What Gear Do I Need For Muay Thai?
Gear For the Muay Thai Fighter
What Gear Do I Need For Muay Thai? The essential gear needed for a Muay Thai fighter to get started and stay injury free are hand wraps, gloves, groin guard, shin guards, a mouthpiece, headgear, jump rope, a sparring vest, and kicking pads.
In the old days when there wasn’t much training gear and fighters used what they could around them.
When trying to perfect their kicking and punching techniques, they’d use banana trees to practice on. They even used to punch coconuts, a practice similar to a martial artist punching bricks.
The reason for the use of banana trees is that they’re not really trees at all. They have no wood in their trunk and are actually banana plants. So, they’re soft inside, but don’t misunderstand that they’re still tough enough to cause you injury.
Even if you are a tough fighter, this is not a solution for your training needs. If you know of fighters who are doing this, believe me it’s probably because they don’t have access to Muay Thai gear.
Something else that fighters used to do is use the fallen pieces of the banana plant as pads for punching. If you can picture a boxer training, it’s similar to how they practice on boxing pads nowadays.
In the old days, Muay Thai boxers used hemp rope to protect their hands when punching. Hemp rope has a long history of uses and it was one of the first ropes created from hemp fibers, making it naturally strong. So it’s no wonder that these ropes were easily available for use as hand wraps, but now we’ve got more practical hand wraps available.
So this whole form of training isn’t very practical or safe, and is mostly likely a quick way to injure yourself instead of conditioning your body.
Think about this for a second, they also fought barefisted against each other. Yeah, that’s tough, but I don’t believe fighters had long careers doing this.
So, let me help you get started the right way, the more modern way of training because we’ve got the technology, and why shouldn’t we use it?
If you’re new to Muay Thai, I’m going to introduce you to the correct training gear you need to practice safely and stay injury free. There’s no reason for you to ignore getting your hands on protective training gear if you’ve got a little bit of cash to spare. Many fighters suffer from similar injuries.
Suggested Reading for protective gear: Combative Sports Gear
There are many companies making quality Muay Thai gear that can handle the punishment a Thai fighter dishes out. There are also companies making gear containing inferior material, and you should take note of that.
I’ll do my best to go over the best Muay Thai gear for you so you don’t slow down your training.
Thinking about ensuring your safety and enhancing your Muay Thai training is something you can’t do without. This is not a combat style you want to fight with your bare fist. Speaking of bare fists, I’ll begin with hand wraps.
Muay Thai Hand Wraps
Hand wraps are needed in Muay Thai because of the hardness and toughness of the bags and pads used during training.
Not using hand wraps during your training can cause injury to your knuckles or wrists. That’s something you definitely want to avoid in this kickboxing style because it’ll only take one bad punch for an injury to happen.
You’ll also want to make sure your hands are wrapped when your sparring or fighting in training because you don’t want to hit the other fighter in the face barehanded. Have you ever seen someone get hit but the actual damage was to the one doing the hitting?
The reason for that is hitting someone in the face is like hitting a wall and your coming with all your force. Could you hit a wall like that with full force? And if you could, would you walk away unscathed? Probably not. There are some who can but there are not many who can walk away without getting injured, just a few.
Anyway, during your sparring you’re not working on getting a knockout, so you’re really not going to be hitting your sparring partner that hard. I mean if you were, no one would probably want to train with you, right?
What you’ll be doing instead is sharpening your skills and techniques so that when you do enter a real competition, you’re prepared to strike your opponent with accuracy and precision.
Before you enter any match though, make sure you have an experienced trainer who knows how to wrap multiple layers of tape over your hand wraps for extra protection.
You could say now that you’re carrying to bricks around, pretty safe right but not for your opponent. That’s if he’s not a Muay Thai fighter, if he is then you know what to expect from his punches.
When deciding which type of hand wraps to buy. it’s really about what you like because almost all of them are made from similar cotton or elastic materials (high quality spandex and polyester). You’ll see what I mean when you check out the brands, colors, and styles.
How do you know how long Muay Thai hand wraps should be? The length of the hand wraps will range from five to fifteen feet. If you’re going to be doing a lot of heavy hitting you’re going to be better of with the longest length. You’ll probably have a hard time putting them on but you’ll definitely be protected.
