As you might know, I’m not a pro MMA fighter but I am pro when it comes to laundry so I thought I dish a few tips.
First, if you do not want foul smelling boxing gloves, you need to wear hand wraps (always!) and wash them often. This is non-negotiable; safety and smell go hand in hand with this one. How often you say? If we were in a perfect universe, I’d say after each use. Practically, I’d go with every 3 wears – if you let them hang out and air dry between uses.
As for the actual washing, I like to keep them wrapped and jam them into a sock or the sleeve of one of my rashguards. If you have more money than sense, you can always buy a handwrap wash bag. Use a mild, non-bleach detergent.
For comparison, I washed two of my hand wraps with the differing methods; wrapped up in a coil (above left), and the toss-them-in-carelessly method (above right). When you just wash them as is, they often get kinked and tied up, which is super annoying. I employed the sniff test to the wrapped ones and even the core of the roll was fresh – despite my initial fear of the inner part of the wraps not getting washed correctly.
One word of warning though, some hand wraps are notorious for bleeding color into your laundry – sometimes I’ll wash hand wraps for the first time while I take a shower, oldschool style, to avoid the possibility of dying my other clothes.
As for drying, hanging up the wraps, I suggest the air-dry method. Hang them up somewhere with as little self-contact as possible and wait. Letting them dry out in sunlight will help deodorize them a bit, although sunlight can slightly degrade certain fabrics/colors. Some wraps claim they can be put into a clothes dryer. I’ve foolishly entrusted a few pair to my dryer – only to be spurned with twisted, knotted, ripped and shrunken hand wraps.
Two other miscellaneous tips: wrap the fabric in reverse (Velcro ending up in the coil’s core) so they roll directly onto your hand when putting them on and invest in several pairs of hand wraps so you’ll always have a clean pair- they can often be picked up in a cheap 3-pack of wraps online.
Do you have any spiffy-clean tips? Let me know in the comment section below.
Tags: Gear, handwraps, laundry
There are four items you’re going to need if you want to train at least moderately hard in MMA (not counting clothing, you nude weirdos).
Mouthpiece: At first, you can pick up the ultra cheap boil and bite ones ($2-$10) and upgrade to the nicer ones later. I use a custom mouthpiece fitted by a dentist, but that can be pricey.
Gloves: The basic ones I’d pick up are the hook and loop style gloves, $19-$40. Save the fingerless ones for later.
Handwraps: If you’re doing more than a small amount of punching, you’re gonna need a few pair to protect your paws. I like the mexican style, 180″. The length is non-negotiable; longer is better. At ~$3 buck a pop, pick up two different styles and see what you like.
Athletic cup: Many dudes (and ladies) dissuade themselves from wearing them. Many of them regret this decision.
Things for later: Rash guards, headgear, punching mits, punching bags, shin guards, etc.
There comes a point in every man’s life where he asks himself, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could train hardcore MMA, but never have to leave the house?” My brothers, the answer is hella-frickin yes, it would indeed be awesome. I’m glad you asked.
What a Man Needs
(Now when say “man”, I really mean mankind IE the brotherhood of mixed martial artists; although the sisterhood of the flying knee could easily be included.)
You need many things, but right now you need a place to do your mixed martial arts. You may already have a gym you attend, but sometimes you just need a private space for you.I don’t have to convince you why, you’ve got the reasons. But as you construct it out in your mind, remember that you really have 4 major needs when it comes to making the mixed martial arts home gym.
Combined, I call them the QUAD: Space, Mats, Bag, and Weights. There are many cool things one could buy and make, but I love to keep it simple. Not only are the basics affordable, but the serve multiple purposes and usually do them pretty well.
SPACE, The first frontier
Space is the primary requirement for an mixed martial arts man-cave; more is better. Outside of spending cash, this is your primary restriction. But don’t fret, even if you live in short ceiling apartment on the top floor you can still have a little slice of heaven, in terms of the MMA home gym, but don’t expect the whole pie.
Vertically, you need space where you can lift items overhead, and a ceiling high enough to jump and not hit your head is a bonus. Horizontally, 8×8 feet square is the basic minimum for me. You can feasibly work a heavy bag and do some techniques in that space, but it’s tight. 10×10 square feet is much better and 12×12 is great. If you’ve got more, congrats to you. In my basement, all I can spare is one 11×13 patch, but I can grapple, work a heavy bag, and do pretty much any lift I need on it.
