Fitness Boxing & Hand Protection: 9 Quick Tips to Protect Your Hands

Here is the question I get most when I teach Boxing for Fitness: “I’m only doing this for Fitness – so do I really need to protect my hands?”

I usually reply: “Only if your hands are important to you.”

You don’t need to be a Pro runner to wear good shoes and protect your feet. And you don’t need to be a Pro boxer to protect your hands.

Here are some other questions I get about hands, gloves and Fitness Boxing – along with my answers. Hope it helps!

Why should Beginners protect their hands for a Boxing Workout? Boxing & MMA workouts are hot right now, so more beginners are starting. Unless they are bare knuckle street fighters in their spare time these beginners probably don’t have conditioned hands. Beginners may need to protect their hands more than Pros – who have been conditioned and know how to make a proper fist. Boxing, even for Fitness, is an impact sport. Beginners are vulnerable.

What sort of hand injuries can I get from a Fitness Boxing Workout? Over the last 16 years of teaching I’ve seen bruised and split knuckles, sprains, strains and jarred wrists – just to name a few.

What causes hand injuries during a Fitness Boxing Workout? The most common is neglecting to wrap the hands, or wearing flimsy, skinny gloves. One female Personal Trainer I know had very sore knuckles for 6 weeks, following a workout where she did not wear hand wraps.

Does poor punching technique play a role in hand injuries during Fitness Boxing Workouts? Yes.The first thing we teach beginners is to punch with their front 2 or 3 main knuckles. But this takes time. Often they will “miss hit” and strike with the fingers or thumb. Also it takes time to “mold” a strong, straight wrist.

What about Technique on the Punch Mitts? Technique on Punch Mitts, also called Focus Pads or Focus Mitts also play a role in hand injuries. For example, new mitt-holders often angle the position for the Uppercut or the Hook incorrectly and the “Boxer” hits the mitt at an awkward angle, jarring their wrist or knuckles.

Another error is “whacking back” too hard. This is when the mitt holder hits the incoming punch too hard. It’s OK to brace when catching a punch, just don’t hit back too hard. Catch it, don’t whack it.

So what equipment do I need? Hand wraps are essential and go underneath your gloves. These are like long cloth bandages. I prefer the elasticized type – about $10. Wash separately – they do run. There are also “Ezy wraps” which are simpler to put on. Boxing gloves have more padding and support than bag gloves and are worth the extra money. Women usually get 8,10 or 12 oz Gloves while men usually get for 12, 14 or 16 oz.

What about Punching Bags? Although punching bags don’t hit back they have still bruised many hands and jarred plenty of wrists. They are not as soft as they look, especially at the bottom where the fill collects. Always wear hand wraps and solid gloves. Warm up too, and be mindful of the swinging bag which can come at you fast making for an awkward target.

How do I wrap my hands? I show my students the “rule of 3.” That’s 3 times around the wrist, then 3 times around the knuckles, then 3 times around the wrist again. Then, once up around the thumb, 3 times around the knuckles again and finish on the wrist with the remaining length. Firm but not too tight. There are many different ways to wrap hands. For example, wrapping between the knuckles. A web search will reveal plenty of instructional videos.

What about MMA (mixed martial arts) style finger less gloves? These gloves may not offer as much protection as full boxing gloves, until you are used to them. Also, watch out for scraping the smaller knuckles and finger tips, which are exposed.

May you get Fighting Fit.

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