If you want to find out about the best hand wraps, you can read the article on Muay Thai hand wraps and how to choose them. We’ll be covering the popular hand wraps and other brands that are currently doing well according to fighters. I’ll go over in a lot more detail on how they perform to give you an idea of what to expect so you can choose wisely.
Just remember though, everything has a lifespan, so I’ll do my best to guide you to the top gear out there. You can also try out some inner gloves, like these RDX T15s.
How do you Wrap Muay Thai Hand Wraps?
There’s different ways to put your wraps on because of the styles of wraps available. If you’re a beginner, then the best thing to do is let your trainer or instructor put them on for you until you’re able to do it by yourself.
You want to wear your hand wraps correctly, you don’t need them to loose or too tight, and on your first time that might be a difficult thing for you to gauge.
If you’ve got no choice and you have to do it yourself, then make sure that the hand wraps are covering all the areas of your hands and that they’re delivering your main protection around your knuckles, thumbs, and wrists.
So when you’ve wrapped it yourself and you’ve done it correctly, you’ll be able to make a tight fist without feeling any mild pain. At the same time, your wrapping shouldn’t come apart while you’re training.
I’ll go over the basic and advanced ways of applying Muay Thai hand wraps so you can have a better understanding of what you need to do.
If you’re still not sure then you should get someone who knows what he’s doing and learn from him until you’re good at it.
Basic Muay Thai Hand Wrap Technique
The basic hand wrap method will give you the least amount of protection.
Here’s the steps for doing this:
- Take and put the small loop that’s at the end of your hand wrap around your thumb.
- Then you should take the wrap and move it across to the top of your wrist and make several loops.
- Afterward, take the wrap and move it along the top of your hand and to your knuckles making a total of four loops around your knuckles.
- Now take the wrap from your knuckles and move it down across the top of your hand and to your wrist making another total of four loops around your wrist.
- Now you want to take the wrap from your wrist and move it up and across the top of your hand and to your knuckles again, but this time you’re going to loop the wrap around your knuckles only twice.
- Okay, take the wrap from your knuckles and move it across your palm to your thumb and loop it around your thump making sure to end back up at your wrist.
- Now take what you have left over from the hand wrap and loop it around your wrist.
- If there’s still a lot left over, you can use some over your knuckles and then come back to your wrist and end it their with a loop.
- If your Muay Thai hand wraps have Velcro, then your good to go, just make it secure and tight.
- If your hand wraps don’t have Velcro then tuck in your wraps under the loops on your wrist.
Now let’s go over the more advanced technique of wearing the hand wraps.
Advanced Muay Thai Hand Wrap Technique
This is the advanced technique used for hand wraps.
- Starting with your right hand you want to take the loop at the end of your hand wrap and put it against the knuckle of your right index finger while holding it in place with your right thumb, you need to use your left hand and loosely loop your wrap around your knuckles for a total of four times.
- Next you need to move the hand wrap down your fingers and put the bundle on your knuckles, using your right thumb and index finger to squeeze the bundle and hold it in its place.
- It’s time to take the wrap and loop it around your knuckles for three or more times ensuring the protective bundle is on top of your knuckles and that it’s not slipping in any direction.
- After this you need to take your wrap from your knuckles and move it down across your hand and under your thumb looping it around it.
- After making the loop around your thumb, take the wrap and move it over and across your wrist making some more loops around it as well.
- Now take the wrap from the inside of your wrist and move it over the top of your hand through the opening between middle and index fingers, then make a loop of your wrap around your knuckles and hold it there.
- You’re going to now take the wrap from your knuckles and move it down along the top of your hand, and make a loop around your wrist.
- After doing this, taking the wrap from the inside of your wrist you will move it along the top of your hand through the opening between middle and ring fingers, and making a loop around your knuckles to hold it there.
- At this point you’re going to take the wrap from your knuckles and continue to move it down across the top area of your hand and then loop that around your wrist.
- You’re going to start from the inside area of your wrist and move the wrap across to the top of your hand and through the opening between your ring and pinky fingers, and then loop it around your knuckles to hold it there.
- Finally, you’ll take the wrap from your knuckles and move it down the top of your hand and then looping it around your wrist.
- Sometimes you may end up with extra wrap, like about a foot or so, in this case just wrap that extra hand wrap around your thumb to protect even further.
