MMA gloves are essentials for anyone involved in mixed martial arts training or sparring. These protective accessories keep your hands padded, which prevents injury to your hands and your opponent upon contact. A high quality set of gloves such as ProForce® MMA gloves keeps your hands in good shape as you spar or practice on the bag. There are a few different types of MMA gloves to choose from, and knowing what to look for can ensure you get the right pair for your training and fighting activities.
Choosing the Right Fit
Well fitting gloves keep your hands agile, ensuring you can perform strikes and holds without any restriction to your movement. You want your gloves to be snug against your hands so they do not move around as you train or fight. Some gloves, such as the ProForce® Thunder Vinyl MMA Glove, come in very specific sizes, whereas others feature more general sizing and use hook and loop to adjust the fit. To find the right gloves for your hand size, lay your hand flat on a hard surface. If you want to wear hand wraps under your gloves, put these on before you measure your hand to make sure your gloves fit over the extra bulk. Measure across the palm of your hand at the location of your lower knuckles. AWMA uses the following sizing guidelines for gloves:
- Child Medium: 2 1/2 - 1 3/4 inches
- Child Large: 2 7/8 - 3 1/4 inches
- Small: 3 1/4 - 3 3/8 inches
- Medium: 3 3/8 - 3 5/8 inches
- Large: 3 5/8 - 3 3/4 inches
- X-Large: 3 3/4 - 3 7/8 inches
Types of MMA Gloves
Not all MMA gloves are created alike. Some types are better suited for bag work, whereas others are ideal for competitions. When you choose a new set, you should first and foremost consider what kinds of activities you'll be performing when you use them. Selecting the wrong type of gloves can result in injury to your hands or to your opponent.
- Competition Gloves: These gloves offer less padding than many other types and are lightweight and fingerless, offering plenty of freedom of movement as you fight. As their name suggests, these are ideal for competition settings. Most mixed martial arts organizations set weight limits on gloves during competitions. These gloves are designed to fit within those limits.
- Sparring Gloves: Sparring gloves are designed with practice in mind, and as such, they include more padding than competition gloves do. The extra weight and padding help keep your hands safe as you practice your moves, ensuring you stay in good shape for competitions. They also prevent your sparring partner from getting injured as you train.
- Grappling Gloves: These gloves can also be called hybrid gloves, as they combine features of both competition and sparring gloves. They leave the fingers free for grappling work and are lighter weight than most sparring gloves, but still provide some padding.
- Bag Gloves: If you want to do a lot of bag work as you train, you may want to pick up a pair of bag gloves in addition to your other protective gear. Punching bags are heavy and can be hard on your hands, and training on them for long periods of time can cause a lot of stress. Bag gloves are heavier and offer additional padding and wrist support, which help absorb the impact of the bag.
The amount of padding varies greatly between different types of mixed martial arts gloves. Contrary to what many beginners believe, extra padding does not always prevent injury. In fact, in some cases, it can actually cause it. Competition gloves include less padding because additional weight can result in more serious injuries to your opponent. Sparring can call for more protection, but it is important to choose appropriate gloves for this activity. Wearing bag gloves during sparring matches can injure your opponent, as these heavy gloves are designed to match the weight of a bag, not a human body.
Weight and padding can also vary within specific types of gloves. For example, most competition gloves weigh around 4 ounces, but some organizations allow slightly heavier gloves during competitions. A small amount of additional weight and padding can come in handy for beginners, so you may want to choose heavier gloves if you are less experienced in mixed martial arts.