New students are commonly confused about which hand protection is best for them. I realized last week when when two different students showed up wearing weightlifting gloves that it might be time to tackle the glove issue. Different gloves (or wraps) have different functions, read below to see which might be right for you. Note: When you start training your friends might try to help you out by giving you a pair of gloves they aren’t using. If you’re unsure of whether you should use them in class, look at the placement of the padding on the glove. In Krav Maga class you will want protection for your knuckles (from impact) and for your wrist (from buckling upon impact). Weightlifting gloves have pads on the palm and inner fingers which will not help you when punching. Batting gloves have no padding and aren’t helpful in class either, though I do use them at the Box when doing pull ups.
Wraps are traditionally worn under boxing gloves to further protect the knuckles and wrist. Wraps alone offer minimal protection for the knuckles, but they’re certainly better than nothing. They offer excellent protection for the wrist, and have the added benefit of being completely adjustable, both in placement and in snugness. They also leave the fingers completely free to grab your opponent or your water bottle. Plus, let’s face it, wraps look pretty cool.
Wrist wraps are just what they claim to be, consisting of a stretchy fabric that supports the wrist, with velcro closure and a loop for the thumb to stabilize the wrap. These are a good choice if you need a little extra protection for the wrist and nothing more. They are a good stabilizer to try when you’re almost-but-not-quite healed from a wrist injury.
Fingerless gloves, also known as grappling or MMA gloves, offer more knuckle protection than wraps while also supporting the wrist. They are good for striking focus mitts or other hand held pads, but don’t offer enough shock absorption for going all out on the heavy bags. Compared to wraps, they offer less wiggle room for your fingers but are much quicker to apply to and remove from the hand.
Classic boxing gloves offer the highest level of protection for the hands. They’re my favorite choice for punching anything. When you’re going for timed rounds, switching pads with your partner every other round, they’re a fast option for making the switch, as you don’t have to drive 10 fingers into their own little finger hole, as with MMA gloves. If you’re just starting your training and working to get into shape, you might start with 12 ounce gloves and work your way up to traditional 16 ounce gloves. Either way it’s quickly going to feel as if you’re holding a brick in each hand. With boxing gloves, the higher the weight, the thicker the padding.
I eventually came to own all the types of hand protection listed, and you may wish to do the same. However, if you’re just beginning, consider which one will best suit your needs and start with that. If you need anything else it will become apparent during your training. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructors which equipment they prefer. We love to talk about this stuff & will yak your ear off about it.