- As with the basic technique, you’ll do the same thing here if you have a Velcro strap or you’ll place the end of your hand wrap under the loops protecting your wrist.
That’s it here for the advanced technique. I hope you’ve got it. Let me know in the comments if I was clear or not, so that I can better explain the steps if you need me to.
Muay Thai Gloves
When you’re training in the gym, sparring, or maybe hitting the bags, please wear protective Muay Thai gloves. Depending on the type of training you’re doing, there are different types of gloves that you should use.
Do I need special gloves for Muay Thai? Special gloves for Muay Thai have different uses such as the smaller basic bag models consisting of an elastic tie for the wrist and an insertion for the thumb, the Velcro strap that also include an insertion for the thumb, and the lace-ups for sparring.
When you start searching for your Muay Thai gloves you’ll want to buy all leather Thai gloves or you should make sure they’re mostly leather. Another thing you should look for is that the gloves have latex foam or something that’s similar for padding support.
What Weight Muay Thai Gloves Should I Get?
The amount of weight for the Muay Thai gloves you need depends on your use of the gloves as I’ve mentioned above. Check the table below.
Table 1. Muay Thai Gloves Size Chart.
Are 14 oz gloves good for heavy bag? The 14 to 16 oz sizes are ideally lace-ups and should be used for sparring, while the Velcro strap variations weighing 8 to 10 oz are mostly used for hitting the heavy bags and padded mitts with an instructor.
Should I get 14 or 16 oz gloves? If you’re planning on doing some sparring to get some real fighting experience, then you’re going to need the 14 to 16 oz lace-up gloves at some point. These gloves will give you better wrist protection than the Velcro gloves and they’ll last longer too.
The only thing about the lace-up gloves you’ll probably not like is that they’ll take longer to put on then the other gloves and that’ll slow you down when training. So have someone quick do it for you.
As far as the Velcro gloves, all Velcro will eventually lose its grip as your training time passes.
If you don’t have much options or you can’t buy the different types of Muay Thai gloves for your specific training needs, you can get by with just using the 14 oz gloves for all your training.
Just make sure that when you order your gloves that you know what hand size you need because they’ll be either small, medium, or large. So choose which size you know best fits your hands.
In general, when choosing gloves you should know that the heavier they are the bigger they are. If you’ve joined a Muay Thai gym or have access to something similar, there will be gloves available there for you to try out and see which ones feel best to you.
I know what you’re thinking, they’re probably smelly from dried sweat or they’ll have formed to someone else’s hands and not fit properly. If that’s what you find there and it’s just not an option for you, a new pair of gloves will be a good investment for you.
We’ll be covering some of the Thai gloves as soon as we’ve completed putting together everything we’ve got on the brands. The list we’ve put together is based on the most up to date research. Until the actual articles for these Muay Thai gloves are completed and ready to be published, there may be some changes but we’ll definitely let you know.
Also, I haven’t put the actual body weight to glove size in this article because each brand’s numbers may vary, so I’ve left that data to be included in our other articles on the gloves. Look forward to that soon.
Muay Thai Groin Guard
Do you need a groin guard for Muay Thai? Groin guards for Muay Thai are essential gear for protecting fighters from groin injuries that cause very intense pain, tightness, and muscle spasms.
You really don’t want to be regretting not wearing a groin guard after receiving an unintentional knee or kick to your groin area. It’s not a good feeling.
Today we have groin guards you can buy almost anywhere and they come in many types that are made from material that’s either steel or plastic.
When you’re training it’s best to use the plastic groin cups. They can also be used for light sparring. If your wondering why, it’s because they can easily be broken into pieces from a good kick or knee.
If I were you, I don’t think I’d take that kind of a risk because it’ll hurt you worse than if you weren’t wearing a groin guard. You’ll be feeling and in some serious pain.
It must be obvious now that the preferred groin guard of choice for sparring and competition is the one made from steel. So even if you were going to compete, it’s mandatory to wear a steel groin guard so you really don’t have a choice.
Since Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, they know all about sport and its protective gear and have made the groin guard mandatory for all competition.
Are Groin Guards Comfortable?