(Image courtesy of ygor)
BAGS: A heavy bag for punching and kicking
If I could only buy one item for MMA training at home, it’d be a heavy bag for punching. Working the heavy bag is a great workout by itself, but you can also pick it up and practice slams, work ground and pound, and number of lifts. I know many guys get mats first, but this is folly. Your training buddies will let you down, get sick, have jobs, etc; when you’re alone you need a heavy bag. It will never leave you. Additionally, if you can afford it, go leather. A good leather Muay Thai bag can outlast your ability to punish it for years. I’ve ruined a canvas and fake-leather bag over the course of one summer (it was an awesome summer though). Get the simplest, largest, highest-quality bag you can afford and resist the urge to deviate and get “specialty” bags. Speed bags, water bags, body/pear/tear shaped bags are fun but limited in scope; just get a quality bag that you know you’ll use and use often.
If I may offer a few more suggestions:
If you can afford/manage it, buy the heavy bag filled. While it’s nice to craft a specific weight and feel for your bag, it’s also a huge pain in the butt. Online, people have suggested that you find leather scraps, clothing factory scraps, old socks, etc. The problem is most of us don’t have a million pairs of socks and ragged tee shirts to sacrifice, nor do we happen to live next to a tannery that happens to give out it’s excess leathers. I spent a couple of days on a garbage treasure hunt searching for stuff to pack in my bag. 40-80 lbs is a lot of fabric material. Trust me, its more than you think.
Moreover, if you don’t pack it right, you leave uneven spots inside the bag which can cause you to injure your hands when striking, or in my case, kick a hole right in my bag due to a loosely packed soft spot.
Along with the bag, you need hand protection. Boxing wraps and bag gloves. Don’t be tempted – if you have enough funds to get a single pair of gloves, get some hook and loop boxing gloves. The fingerless MMA ones are nice, but I’d save them for my second pair. As for the wraps, I prefer the stretchy (“Mexican style”) hand wraps. Stretchy or no, get the longer ones – they are sooooooooooo much better than the short ones.
There are a couple of good routes to take with mats, all depending on how you plan to use your training space. If you think you’re going to be bringing in guys to train takedowns or judo – if the space allows it – you’re going to need the pricier mats. Zebra Mats, Dollamur Mats, Swain Mats etc. If you plan on restricting your partner exercises to just BJJ rolling, you can get away with the much cheaper interlocking mats (I bought mine from Costco when they had a run of them). Even if you plain to always train solo, you’ll still want to get mats. Yoga, break-falls, rolls, and grappling drills feel much nicer on mats.
Also, consider getting mats for at least one wall so you can practice working off cage wall. Places you might want to check are: KSL.com classifieds, Craigslist, Matsmatsmats.com, etc.
Whatever your decision, make sure you get some good cleaning solution to mop up with (stuff like KenClean, see my post on ringworm). What you’re looking for is an chemical that will kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses – while simultaneously not burning your face off nor ruining your mats.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Caddy)
If you’re on a budget, you want to get the most bang for your buck. I’m a huge fan of the kettle bell. Buy a big one (one pood/ one and a half pood) and a smaller one. If you just can’t convert to the party line yet comrade, grab a classic Olympic weight set. One bar, some plates, a couple of clips and maybe a bench. For me, a bench is completely optional, and something silly like a preacher curl bench is downright retarded.
If you just have to accessorize, I’d pick a medicine ball, a pull-up bar (maybe gymnastic rings if it suited the space), a bosu/yoga ball, and a sturdy plyometric box.
Things I’d never get: a treadmill, any kind of ab machine, and wrist/ankle weights. The reason I’d never get these things is the same reason I’d not shave my whole body hairless, wear pink satin undies and watch Jane Austin films unless forced into it by an attractive member of the opposite sex. Because I’m a freakin’ man … and because these things add little value to the whole scheme of my gym.
Naming your training space
Now you’ve set apart some space and spec’d it out how you’d like, you need an a propos moniker for it. And by “an a propos moniker” I mean a badass name for the place. Below is a chart to help you decide. Feel free to let me know what you call your home dojo in the comments!
If you want to go the extra mile, consider the following goodies.
- Video Camera – or use your webcam on your laptop to video yourself and then critique
- Sparring gear for two
- Extra heavy bag specifically for ground and pound
- Large tire + sledge hammer
- Rope climbing station / rock climbing wall
- Striking mitts
Again, I’d love to hear about how you’ve decked out your training facilities in your home.
Tags: Gear, home gym, mma at home, training at home