Whether you’re looking for a way to switch up your existing workout regime or starting straight from the couch, martial arts is a great way to train your body and mind! Today, we are looking specifically at Muay Thai and Kickboxing – how it can whip you into better shape & the gear necessary to get started.
Kickboxing is a complete body workout; a one hour class will totally kick your butt! It can be a great compliment to your current exercise plan, challenging your body with new movement patterns and speeds. Fitness kickboxing is a great excuse to get away from your desk and build a new exercise routine. You get to release frustration in a place where hitting is encouraged and leave with all those great post- workout endorphins. It’s the definition of stress relief!
A good Muay Thai class will provide excellent cardio conditioning. The techniques you learn will effectively target your arm, legs, and core. You’re building muscle and developing your eye hand co-ordination. Martial arts is also a great way to learn self-defense, build confidence and discipline.
Beginner classes at most gyms will consist of warm ups, some technical instruction and drills, along with heavy bag and/or pad work. Lots of gyms will offer loaner equipment to those just starting out. This is a great way to try the sport and get a feel for what style of gear you may prefer. BUT, it smells and honestly, even the cleanest gyms can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re going back for another class you should really consider getting in your own gear. It can be an investment to start out so let’s look at the gear that is absolutely necessary for a beginner.
Gear necessary to begin Kickboxing or Muay Thai:
Muay Thai and Kickboxing Gloves
A good pair of gloves are a worthwhile investment. One of the main differences between Muay Thai gloves and western style Boxing gloves is the length of the cuff. Muay Thai gloves have a shorter cuff that allows for more flexibility (necessary to clinch, throw elbows, and catch kicks) and Boxing gloves have a longer cuff to provide wrist support. For an absolute beginner, something with wrist support will be a good choice. Traditional Muay Thai brands make models with a longer cuff, like:
Twins Embossed Leather Boxing Gloves : available in a variety of colors
Top King Super Air Boxing Gloves : available in a variety of colors
Another good product that won’t break the bank is the Kimuarwear Boxing Gloves.
You will want something with a Velcro closure so that you can easily get them on and off.
The size of glove compartment can vary from brand to brand. Typically, Twins Special has the most compact hand compartment and is suitable for fighters with slender hands. Fighters in larger weight classes will benefit from a larger hand compartment; try a brand like Fairtex.
As a general rule, sparring gloves are 14-16oz and bag gloves are 10-12oz. 16oz gloves offer the most padding and protection for both your sparring partner and yourself. Athletes that are preparing for a fight will use 8 or 10oz gloves (the same weight they will use for the fight) to drill accuracy and train speed. 12oz gloves are considered bag gloves and are a great size for beginners. They offer appropriate cushioning and protection for drills without too much extra weight. If you’re still unsure about what ounce size is best for you, ask instructor for suggestions.
Under the gloves, hand wraps are important. You will spend time learning how to wrap your own hands from your trainer. Once you learn the basics, you can play around with what works best to provide yourself with a customized level of support.
Beginner Muay Thai and Kickboxing classes don’t require full shin pads. Shin guards are necessary for sparring but you can do without while you’re learning the basics. However, do consider ankle supports. They are compression style sleeves that give you an extra layer of support across the barefoot and ankle.
At this point Muay Thai shorts may sound like a frivolous purchase but their unique cut is truly made for the sport. Their elasticated waist bands allow for comfortable full body movement without sliding around; the wide legs and side slits give you the most room for throwing knees and kicks. Flashy shorts not your thing? A second choice could be MMA shorts – built more for grappling, these shorts will have enough stretch for training your new moves.
If you’re looking to buy your first pair of gloves, use this code to save $10 off any pair over $50: MTblog
Let us know which ones your chose in the comments below.