I know you might be thinking, “I hate wearing groin cups” or “they’re so uncomfortable while I’m training”, isn’t their something else I can use for protection? There is something else and it’s called a belly protector. The belly protector will cover your lower abdominal area and your groin.
You wear one as an alternative to a groin guard. These belly protectors will be made from latex foam but they’re only good for light kicks and knees, or punches.
I know there are some who will use them for much harder striking and that’s your choice, but you should be very careful since these protectors are wrapped around your stomach area like a weightlifter’s back belt.
My opinion is use both because now you’ve got groin and abdominal protection to the fullest.
When it comes time for you to look for a good groin guard, make sure you know that it fits. They’re mostly made to fit the average man, but you can buy special sized groin cups if need be. They will come in sizes from small to extra large.
I don’t want to dive too deep into this topic but you really need to make sure that your new groin guard fits you perfectly, otherwise you’re playing with potential injury. So please get the right size for you.
So let me tell you about what they used to do a long, long time ago.
You know when you hear someone elderly like maybe a grandfather who always says something like, “in the old days we had to do this or use that”, do you what ancient cultures had to do to protect their groin area from? If you want to believe it or not, they used tree bark and even seashells. Then they would use rope to tie the bark or shells to keep them from moving as their groin protection.
Muay Thai Shin Guards
Do I need shin guards for Muay Thai? Shin guards for Muay Thai help protect harmed or damaged shins during the action of kicking heavy bags or kicking pads, and are also used for contact training or sparring.
So if you have problems with your shins from training or maybe you’ve harmed them in some other way, you need to get some shin guards. Maybe you need to let your shins heal until you start training and using your shins.
Either way, shins guards are good for your Muay Thai and they’re part of the basic training gear you need to get started as a beginner if you are a beginner.
There are different styles of shin guards. Some will only cover your shins while others will cover your shins and your feet.
Your shin guards can come with Velcro straps or you can get them as lace-ups, it’s really your choice and what’s comfortable for you. Another thing is that there are shin guards made from soft cotton. These guards can be worn under your regular leather shin guards if you’re looking to have extra protection.
Muay Thai is a tough combat sport and I know you know that. Otherwise you wouldn’t be practicing it or thinking about getting into it. What I mean by tough is that if you’ve experienced any of the kicks and knees, they’re very powerful.
That’s why you have to train smart with protection and spar the same way.
So if you’re planning on getting into some serious training and hard fighting, make sure you get the leather shin guards. And you need to make sure that they’re encased with latex foam. Lastly, get the ones that cover both your shins and feet, they’re the best ones.
If want to shin guards that are easy to put on and take off then you can get the one with the Velcro straps.
If you want shin guards that are going to last longer and get your money and training’s worth, go with the lace-ups.
Again, just like with all the previous training gear I’ve listed for you, you need to try the shin guards on to make sure that they fit you.
You’ll know that they fit you when you see that the top of the guards come up to your knees and that they are covering both sides of your shins.
Muay Thai Shin Guards Size Charts
The shin guard’s size charts are going to vary according to each brand that’s listed above and those that are new or not well known. They’ve all got their own sizes. So I think that data will also serve you better in the article we’re going to do for Muay Thai Shin Guards.
Giving you random numbers based on one brand name or two is really not a good way of providing with the best information to help you find your ideal training gear.
So let’s move on and cover the Muay Thai mouthpiece.
Muay Thai Mouthpiece
Do you need a mouthguard for Muay Thai? Before beginning training in Muay Thai a mouthguard should be purchased and worn during all types of contact training, and is recommended to be worn during kicking bags or pads training.
The reason for wearing your mouthguard during these training times is to help you get used to them. If you’ve never bought a mouthpiece before it’s going to feel weird and you need to adjust to it. This includes your breathing and getting over any discomfort from the fact of having a large piece of plastic in your mouth.
As with the other training gear, you have options available that are provided to you in different shapes and sizes. There are mouthguards to fit everyone.
If you’re thinking about training in Muay Thai but decided against it because you wear braces, or you’ve wondered “can I train Muay Thai with braces?”, don’t worry because you can. You can train Muay Thai with braces as there are mouthguards available for you too.
You have the option of choosing single layer or double layer mouthguards. The single layer guards will stay attached to your upper teeth. The dual layer guards will fit both your upper and lower teeth, and lock your jaw in place.
