Can I use MMA gloves on a punching bag?

No, MMA gloves should not be used when training with a punch bag.  They do not offer sufficient cushioning or wrist support that could result in damage to the knuckles, bones of the hand and the wrist.   

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Training with a punching bag provides an excellent workout.   It develops hand-eye coordination, muscular strength and endurance, whilst also being a superb way to let off steam, say, after a frustrating day at work.

A punch bag (such as this one on Amazon) makes a superb addition to any home gym and only takes up a minimum amount of space.  

It’s a great way to develop punching power and improve your punching technique.  However, in order to do this you need to be able to hit the bag with force.  

It’s for this reason, you should wear gloves that are suited to the task.  

MMA gloves are designed for fighting in the ring or octagon.  They consist of a light layer of padding over the knuckles, are fingerless,and stop short of the wrist.  They enable the fighter not only to punch, but also allow enough hand dexterity to enable clinch and grappling techniques.

When fighting a live opponent, there’s a lot of give when a punch makes contact.  To an extent, not only will the opponent move backwards but the punch will also be absorbed by their muscle and bones.

Hitting a punch bag is like hitting a solid mass.  There’s little give and therefore little cushioning when you make contact.  The force of the impact is therefore rebounded back into your hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder.

If done consistently with sufficient force, this could result in injuries.

Whilst it may be safe to wear MMA gloves if you’re only hitting the punch bag very lightly, there are two problems with this approach.

The first is that more often than not, you’ll end up hitting the bag harder and harder as the training session progresses.  With the adrenaline pumping, it’s easy to lose your self control and get carried away.

The second is that if you’re hitting the bag only lightly, you won’t develop a powerful punch.  If you want to hit harder, you have to practice hitting harder.

For this reason, you’d be better off training with a pair of gloves that are specifically designed for training with a heavy bag, such as these (link to Amazon).

This type of glove provides wrist support and sufficient padding to protect the hands.  They’re also very durable and are breathable to ensure your hands don’t become too hot and sweaty.

Training with this type of glove allows you to progressively hit the heavy bag harder over time as your hands become conditioned and used to the activity.

It’s important to remember that even when wearing this type of glove, you should always gradually build up the intensity over sufficient time to allow your body to adapt.

You don’t want to start out hitting the heavy bag as hard as you can as soon as you start wearing your new gloves.  Build up gradually and allow your body to get used to the rigors of hitting a punching bag.


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