Essential MMA Gear For Beginners

Thinking about training in mixed martial arts? Looking to join a gym but not sure what gear you need? The most common question asked when starting MMA is "What type of training gear do I need?". Well it depends, as there are different disciplines in mixed martial arts, whether it is for striking or grappling, combat sports are full contact and each style will require a different set of equipment.

Here we will cover the top essential MMA gear you need to start training in mixed martial arts, why you need them and how to use them correctly.

Like any sport, combat sports training requires specific equipment, largely to protect yourself from injuries or cuts during your training sessions. The essential fight gear and fight wear that you should gather before starting your MMA training include:

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - Boxing Gloves

Boxing Gloves

A pair of boxing gloves is an important part of MMA training to protect yourself and your training partner from the hard impact of striking.

What is a boxing glove?

A boxing glove may be defined as padded gloves that covers the whole hand and wrist, which most combat sports practitioners wear on their hands during sparring to forcefully deliver their punches. The purpose of boxing gloves is to protect the hands of the striker during combat it is also to protect and lessen the impact and to limit any facial injuries to their training partner. The second purpose is to practice and to strengthening your strikes.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - Boxing Gloves

There are different types of boxing gloves available for sparring, training and competition. They are commonly available in 10oz, 12oz, 14oz and 16oz weights depending on the weight class of the person using it. Although in MMA the boxing glove is only used for training, in competition the MMA glove is used which are smaller in size, ranging from 4oz to 8oz.

The recommend glove size for beginners is 16oz for more protection and since they are heavier they help build your arm and shoulder strength as well.

There are hundreds of boxing gloves to choose from, a variety of different brands and designs. In general you “get what you pay for”, with cheaply made boxing gloves not offering as good protection or durability as premium boxing gloves. If you plan on practicing combat sport for a long time and want to make your boxing gloves an investment, we recommend getting leather gloves because they will last longer than synthetic leather or vinyl materials.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - Shin Guards

Shin Guards

A pair of shin guards is an essential requirement piece of fight gear for beginners to pro MMA training, mainly to protect your lower legs and your foot from your sparring partner.

What is a Shin Guard?

A shin guard is a piece of equipment designed to cover the shins and foot, made of various materials, mainly thick padding, to absorb the impact when striking with your legs. The main purpose when training is to keep your shins and foot healthy while being able to sustain the maximum duration of training over the longest period of time. Training with no shin guards will not make you tougher, it will just increase the likelihood of injury, and when you are injured you cannot train, so protecting yourself is very important.

In MMA a shin guard is used only in training not during competition. There are various aspects to consider when choosing the right shin guard, it all comes down to quality, durability and comfort. Obviously when choosing one for MMA is to make sure it's the right fit and length for your legs. The Engage Shin Guards covers from small sizes up to extra large to accommodate different leg lengths. As for quality and durability, you want to invest in good quality premium leather shin guards if you are planning to train long term.

Another factor to consider when purchasing shin guards is that most injuries occur in the top of the foot where there are smaller and softer bones located, so a shin guard must have good coverage and padding around the foot to absorb impact and enough flexibility in the ankle joints to improve mobility.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - Head Guards

Head Guard / Head Gear

One of the most essential pieces of protective equipment for MMA training is head gear. A good piece of head gear provides you the capability to spar harder and more often a reduced risk of sustaining a head injury.

What is a head gear or head guard?

In MMA a head guard is a protective equipment to cover around the head, made of materials that absorbs impact such as high density foam. The main purpose of the headgear is to prevent superficial injuries to the face and head.

In the current state of pro MMA, head gear is not worn during competition, though it is recommended to be used during sparring. Specific training like striking where it is more focused on targeting the body and head is where a head guard can be beneficial. The main injuries that occur when training in MMA without a head gear is a broken nose, cuts to the eyebrows, impact of accidental headbutts, eardrums popping and also concussions.

There are important things to choose when finding your head gear, make sure to get the right sizing so it fits perfectly in your head without having to adjust it regularly and affect your line of sight and focus. The second important is the weight to size ratio, obviously a light weight head gear will be more comfortable so it feels like part of your body.

Another important element of picking good head gear is visibility, the opening for your eyes to see through, making sure it is not too closed so it doesn't affect your peripheral vision. The last, possibly most important factor, is the protection rating, it should protect not just the front but also the sides and rear part of the head.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - Mouth Guards

Mouth Guard

This is the essential piece of equipment that all levels of fighters need, whether it is training or competition. A mouth guard is designed to minimize dental fractures, jaw injuries and head trauma from strikes to the face.

What is a mouth guard?

A mouthguard is a protective device made of thermoplastic material that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums. It can mold into the shanpe inside your mouth for a personalized fit.

In the highest level of MMA organization like the Ultimate Fighting Championships(UFC) have strict regulations to keep their athletes safe. One of the mandatory rules is the use of mouth guards that a fighter must wear when competing.

A mouth guard is recommended and necessary for MMA training because all it takes is one hit with a punch, elbow or knee to have a broken tooth, which can lead to unnecessary expensive visits to the dentist.

