The Influence of a Padded Hand Wrap on Punching Force in Elite and Untrained Punchers

Andrew J. Galpin, Colleen N. Gulick, Kathy Jacobo, Brian K. Schilling, Scott K. Lynn, Ryan T. McManus, Pablo B. Costa, Lee. E. Brown


Punching is integral to success in combat sports, making it a frequent activity during practice/training. Improving safety of this activity benefits both the athlete and training partners. This study was designed to 1) test the precision and reliability of a commercially available striking device and 2) assess the influence of a novel padded hand wrap on punching force in elite and untrained punchers. Fourteen male professional boxers and mixed martial artists (PRO; age=29.2±5.6y; height=180.3±9.0cm; mass=87.1±17.9kg, winning %=73.8±13.8%, number of victories via knockout/technical knockout=35.6± 21.9%) and 24 untrained male punchers (UNT; 27.6±6.9y, 177.6±18.3cm, 84.3±16.9kg) wore a standardized boxing glove and performed 20 maximal punches (4 sets of 5) into a device designed to measure punching force. All participants performed, in a counterbalanced order, 2 sets of 5 with a standardized hand wrap and 2 sets of 5 with the same wrap plus an additional 1.2cm thick cylinder 4g foam-like pad (WRAP) placed over the knuckles. PRO produced significantly more punching force than UNT, regardless of condition. Punching force was lower by 12.6% (p<0.05) for PRO and 8.9% (p<0.05) for UNT with WRAP (compared to no WRAP). These findings suggest WRAP significantly reduces punching force, which may be important for long-term safety of the puncher’s hand and/or the person receiving the strike.

Keywords: safety, punching, striking, hitting, combat, pad

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