Martial Arts

Are MMA Gloves Good For Heavy Bag Training

So the martial arts community seems to be at a divide on this subject. Some claim that you can’t hit the heavy bag with mma gloves, while others claim that you can hit the heavy bag with mma gloves. So which one is it ?

Both are somewhat right and wrong, though for the vast majority MMA gloves are sufficient for heavy bag training. Today we are going to discuss:

  • Why MMA gloves are good for punching bags.
  • Why MMA gloves are bad for punching bags.
  • Debunk some outrageous claims against using MMA gloves on the heavy bag.

So that we’re all on the same page by MMA gloves I’m referring to the standard 4oz MMA gloves also referred to as grappling gloves. I’m also assuming you’ve been training MMA for at least 1 year. So are MMA gloves good for heavy bag training ?

Are MMA Gloves Good For Heavy Bag Training

Why MMA Gloves Are Bad For Heavy Bags

Let’s first start discussing how MMA gloves can actually be bad gloves to use for heavy bags.

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Not wearing MMA hand wraps underneath your MMA gloves while hitting the heavy bags

This is the first issue I usually have to deal with. Though hand wraps aren’t necessary related to the type of martial art glove. One of the issues that makes ”MMA gloves bad for heavy bag training” is due to improper use.

The practice of wrapping your hands does not only relate to MMA gloves. It should always be your priority whether you’re going to be wearing any sort of martial arts gloves or not. Though there are exceptions when you don’t have to wear hand wraps but I’ll get more into that another time.

MMA hand wraps actually play a significant role when it comes to preventing injuries caused by striking heavy bags. I’ve had some coaches that claim hand wraps are more important than the gloves. Though I’m skeptical of that claim. Due to there being way too many variables such as the quality of the glove or the proper execution of techniques to be able to make such a bold claim. Nonetheless hand wraps definitely should be worn either way due to:

  • There cheap I mean your MMA gloves probably cost you around 40 dollars, while hand wraps will be around 10 dollars so why not spend an extra 10 dollars and significantly reduce your injury rate.
  • An increase in padding – I really find this one ironic. When some guy claims that MMA gloves are bad for a heavy bag workout due to little padding, than refuse to wear hand wraps.
  • Wrist support – Very important, especially if your MMA gloves are lacking wrist support. Personally I never really had serious issues with broken knuckles. Though messing up my wrist due to improper technique and not bothering with hand wraps happened quite a bit.
  • Keeping your knuckles in place, preventing injuries due to an improper fist.

Being an inexperienced MMA fighter

Being an inexperienced MMA fighter doesn’t necessarily mean MMA gloves are bad for heavy bag training. Though if you have never thrown a punch in your life, you’re going to feel your knuckles destroyed after a heavy bag session.

If you’re new to the concept of martial arts in general. I would recommend you buying an extra 7oz MMA glove just for heavy bag training.

Now a lot of other trainers disagree with me, they recommend their fighters to get 16oz boxing gloves. I really disagree with this concept. Unless of course, the student is finding the 7oz MMA glove really painful to practice in, than I would agree.

The main reason why I disagree with these coaches is because, it simply isn’t realistic. I’ll talk more about this when i’m discussing the benefits of MMA gloves while heavy bag training.

Another reason why I disagree with them on this subject is due to conditioning. I’ll talk more about this when I’m discussing the benefits as well.

If you’re new, just don’t go all beast mode on the heavy bag. Try to focus more on proper combos and proper technique form, till your knuckles adept. This will prevent you unnecessary injury and don’t worry power training will come.

You don’t practice MMA

Well I think this is obvious, but I decided to add it anyways. If you don’t practice MMA or a martial art that normally uses MMA gloves, most probably MMA gloves aren’t good for your martial art style.

Let’s take boxing, as an example.

This is because in boxing you tend to punch the heavy bag differently than in MMA. Due to the way the Boxing glove is, you sorta hit with your fingers if you know what I mean. While if you were to do the same strike with MMA gloves you’ll most probably hurt your fingers.

Why MMA Gloves Are Good For Heavy Bags

As we already discussed, I’m assuming you’ve already got experience in hitting proper martial arts equipment. While we’re on this topic, don’t punch walls, trees or some other outrages thing. This will not improve your striking at all, it will only damage your hands.

