Should You Punch a Heavy Bag Without Gloves?

Photo of Bare Knuckle Champion Bec Rawlings. Via @RowdyBec on Instagram
Photo of Bare Knuckle Champion Bec Rawlings. Via @RowdyBec on Instagram

Can You Hit a Heavy Bag Without Gloves?

Have you ever gone inside of your local gym, glanced over at the heavy bag, and seen someone with headphones in their ears, decked out in a sauna suit, punching the bag without gloves on?

Some people are already thinking to themselves, “This guy is crazy!” But, is he? Is there anything wrong with training on a heavy bag bare knuckle?

The answer is that it is indeed 100% okay to hit a heavy bag without gloves. However, one must ask themselves an array of further questioning before they proceed to batter a 200lb bag into oblivion with bare hands.

Ask yourself these things: Are you hitting the bag with proper technique? Is the individual training for power or precision? How often is the athlete training on a heavy bag without protection?

If the answer to these questions is all within reason, then training on a heavy bag is beneficial. Boxing gloves very existence incorporate characteristics of a heavy bag themselves.

The official original patent of the boxing glove states the following: 

“A boxing training glove which incorporates characteristics of a heavy bag whereby when a boxer in training wears this glove and punches a hard surface, this acts to build up his muscular strength. The glove is constituted by a heavily-padded leather mitten having an inner liner formed by a plastic film envelope that conforms to the interior of the glove and is filled with a silicone fluid. The viscosity of the confined fluid is such that when the boxer punches the hard surface, the impact force is distributed throughout the liner by the silicone fluid, thereby replicating the effects of a heavy bag and avoiding injury to the hand wearing the glove.”

Hitting a Bag with Bare Knuckles

An age-old saying in combat sports world goes, “The glove is to protect your hand, not your opponents face.” But to what extent? Training without gloves on has benefits as well.

Hitting without a glove builds muscular strength. It increases forearm and wrist muscles while also strengthening the knuckles. But before an individual begins to think about training bare-knuckle, they must first master the proper technique of throwing a punch. Simply put, a beginning MMA fighter should wear gloves and master the art of throwing punches before taking them off.

While gloves are important on a fighters training journey, so are hand wraps. Hand wraps support your wrist, knuckles, hands, and joints. The hand wrap also secures the joints in your hand and eases the shock after a punch distributes through your fist.

Middle Easy has put together a list of some of the best hand wraps and MMA gloves on the market so that a fighter can train with comfort knowing they are protected.

Hand Wraps

Sanabul Elastic Professional

Sanabul Elastic hand wraps are semi-elastic and highly durable, so they won’t become loose just from putting on your gloves. They’ll also retain their shape better over time which is a major issue with wraps.

It’s also important to note that the Sanabul wraps are breathable. Moisture is one of the biggest killers of ruining hand wraps but that issue is completely avoidable with these wraps. The polyester material helps assist in the wraps being able to dry fast which also helps them keep their dexterity.

The 180-inch length also makes the wraps very versatile. No matter if you’re training with bare knuckles, MMA gloves, or boxing gloves, you’ll be able to wrap them any style you’d like.

Plus, consumers won’t be able to beat the cheap price for wraps that are this good with a variety of color options to choose from.

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Sanabul Elastic Professional

Pros

  • Versatile length
  • Great price
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Thin

Meister Adult 180″ Hand Wraps

Meister hand wraps are a bit wider than the usual hand wrap. However, they provide extra protection that an athlete wouldn’t normally receive. They come equipped with a thumb loop and serviceable velcro straps that will keep your wraps in place throughout the full duration of a training session.

Although these wraps only come in three colors, athletes will receive a trio of wraps with their purchase of the three-pack.

The material and length make the Meisters special. No matter what glove you equip on top of them, you’ll always be able to feel comfortable knowing that they will remain tight, in place, and supportive.

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Meister Adult 180

Pros

  • Versatile length
  • Pack of 3
  • Great material

Cons

  • Can be bulky

MMA Gloves

We get it. Right out of the gate, rookie fighters want to blast the heavy bag like a professional UFC veteran. However, without the proper technique, amateurs are more likely to hurt themselves than to crush a bag into oblivion.

That’s why it’s sensible to begin practicing striking techniques with protection. MMA gloves will stabilize a fighter’s wrists and absorb some of the shocks that punching a produces. Additionally, the glove will protect your knuckles. Striking a bag without gloves or hand wraps will more than likely cause the knuckles to bleed. Especially because many sturdy bags are made out of rough materials like canvas or nylon.

It’s important to choose the correct pair of MMA training gloves. Trainers should look for the way that the glove is shaped, the protection it provides, the correct size, and materials.

Here are some of the MMA gloves that we recommend to fighters or aspiring athletes who need a point in the correct direction.

Sanabul Battle Forged MMA Grappling Gloves

Sanabul is a trusted brand in the world of MMA. They’ve delivered quality products such as BJJ Gi’s, protective combat gear, and more. Their MMA gloves are no exception to the quality they’ve been known to produce over the years.

These gloves are almost perfect for the heavy bag. They feature engineered leather and dense protective foam that allows for maximum protection and comfort. The curved ergonomic design of the glove allows the hand to relax while they’re inside. Although it seems simplistic, hand fatigue occurs fast without curvature. And, the Sanabul gloves allow fighters to train at maximum capacity until their gas tank empties.

