Heavy bag workouts are a fundamental part of any MMA fighter’s training.
They allow you to train on your own, provide as realistic an impact as you’re going to get, and allow you to work on your technique and endurance simultaneously.
Walk into any gym and you’re going to see at least one heavy bag hanging somewhere.
With that in mind, you’re bound to be using a heavy bag at some point or another. So, what are the ideal gloves to use for heavy bag training, and can you use MMA gloves on a heavy bag?
Can You Use MMA Gloves On a Heavy Bag?
The short answer is yes, you can. I’ve seen people do it often enough, but I would advise against it for reasons that we’ll touch on in this article.
Using MMA Gloves on a Heavy Bag Drawbacks
Let’s start with the drawback, as in my opinion, this is the most important reason why you shouldn’t use MMA gloves on a heavy bag.
Higher Risk of Injury
Heavy bags are, well, heavy.
They usually range from around 50kg/ 110lb to 70kg/ 154lb. Depending on your weight class, this can be the same as punching an opponent. This is one of the main benefits of using a heavy bag, but hands are brittle, and people break their hands in fights often enough.
Plus, heavy bags are filled with a variety of materials, with some heavy bags being extremely hard, especially if they’re new.
When you’re throwing a punch at a heavy bag, you’re putting your entire weight and force behind it. The impact from this blow will travel through your hand and wrist and up your arm.
MMA gloves, being the smallest combat sport gloves there are, do not offer enough protection for this type of training. They’re ok for pad work and similar drills, but when landing punches on a hard heavy bag, they don’t offer enough protection.
The amount of padding and wrist support they offer does somewhat help to mitigate this impact, but in my opinion, it’s not enough. Picking up a preventable injury like this is extremely frustrating, especially when you could have used bigger gloves and avoided the injury altogether.
A broken hand, finger, or wrist is no joke and can leave you sidelined and unable to train for months. If you’re looking to take MMA seriously as a career path, this kind of setback can be devastating and can even require surgery.
Using MMA Gloves on Heavy Bag Benefits
Ok, now we’ve got the negative stuff out of the way, there are, I admit, some benefits to using MMA gloves on a heavy bag.
Do they outweigh the risk of injury? In my opinion, no. That said, for the sake of a fair argument, I’ll discuss the “benefits” and leave you to make your own decisions.
As I mentioned earlier, some heavy bags are similar in weight to people. This in turn allows you to feel a realistic impact when landing strikes on the bag. When wearing MMA gloves, it would allow you to get comfortable with the feeling of landing blows at full power, similar to if you were competing in a fight.
Encourages Proper Form and Technique
Due to the inherent risks that I discussed before, you’re forced to land your techniques properly. If you’re landing with limp wrists and not throwing your punches with proper form, the chances of injury increase significantly.
While in my opinion there are better ways to ensure proper form and technique, you’ll soon know when you’re punches aren’t landing correctly from the feeling in your hand and wrists.
On a side note, I’d recommend filming your heavy bag sessions to see what your form looks like, which will allow you to make any adjustments that are needed.
Saves You Buying Another Pair of Gloves
One of the main reasons people opt to train on the heavy bag with MMA gloves is because they already own MMA gloves. What’s the point in buying another pair of gloves, when you already have a pair you use regularly?
While I definitely understand this, there are plenty of cheap boxing gloves out there that will do the trick, especially if you’re only using them for heavy-bag workouts.
What Size MMA Gloves Are You Using?
Professional competition gloves weigh 4oz and offer very little in the way of protection. Even professional fighters will only wear these for competing and will opt for larger sparring gloves when they train. With that in mind, I implore you not to use these gloves when training on a heavy bag.
If you’re set on using MMA gloves on the heavy bag, use 8oz sparring gloves. While not as padded as boxing gloves, they offer twice as much protection as competition gloves. Plus, there’s a good chance that you’ll already have these, so it saves you from buying another pair.
What I Recommend
Ok, so what gloves should you use on a heavy bag?
In my opinion, it’s boxing gloves, ideally around 14-16oz. You can see me in the image above wearing my 16oz boxing gloves for a heavy-bag workout. These are my go-to gloves whenever I know I’ve got a heavy bag session coming up.
They’re comfortable, provide a lot of protection, and allow me to throw my punches as I would in a competitive fight, without having an absurd risk of injury. Of course, anything can happen and they’re not 100% injury-proof, but they’re significantly safer than using my MMA gloves.
Below is a closer look at the gloves that I use. They’re Top King Muay Thai gloves. I bought these at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, but I’m sure you can pick up a similar pair online somewhere.
Well, there we have it. Using MMA gloves on a heavy is something that people do but with unnecessary risk. If I injured my hand and couldn’t train for a couple of months, I think I’d go mad.
Get yourself some cheap boxing gloves, around 14oz should be fine, and you’ll be heavy bag training as safely as possible.
If you are going to use MMA gloves, be sure to use padded 8oz sparring gloves, as they’ll offer the most amount of protection.
Thanks for reading and as always, if you’ve got any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop a comment in the section below.