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What is a Punching Glove?

By Carolyn Lawrence
Updated May 17, 2024
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A punching glove is a glove designed to protect the hands and wrists while a person is hitting, or punching, objects. Such gloves are most commonly used during boxing and cross-training fitness workouts. When incorporating boxing moves into a workout, owning the right punching glove can mean the difference between a great workout and a trip to the doctor.

A punching glove should supply ample coverage for the joints and bones in the hand and wrist, providing support for the boxer's joints and protection from injury for both the boxer and his or her spurring partner, if there is one. Using a punching glove can help to absorb the shock and pressure on the joints when a person hits an object. Having that pressure absorbed means there is less long-term damage done to the body. A punching glove protects the fragile bones in the hand from fracturing on impact by absorbing the pressure of the punch and dispersing it outwardly, away from the hand. Alleviating this pressure on the hand, and on the body of the spurring partner, means less injury and damage are done during the workout.

A person taking up boxing or mixed martial arts, whether as a competitive sport or simply as an addition to a workout routine, should look for a punching glove that has high-quality construction, thick padding and a solid wrist guard to help protect the fragile wrist. Many types of punching glove are available, from a full-coverage glove — such as the thick, traditional boxing glove — to the mixed martial art half punching glove, which has less padding and leaves the fingers exposed. A full boxing glove will offer the most protection, because it protects all hand joints and appendages. The mixed martial arts glove allows the fingers to be exposed to offer a person more use of the fingers for gripping and fighting. Mixed martial arts requires more use of the fingers than boxing, so the sport’s punching glove style is different to allow for the necessary flexibility.

No matter the fighting sport, a punching glove is a good addition to an enthusiast's repertoire. Safety is always a concern with a fighting sport, which makes the punching glove an essential part of the workout process. Anyone interested in taking up boxing or mixed martial arts should first consult with an expert to determine the proper equipment and approach.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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