If you decide to get the single layer, you’ll find them easier to breath with and more comfortable than the dual layer guards. Most people will get them for those reasons.
The dual layer mouthguards though are going to give you the greatest amount of protection. If you’re wondering how much protection is offered by the dual guards, it’s enough to prevent you from getting knocked out.
You see, when you get hit with a blow, the dual guards are going to keep your lower jaw from crashing into the base of your skull. That’s how the knockout would normally occur.
If you’re wondering what brand is the best to get for your Muay Thai training, there are many good ones out there.
Another thing I would suggest is that if you don’t want to buy a mouthguard from any of the brands I’ll covering, you can always go to your dentist and have some custom made especially for your teeth. But I hope you know that there’s going to be a big difference in the price of your dental mouthguards and the brands available for you to buy.
The dental guards are going to be expensive. Trust me, I had some made and I regretted it.
Before I conclude this section on the Muay Thai mouthguards, I want to give you some instructions on how to get them ready for your training.
I’m sure that you’ll get instructions from the brand you decide to with, but it doesn’t hurt to have extra information ready to help out.
How do you mold a mouthguard in boiling water? You can mold a mouthguard in boiling water with the boil and bite method using the following steps:
- Take a pot of water and heat it until it comes to a light boil.
- Take your mouthpiece and dip it in the water for around fifteen seconds until it starts to soften.
- Now remove your mouthpiece and let it cool for a few seconds.
- Take your mouthguard and put it in your mouth, bite down on it for a few seconds while you’re sucking in gently on it.
- The last step is simply remove your mouthpiece and just let it cool down.
Next I’m going to move into the headgear, so let’s begin now.
Muay Thai Headgear
Do I need headgear for Muay Thai? Headgear for Muay Thai is not necessary if two training partners who are familiar with each other are sparring lightly but if the two agreed to fighting hard, then it is highly recommended that headgear is used.
It’s a good idea for you and your training partner to set your terms before you start sparring. Don’t think that just because you’re putting on headgear makes you look weak, that’s not true.
The reality is that you’re protecting yourself from unnecessary injury and at the same time, you’re able to continue training in the combat sports style you’ve come to love.
Maybe you’re sparring for the first time and it’s against someone you really don’t know. You don’t know how good he is and you don’t know how easy he’ll take it on you during your sparring.
Maybe you’ll get a good hit in and he ups his game, then he’s coming in harder with a faster pace you can’t keep up with. Then you’d probably wish you had headgear on, right?
When I first started training as a beginner, I was put up against someone who was on the level of someone like a black belt. While we were sparring, he came in with a kick that lifted me up in the air, knocked the wind out of me, and really just shocked me.
I thought I a good fighter, even as a beginner. But you know what? When my instructor asked me how times do you think he hit you, I answered about two or three times. Something like that. He smiled and told me that I was hit about 23 or more times.
You see, my instructor told my sparring partner to go easy on me. I think he told him not to make contact. I’m not sure what I did, maybe I was being cocky, but my partner decided to show me he’s not on my level.
I guess what I’m saying is, put your headgear on because you’ll never be sure who you’re facing and what skills they poses.
What is the best headgear for sparring? There’s many brands and styles of headgear for sparring but Muay Thai is are well known for the open-faced headgear and the padded face bar headgear designed to protect the nose.
These two types of headgear are both good but the one that’s recommended for fighters to wear is the padded face bar. The reason is that it will protect you from pain and a broken nose.
The main thing to focus on when your looking for headgear is that it’s quality made and that it’s durable. Again with the headgear, the lace-ups are better than the Velcro straps, they just last longer.
Look for headgear with an all leather outer shell and a suede leather interior because this type of headgear is the most comfortable and the most durable. The headgear should also be a one-size-fits-all, that’s how most of them are.
Muay Thai Traditional Wear
This next item isn’t really about protective training gear, it’s more about a traditional and sacred amulets that traditional Thai fighters have handled with care. Never dropping them, and never stepping on or over them.
What is a Pra jiad? The Pra Jiad (also known as the Prajet, Prajioud, or Druang Rang) are sacred armbands worn by Muay Thai fighters having origins dating back to ancient times in Thailand when mothers tore off a piece of their surong (traditional dress) to give to their sons for good luck and protection during its warring era.
