Kickboxing is a great sport to get some good cardio in and it is also a great sport to improve your hand-eye coordination. It is also a great martial art if you want to learn how to protect yourself. I have been doing kickboxing for a couple of years now and it has vastly improved my hand-eye coordination and balance, along with improved lower body strength. If you want to get started with the martial art/sport, here are some equipment you will need to get started with kickboxing. In this article, I am not talking about cardio kickboxing; cardio kickboxing is the type of kickboxing usually taught at fitness gyms and is strictly used for cardio (like this video). In this article, I am talking about kickboxing as a sport/martial art, one that would require drilling, technique, and live sparring (like this video).
Boxing gloves are essential in kickboxing. Do not get bag gloves, get actual boxing gloves. For hitting the bags and sparring, 14oz or 16oz gloves should be good. TITLE has some great boxing gloves; my first boxing gloves were TITLE gloves. They will last you awhile.
However, be sure to spray Lysol or put baby powder in them after every use and let them dry—or it will start to smell after a month or so.
Mouth guards are an absolute necessity if you are going to be sparring. Even if you just want to practice technique and drill, it is a good idea to have. The mouth guard will lessen the impact of any punch or hit to the chin or cheek area. Before using the mouth guard, make sure to boil it for 30 seconds first before putting it in your mouth so that it fits perfectly in your mouth.
For mouth guards, I recommend Shock Doctor. While you are at it, I also recommend getting the mouth guard case from Shock Doctor too. It will keep you from losing your mouth guard and it will keep it sanitary at the same time.
Be sure to clean with soap or toothpaste after every use.
Shin guards are just as necessary as boxing gloves when it comes to kickboxing. If you are kicking the muay thai bags, you don’t want shin guards on because you want the opportunity to harden your shins. However, when you are drilling or live sparring, you will definitely want shin guards on. The shin on shin contact can potentially fracture your skins if you are not careful. The shin guards will protect you from any freak accidents.
For shin guards, you want one that will absorb a lot of the impact on your shins, but you also want it too bulky or heavy that it constricts your kicks. That is why I opt for the more compact shin guards.
The ProForce Combination Cloth shin guards do a great job of protecting your shins and your feet and are pretty compact. The Contender MMA Grappling shin guards are also good ones to try out—they offer a little more protection but are also a tad bit bulkier.
Ankle Support Wraps
Kickboxing requires a lot of movement, especially lateral movement. This makes your ankles susceptible to being injured by landing on it wrong. I’ve suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain of my right ankle from kickboxing because I did not wear ankle support wraps during a sparring session. These are extremely important and you should wear them at all times, even if you are just shadow kickboxing. Meister MMA has great ankle support wraps for under $10.
If you have really weak ankles and you do not think the ankle wraps give you enough support, you can also wrap your ankles with athletic wrap underneath. That’s what I do.
If you plan on sparring, get head gear. Head gear will absorb the impact of any punches or kicks that goes to the face. There are many kinds of head gear and some are cheaper than the other. But head protection is not something you want to scrimp on price-wise. The cheaper ones usually don’t do as well of absorbing hard punches and kicks as much as the more expensive ones. So if you plan on sparring at 100% speed or with people that have a lot of power, don’t get the cheaper ones.
For head gear that offers a lot of protection, I recommend the TITLE Gel World full face head gear. It has quite a bit of padding that can absorb a lot of strikes from powerful punchers. It also does a great job of not obstructing vision, which is vitally important in any sparring match.
And remember to clean your head gear often so that it doesn’t start to smell.
Hand wraps are important for protecting your wrists from injury. It is a good idea to use them at all times. They can be a little annoying to put on. If that is an issue with you, then I suggest getting the Everlast EverGel hand wraps; they are like tiny gloves that slip on instantaneously so there is no actual “wrapping” involved.
Hand wraps are also something you should wash pretty often or else it starts to stink.