow’s force and amortize it so you feel the minimal impact.
First, the most common combination is the cup + compression shorts. These groin guards give you comfort and a lot of flexibility and enable you to move without interruptions. The cups come in various sizes and are carefully designed to fit and cover the entire groin area. The compression shorts usually have a special “pocket” where the cup fits to avoid moving around.
The best pick you can make if choosing this type of a groin guard is the Diamond MMA groin guard (here is our review of Diamond MMA cup). The cup’s unique design provides the best amortization of impact and protects you from even the hardest blows. It is a bit more pricy than some similar models, but it’s worth every penny. Another great option is the Shock Doctor Supporter + AirCore Hard Cup. It works on the same principle but is a bit more affordable.
The second type of cup-based groin guards is the jockstrap + cup system. They are basically the same thing, but instead of compression shorts, you’ll have a jockstrap that goes around your waist. You usually put it on like underwear. It’s also a great choice, but a bit less durable than the shorts system.
If you’re looking for a great model of this type, you can try out the lobloo 2.0 patented cup. It has incredible results when it comes to protection. The only setback is that the cup is somewhat small, so it might not fit every man. RDX Groin Protector is also a great alternative with excellent performance and comfort results but provides a bit less protection than other models.
Finally, there are classic groin guards with a lot of padding instead of a cup. They can be worn inside or outside of your shorts and will give you great protection against groin injuries. However, the biggest drawback is their size.
The padding makes them a lot bigger, making them problematic in combat because they somewhat limit your movement – not drastically, but more so than cup-based systems. However, if you can find one that fits you perfectly, it can be incredible for practice and sparring purposes.
Kickboxing shin guards are used firstly in training, but some amateur competitions require them as well. Most leg strikes in Kickboxing are not performed with your foot like in Taekwondo or Karate, but with your shins. It can be extremely dangerous to start sparring without shin guards, especially if you are a beginner.
Your shins won’t be used to that kind of impact at the beginning. Even with great shin guards, you will feel the pain when you get hit with a hard low kick. And, if you’ve never experienced the pain of two shins colliding with full force, it’s hard to know what to expect.
It’s always better to prevent an injury than heal it, and shin guards are crucial to make that happen in Kickboxing. They will allow your shins to get stringer gradually, and after some time in training, they will get very tough, and the impact won’t bother you anymore.
That’s why you should start with thicker shin guards, work your way to thinner ones, and eventually fight without them. All professional competitions are fought without shin guards, but if you are a beginner, you absolutely need them to get through any training – even bag striking.
Some of the best beginner models are Venum Kontact Shin and Instep Guards, or RDX Shin + Instep Guards. We have made a complete review of Venum Kontact Shin Guards, so definitely check it out before buying. They provide ample padding and protection but don’t limit your movement or performance. If you opt for a different model, just make sure you are getting Kickboxing shin guards with instep padding because there are other guards used for various purposes, such as wrestling shin guards.
Side-note: some fighters use ankle bandages to provide protection, similar to hand bandages. If you think your ankles are injury-prone or just want to give yourself an extra safety net to avoid injury, this is a great way to do so. Especially if you are a beginner and don’t have that great technique in your leg strikes – poor technique is the most common reason for leg and arm injuries in Kickboxing.
Also, it’s never a bad idea to have a headgear (fighting helmet) in your arsenal as well, especially for training. It’ll give you extra protection and allow you to practice freely and to the fullest of your capabilities.
We’ve covered everything you’re going to need when it comes to body equipment, but there are still some key things you’re going to need for training. Most of the stuff will be available to you in your gym, but if you want to go an extra mile and train at home as well, you can buy and use that same equipment for home training, too. We won’t mention every single piece of equipment used in Kickboxing practice, only the key ones.
First and foremost, there is no Kickboxing training without a punching bag and pads. The bag work is an integral part of every practice session. It helps you work on individual strikes and perfecting the technique of each shot you take. You’ll also work on your conditioning and combinations on it. The weight and thickness of the bag will determine the intensity of the workout. Beginners usually start on softer, lighter punching bags and work their way up to the harder types.
Another integral part of Boxing and Kickboxing training is the “bulb” bag, also known as the “pear.” It is a small bag with a spring that helps you work on your timing, speed, precision, and hand-to-eye coordination.
Striking pads (focusers) come in various types, shapes, and sizes, but all help with the same thing: polishing your striking power, precision, and evasive maneuvers. Pad work will help you understand how to deliver combinations to perfection while keeping in mind that your opponent will strike back as well.
It’s essential to know how to get your offense going, but combine that with evading and defending from opponent attacks as well. The only “problem” is that you need another person to help you and hold the pads, so they aren’t of any use if you don’t have anybody to help you work with them.
Gym equipment is also essential to have if you want to maximize your potential in Kickboxing. However, you shouldn’t invest in these yourself if you have them in your gym because they can be costly. Nevertheless, it’s good to know what they are and how to use them.
Dumbbells and bench presses are something that will often be used in practice. To be able to perform in Kickboxing, you have to be in great physical shape. To get there, weight lifting of all kinds will come in quite handy for you. You’ll get stronger and improve your endurance.
Something that you can easily mount at home and have huge benefits from it is a pull-up bar. You’ll use your body weight for training, and you can use the bar to work on your entire body exceptionally effectively.
If you’re a beginner or a pro, these are the main things you’ll need for Kickboxing training. Make sure to talk to somebody with more experience (it would be best to consult your coach) before making any purchases, especially when starting with Kickboxing.