11 Must Have Items For Making Your Home Boxing Gym
Boxing is a sport with very few barriers to participation. So long as you’ve got your fists, a pair of gloves and a worthy opponent, you’re good to go. Boxing training, however, requires a little more. If you’re ready to create your personal in-home boxing gym, then there are a dozen indispensable pieces of equipment that you must fit your space out with. Let’s check them out to make sure that your home gym is ring worthy.
The heavy bag is the focal point of any boxing gym. It requires hardly any floor space, yet it affords you the opportunity to do a range of boxing workouts, while relieving your stress at the same time.
When shopping for a heavy bag, you have a number of options. In addition to the free standing hanging bag, you can get wall mounted bags, angled bags and even bags that are in the shape of your opponent. Yet, the old school hanging heavy bag remains the standard. Whether it’s hung from a wall mounted bracket, or an overhead beam, you need to have at least one hanging bag in your place.
The mounting of your bag is very important. You need a solid, secure, mounting kit that will instill confidence when you’re pounding the hell out of your heavy bag. Go with a minimum of three quarter inch bolts and fasteners. When it comes to the bag itself, make sure that it is constructed of a heavy duty leather hide. Most bags are filled with tightly packed cloth rags, However, you want a bag that does provide a little bit of give in order that you don’t totally annihilate your hands.
Quality hand protection is vital if you are to survive in the boxing game. Get into good habits from the very start by investing in some top notch wraps and bandages.
Here’s what you need:
- Crepe Bandages
- Hand Wraps
- Gel-filled Undergloves
Crepe Bandages - These are the standard bandages that are used medically. You can pick them up from your local pharmacy. Don’t go for the basic cotton variety, however, as they won’t offer enough stretch in the fabric. Ask for bandages that are 8-10 cm wide. You’ll want about 4 meters of length.
Hand Wraps - These are a commercial upgrade of the crepe bandage. They are constructed of tightly woven fabric. They include a loop and a velcro fastener for sturdy application. Hand wraps are available in a range of colors. They will give you better protection than crepe bandages.
Gel-Filled Undergloves - These are like fingerless workout gloves with the addition of gel protective padding. They are a convenient, but more expensive alternative to bandages and wraps. Make sure that you get snugly fitting gloves, as loose undergloves can cause friction type injuries.
Boxing gloves come in all shapes and sizes. However, there are three basic categories that you need to be aware of:
- Competition gloves
- Sparring gloves
- Bag mitts
Competition Gloves - Competition gloves are thinner at the knuckle, the wrist section is longer and the padding is more evenly distributed. They come in 8 oz or 10 oz options.
Sparring gloves - These are heavier than the competition model, affording the boxer more protection. You will spar a lot more than you will actually fight in the ring, so sparring gloves need to offer you a lot more padding. Because of this the gloves are heavier than competition gloves, ranging between 14 and 18 oz.
Bag Mitt - The bag mitt is a pared down version of the boxing glove that allows you to feel the power of your punch a lot more. You can get a thumbless version, but this tends to detract from the feel of a real boxing glove. They weigh between 10 and 12 oz and come in a range of colors.
Without a timing device, your home gym boxing workouts will be haphazard. Because you are training for a specific sport with timed rounds and rest periods, your training needs to simulate that pattern as closely as possible. You should be sparring or hitting the heavy bag for three minutes, then resting for a minute or less.
You can purchase a specific ring timer which you can mount to the wall.It will provide you with a visual timer as well as a noise activated timer and can be pre-set with a range of training options. Ring timers, though, are relatively expensive and can make quite some noise, so may not be the best option for an in-home application.
When you’re boxing, you cannot be wearing a wristwatch, so you need a timing device which can suit your application. The arm band personalised timer is an option that works for some. With it you can set your round and between round times and it will beep to signal when to stop. The only drawback is that the constant movement of your arm muscles may work the device free.
Pocket timers are another option. You won’t be able to reach into your pocket to check the time, but they do come with an audible signal that will keep you on track. Some versions can be clipped to your shorts if you don’t have a pocket.
Skipping is the preferred cardio option for boxers, and with good reason. It is the most cost effective, space friendly and efficient way to get into great shape known to man. Look for a rope that is made of leather and either wooden or steel handles. The benefit of leather is that it is very durable and it is heavy enough to provide for high speed skipping.
Contrary to what many non gym-goers think, mirrors in gyms are not there to admire your muscles. They are an important way for you to monitor your form. To improve your boxing technique, you need the immediate feedback that the mirror provides. The mirror can even serve as your opponent when you’re shadow boxing.
You want to set up a mirror that will allow you to see the entire body. This is important because boxing success depends upon the ability to coordinate the upper and lower body. For that, you need to be able to see the two parts working together. Make sure that you place a good backing on your wall mounted mirror, to protect it against shattering.
Boxing isn’t all about the heavy bag and sparring. Developing core strength is a key component of a complete boxing program. That means getting down on the floor. And that means having a quality mat to provide comfort and to soak up the sweat.
You’ll want an exercise mat that will allow you to lay down in a natural position without parts of your body hanging over the edge of it. Make sure that the mat is comfortable but not so soft that it will move from side to side when you are exercising on it.
To get fight ready, you need to hit the weights. That means having a range of dumbbells, barbell, and kettlebell gear available for your use. You’ll want a quality steel barbell with knurled hand grips. You don’t necessarily need an Olympic bar, but you will want a bar that is a minimum length of six feet. Grab some ezy-on collars to keep the weight secure.
Investing in a full range of dumbbells can get very expensive. You can cut costs dramatically by purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells that allows you to preselect a weight from between 10 lbs and 80 lbs (depending on which model you buy) and lift that weight dumbbell off of a bed of weight plates.
You’ll also want at least 3 pairs of kettlebells to allow you to perform unique moves like goblet squats and swings. Get yourself a pair each of the 43, 44, and 53 lb kettlebells. Read our review of best kettle bells here and how to choose the right kettle bells for your home gym.
You’ll also need weight plates. The most economical way to buy them is in a set. Start off with a 160 lb set and build from there as your strength level increases.
The maize bag is a small, pear shaped bag that has a maize filling. It looks somewhat like a speed bag. The maize filling is what makes this bag so effective in the boxer’s arsenal. It allows the puncher to feel the hit much more than the heavier bag. One reason for this is that the maize bag doesn’t have the spring that a heavy bag does. The shape of the bag also provides more opportunity to train with hooks and uppercuts. This makes it a great complement to the heavy bag.
Pads are an essential part of the training mix. When you’re training with the heavy bag, or even when you’re shadow boxing, you are the driver; you get to call the shots. However, when your training partner slips on the focus pads they are now dictating the action. This makes the experience a lot more fight realistic.
Don’t get a pair of focus pads that are too large. You want them tight and focused.
You want your home boxing gym to have atmosphere. While, the bulk of that comes from the attitude of the guys training in the facility, you can help out by putting up posters that will get you, and whoever else is privileged enough to train in your facility, with the inspiration to push their limits. Of course, there are some fantastic Ali posters out there. But don’t forget the other old timers like Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Sonny Liston.
You should also compile a playlist of motivational workout music to train by. Whether you plug into the latest stereo system or play it off your laptop, blasting out some mood enhancing sounds can be the difference between your workout being ordinary and out of this world.