When choosing the right mouth guard, these are things to consider. The right fit, A properly fitted mouthguard keeps you comfortable and safe. A mouthguard that fits well will remain securely in place and you should be able to speak and breathe normally. A mouth guard should be impact tested, approved and certified to CE standards. The last part to consider on choosing your mouth guard is the design and look, the main thing should be for protection.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - MMA Grappling Gloves

MMA Gloves

This is an essential piece of fight gear that can be used in different styles of mixed martial arts, from grappling to striking. The only difference being from a normal boxing glove is that the fingers are exposed and the padding are smaller. Still an essential protective equipment mainly for protecting the hands and fingers.

What is a MMA Glove?

MMA Glove or grappling gloves are smaller in size compare to a boxing glove, with an opening where the fingers are exposed for grappling manuevers such as clinch fighting and submissions. There are two major types MMA gloves, one is for sparring which have more padding weighing at around 7oz, the second type is the competition MMA gloves which have smaller padding and lighter in weight at around 4oz-6oz.

The majority of mixed martial arts organizations have made this essential fight gear mandatory for competition. It is more essential in training when performing different styles such as a combination of striking and grappling. The main purpose is to protect the hands when striking, but one can argue the controversial protection of the head as a MMA padded gloves allows a fist to hit harder and attack the brain without damaging the face or hands.

So knowing that we recommend the use of the larger size grapping gloves around 7oz is the recommended size for training, also allowing the hands to fit loosely if you choose to wear hand wraps with it. If you are planning to train in MMA long term it would be wise to invest in MMA grappling gloves made of quality leather this will also go a long way with durability.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - MMA Shorts

MMA Shorts

MMA Shorts is an essential part of mixed martial arts apparel which are designed to give unrestricted movements and comfort during striking whilst maintaining peak performance when rolling around in mats.

What are MMA Shorts?

There are three major types of MMA shorts to choose and depending on your preference each one has its benefits.

The traditional board type MMA K1 shorts which have a longer leg length with added velcro and draw string closure for a superior hold to the waist is termed as the 'MMA Grappling Shorts'. These shorts are ideal for all styles of mixed martial arts which can stretch during striking and safe guard the legs from scratches during a scrap.

Read: Why Do You Need MMA Shorts?

The second common MMA shorts are the vale tudo style which is basically a compression MMA Shorts that is designed to provide maximum flexibility allowing the legs to maneuver unrestricted during combat. These shorts however, cannot be used on its own without a groin guard which is another essential MMA gear which we will describe below.

The third type is the Hybrid MMA Shorts, these shorts are an evolution of both vale tudo and board short type which can vary in design and cut. The Engage range of MMA Hybrid shorts have been re-designed to maximise movements much more so than conventional MMA shorts. These shorts have become so popular due to their distinct design, having a shorter leg length, higher reinforced leg slits, no irritating velcro and made with lightweight materials, making the Engage MMA hybrid shorts the best pick in the industry.

Essential MMA Gear For Beginners - MMA Shorts

Compression Rash Guards

Compression garments or knows as rash guards are another essential mixed martial arts apparel mainly for protecting the skin from cuts or abrasions during grappling sessions. Wearing compression clothing also has extra benefits, from improved recovery to reducing the rate of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and reduce Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). These have become popular in MMA training as they protect the skin better than a normal t-shirt with the aid of sweat wicking materials that also helps evaporate the sweat away.

What is a compression rash guard?

A compression rash guard is a garment that is worn tightly to your skin, manufactured using a combination of polyester, spandex and other elastic microfibre materials, it includes long sleeve and short sleeve rash guard tops, leggings, tights and shorts. They are not just garments that a person wears for training use, but they are special garments that hold numerous health benefits. It's main purpose is to stop any damage to the skin during scrapping.

Read:Benefits Of Wearing Compression Clothing During Workouts

Popular martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (No Gi)has made this garment mandatory for identifying different skill levels by the use belt grading incorporated into competition graded rash guards. The common colour coding for BJJ belts are white, blue, purple, brown and black.

Groin Guard

One of the most valuable and essential piece of training equipment for mixed martial arts is the groin guard or known as groin protector or groin cups. The groin protector can protect you from serious injuries to your sensitive areas in the lower body. If you ever are planning to compete in amateur or professional combat sports these is a mandatory piece of equipment used. Although blows to the sensitive areas on the lower body is prohibited in competition you wouldn't want to get hit in those area while training. All it takes is one accidental hit to the groin and you could be in some serious pain with long term damage. It is best to wear them in training so you can also get used to wearing it if you are planning to compete.

What is a groin guard?

A groin guard is a sturdy material that is molded into a shaped that covers the genital areas. It is very commonly used in mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ and related combat sports. The main purpose is to protect your family jewels from serious injuries on striking or sparring. Wearing a groin guard doesn't give you 100% protection, it does however lessen the damage. That is why is it important that you should wear a groin guard when training any mixed martial arts sports.

There are other essential piece of training equipment such as hand wraps, pads which we will cover on another article, if you think that we missed an essential piece of MMA training gear please comment below. The best way to find out what you really need is to visit a MMA gym or a MMA academy. They will usually suggest what to get and where to find for your personal collection. You may also find some essential MMA gear on our engage online shop, you will find a host of options ready and waiting for you that could be just what you need.

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