There are 2 main points, why training on the heavy bag with MMA gloves will benefit your MMA training greater than any other type of martial art glove.

  • Realistic training
  • Conditioning

Realistic training

As I have already said, while discussing why MMA gloves are bad for heavy bag training, if you don’t practice MMA. The same thing applies here. If you’re going to be using other types of martial arts gloves for training, you’re going to find it awkward to than spar with MMA gloves.

Besides the fact that punches are executed differently in different sparring gloves. In MMA we have to keep in mind that there is a grappling aspect in play. Which obviously can’t be replicated with boxing gloves or other bulky type of gloves, I can’t even grapple properly with 7oz MMA gloves let alone those types of gloves.

Now I know some of you guys are like, but how can you strike an opponent realistically with those gloves ?

Good point, first I’m going to argue against this question with the most generic comeback people usually give. Than say why I disagree with this argument and finally give you my real take on this question.

Most people will say that in reality, the sparring glove you use doesn’t affect the damage you cause your opponent. It only affects the damage done on your hands. Now I’m no scientist, but unless your sparring gloves bend the rules of physics I doubt that’s legit. This comeback mainly rose from this popular video about ‘Boxing gloves vs MMA gloves – Which one hits harder?’

Besides the fact that they used a human to do the punches on the heavy bag, like really how can you be certain the dude used exactly the same force for every shot. This alone makes the whole video unreliable, if you’re going to do a test like this get a machine to throw the punches as well. Let’s assume Bas Rutten threw every punch on the heavy bag exactly the same.

They are not calculating the area of impact, just because the force is the same doesn’t mean the damage is the same. It’s like if a woman steps on you with her heels, and a heavier guy steps on you with his shoes due to the area of impact the woman would actually do more damage to you. Therefore I disagree with the statement that MMA gloves do the same damage as boxing gloves due to the area of impact being bigger in boxing gloves therefore less damage to your opponent.

I explained why that argument is invalid, when discussing the safety of your opponent.

My real argument is why is this even an issue, like we’ve got knee strikes, elbow strikes, kick strikes all to the face and legal. All these techniques are significantly more dangerous yet we don’t put padding on them.


We’ve covered the importance of using MMA gloves on the heavy bag to develop proper form. Now a lot of people complain that you can’t go all out with MMA gloves on heavy bags. Really now, why not?

Does time spent training on the heavy bag equal to the quality of your training session. I think not.

What most people mean by ‘going all out’ is, for example they do an hour of heavy bag workout training with boxing gloves while they can only do 30 minutes of heavy bag training with MMA gloves.

This mainly has to do with human psychology, saying that you can last an hour on the heavy bag sounds cooler than 30 minutes right?

This is another issue why I don’t like students practicing the heavy bag with boxing gloves, because when they transcend to MMA gloves they get disappointed that they are not lasting as long.

You have to think of it like this are you practicing on easy mode (boxing gloves) or hard mode (MMA gloves)? It’s Obvious that you’re going to last less on the heavy bag if you’re using MMA gloves. But a heavy bag workout isn’t meant to be cardio training. It’s meant to condition your hands, practice proper technique form and give you an object to hit. If you’re using the heavy bag to build stamina (aerobic fitness) there are so many other types of training that provide that.

Don’t worry eventually your knuckles will condition themselves, making you last longer on the heavy bag. Quality training over long training will triumph every time.


So I’m ending this article here. I think I covered why MMA gloves are superior to any other sparring gloves, when it comes to heavy bag workouts. Assuming you are an MMA fighter, if you’re not this article doesn’t really relate to you. If you guys got any questions related to this subject, feel free to ask in the comments section.

Sources :
All images have been taken from pixabay or myself with a Creative Commons CC0 licence.
Videos are embedded so that the original creator will still gain the views and any monetization they have.

Are MMA Gloves Good For Heavy Bag Training
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Are MMA Gloves Good For Heavy Bag Training
The Main Majority Yes, Though There Are Exceptions When MMA Gloves Might Not Be Suitable For Heavy Bag Training {Discussing} Pros/Cons & Myths
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Martial Arts Nerd
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