Muay Thai fighters who wore them believed that they were receiving the blessings of their mothers for safety. They would write prayers and spells on them.
A piece of a mother’s dress was torn off and used to tie around a fighter’s arms. This could be worn on one or both arms and the Pra Jiad stayed on the arms of the fighter before and during the actual fighting.
The symbolic act has changed over the years since ancient times. The Prajet is still worn but they’re no longer torn from a dress that belongs to your mother, you can buy them now just like any other Muay Thai product on the market.
For traditional Thai fighters though, there is still a ceremony for the making of a Prajet. Only now, the Prajets are made by the fighters themselves or by their instructors. If it is made by your instructor, it is believed to hold more power than if you were to make one as a fighter yourself.
The meaning behind the armbands has also changed, at least for foreigners. Now they represent a ranking system within foreign Muay Thai schools similar to other martial arts schools who use the belt system in the west.
Everyone has their traditions and beliefs. Whatever your reason for wearing the Prajioud, enjoy your Muay Thai training!
Okay, so the next section is about jumping rope? Seriously? Of course it is. Let’s see why.
Muay Thai Jump Rope
Is jump roping good for Muay Thai? Jump roping for Muay Thai is an excellent way for coordinating your lower and upper body by developing cardio conditioning, strengthening of the legs, and the body’s overall rhythm.
Okay, so are you going to be jump roping similar to how boxers use the ropes? Well, the quick answer is no. It’s a little different than how other western boxers and martial arts schools practice with the jump rope.
If you notice the western type of type of jump ropes, you’ll see that they’re smaller, lighter, and thinner than the ones used by Thai fighters.
How heavy is Muay Thai jump rope? Muay Thai ropes are thicker and heavier than speed ropes weighing around 1.5 to 2 pounds, and are made from thick plastic or rubber rope with wooden handles.
If you want to build your strength and evolve your cardio conditioning, then this is the way to do it.
What are the benefits of using a Muay Thai jump rope?
- Increase heart rate
- Explosive power
- Stronger calves
- Stronger shoulders
- Stronger punching
I just want to point out something to you though. If you lose your rhythm while exercising with one of these ropes and it swings onto your feet, it’s going to hurt, a lot. so be careful. It might be a great idea for you to start off with a smaller rope until you work on your technique, especially if you’ve never jumped roped for training purposes.
How do you jump rope in Muay Thai? Beginners in jump roping for Muay Thai should start with small jumps on the balls of the feet while hopping over the rope with as little distance as possible using small wrist movements to create small circles with the forearms.
While performing your jump roping, as a beginner you can try to breath in through your nose, and out of your nose or your mouth. Focus on your breathing because most beginners forget about breathing when it comes to training. Learning to breath correctly is very important as a combat fighter or for any martial art.
How long should you jump rope for Muay Thai? Jump roping for Muay Thai will greatly increase stamina and muscle endurance if practiced at a moderate pace of 15 to 20 minutes and 7 to 10 minutes for fast pace skipping.
You can start off slowly until you’re able to reach the times listed above and then go beyond that time into the half an hour time frame. This is the ideal time span that you want to achieve. If you can do more, that’s great. Just build up and don’t over do it.
Your focus is to get your body ready to train your techniques and jump roping using these heavy ropes is going to make your strong and give you endurance.
Next we’ll discuss the sparring vest and whether you need to get one or not.
Muay Thai Sparring Vest
The sparring vest is designed for protecting your midsection but it’s also made to allow you to maneuver while you’re wearing it, giving you a full range of motion.
They’re used in amateur fighting competitions and in the gym when you’re training in full contact. Most places known to have amateur competitions are more than likely going to have all the gear you need to wear before entering the ring for your match.
If you’re still want to purchase your own sparring vest, then make sure it’s made of leather or synthetic leather shells, and that it has foam chest plates. These vests are the lightest you can get and they are able to withstand the greatest amount of force throwing against them.
When looking for your new sparring vest, check that it has an adjustable back.
What should I wear to a Muay Thai class? Going to a Muay Thai class is no different than going to the gym wearing a pair of comfortable shorts and t-shirt, bring a towel, plenty of water to stay hydrated, and a change of any necessary clothing. Socks and shoes will not be worn during training.