Like many other Sanabul products, the incredible performance of their products lacks in stylistic design. Although they are some of the best gloves on the market, they only are available in Sanabuls trademark black, white, and brown colorways.

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Sanabul Battle Forged

Pros

  • Premium material
  • Dense foam protection
  • Ergonomic curve

Cons

  • Only 3 colors
  • Sharp wrist strap

RDX MMA Gloves

The extra-thick foam in the knuckle region is the standout feature with the RDX MMA gloves. 100% authentic full-grain cowhide leather makes the gloves very durable. So, they should last for a few years of intense training.

Every MMA glove should come with sweat-wicking technology and the RDX gloves are some of the best in that area. Sweat-wicking synthetic microfabric draws sweat away from skin enabling hand-comfort and breathability. Also, the gloves allow for striking and grappling with the way the finger inserts are structured.

The padded gel above the wrist helps massively with absorbing impact. Especially for beginners who are throwing punches incorrectly. Usually, that would result in a stinging pain on top of the wrist, but RDX kept that in mind for their athletes.

The RDX gloves only come in two different colors. So, there isn’t much room to express individuality. However, if a beginner athlete is worried strictly about performance, these may be the gloves for you.

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RDX MMA Gloves

Pros

  • Max shock foam
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Ergonomic curve

Cons

  • Wears out fast
  • Lack of colors

Venum Undisputed 2.0

Venum is one of the most well-known brands throughout all of the combat sports. Their reputable product line steams from high-quality materials that are usually hand made. And, these gloves are no different. They are hand made in Thailand with high-quality Napa leather.

Wrist support for this glove comes in the form of a highly adjustable strap. So, the glove can be tightened perfectly to accommodate the size of any wrist that is big or small. Also, the strap system allows for hand wraps to be worn underneath the glove comfortably.

Layered foam offers solid protection around the knuckle region to absorb maximum impact. Whether a fighter is training on a heavy bag, sparring, or hitting pads, these gloves will be able to minimize the shock felt from throwing heavy shots.

The Venum Undisputed 2.0 gloves are also available in 4 different colorways.’

Venum Undisputed 2.0

Pros

  • Premium Napa leather
  • Great knuckle protection
  • Ergonomic curve

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of colors

Everlast Pro Style

The Everlast Pro Style MMA gloves are the most budget-friendly on our list. Everlast is a brand that has been putting out quality combat sports equipment since the beginning.

With moisture-wicking technology, these gloves will stay dry during your training sessions. The moisture-proof lining also will help extend the life of these gloves as long as possible.

Although they are made from synthetic leather, the product longevity is still up to par. However, these gloves don’t have as much padding as an MMA glove truly should possess.

The ergonomic design provides the comfort and flexibility that an athlete is looking for. However, with this glove, it’s recommended that an athlete focuses on technique rather than power when wearing this glove. Especially on a heavy bag made out of canvas material.

The Everlast Pro Style glove is available in three different colors.

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Everlast Pro Style

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Ergonomic curve

Cons

  • Flimsy
  • Lacks protection

UFC Official Fight Glove

If your ultimate goal is to make it to the big show, why not get accustomed to the official UFC glove? Equipped with Premium A-grade leather, the UFC glove is the most comfortable glove available.

The UFC glove also features a gel protection side of its layered impact dispensing foam in the knuckle region. An anti-microbial lining will keep the gloves free of bacteria and dry throughout the training. A pre-curved design allows for the fingers to comfortably rest, reducing hand fatigue.

Keep in mind that for these gloves to work as expected, ordering the correct size is crucial. Unlike many other gloves that only offer 2-3 sizes, the UFC official glove is available in 8 different sizes for men, and 2 sizes for women. So, before purchasing these gloves, check the sizing chart to make sure you select the correct size.

Although these gloves aren’t cheap, premium material and modern technology make the product worth purchasing.

Official UFC Gloves

Pros

  • Elite materials
  • Gel protection
  • Antimicrobial

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Sizing issues

Heavy Bag Training

Now that you have hand wraps and gloves, you can begin hitting the heavy bag. It’s recommended that you work on perfecting your striking techniques at least 3-4 times a week with full protection. Once you feel comfortable in your ability to throw a proper punch, then you can begin training bare-knuckle if that’s the goal.

Even with a suitable technique, it’s still not recommended to make bare-knuckle training a primary method. At most, coaches and trainers alike would more than likely suggest to only train bare-knuckle once a week. Some even prefer a maximum of twice a month for bare-knuckle.

No matter if an athlete is a rookie or expert, bare-knuckle training is an injury risk. Even while executed properly, a consistent training regimen of knuckles only can rapidly increase the wear and tear of athletes’ hands. Especially because the hand is formed of small bones that can easily break.

So, can an athlete punch a heavy bag without gloves? The answer is yes. However, they need to be equipped with high-level striking knowledge. Also, they’ll need to understand how often to train which techniques to apply. For example, spinning back fists, hammer fists, and even uppercuts aren’t recommended for bare-knuckle training.

With this information, fighters can have no fear jabbing away at the heavy bag with bare knuckles. Just be aware of all of the dangers that come with it if you aren’t properly trained.

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