Do you want to hear something weird?
The best focus mitts have just as much to give you whether you are the striker, or the one taking the hit.
That’s counterintuitive, right?
I want to get into that a little more, but before I do let me explain my plan here.
This short guide to focus pads will show you how these helpful training tools can improve your boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and more.
I will thrash out the differences between each style, show you the right way to use these focus mitts, recommend a few good training videos and wrap up with 10 boxing focus mitts reviews.
- Why use Boxing or focus Mitts?
- Different styles of focus pads and punching Mitts
- How to Hold Boxing Mitts? How to Use Focus Mitts?
- How to Train with Boxing Mitts? Boxing Focus Mitt Workout Routines
- Top 10 Best Focus Mitts Reviews 2018
- TITLE Ultra Lite Incredi-Ball Punch Mitts
- TITLE Platinum Punch Mitts Pair
- Ringside Panther Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitt
- RDX Boxing Pads Cowhide Leather Hook & Jab
- Winning Small Curved Punch Mitts Cm10
- Twins Special Punching Mitts Curved
- Fairtex Contoured Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitts
- Windy Curved Punch Mitts
- Adidas Focus Mitts Long
- Combat Sports Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitts
Why use Boxing or focus Mitts?
How holding the pads helps you
One of the greatest benefits of pad work comes to those holding the pads.
If you use your time as the mitt holder well, you will train yourself to focus on how your partner moves. You will begin to pick up on subtle, even subconscious queues that tell you what punch or kick that partner is about to attempt.
Don’t think of pair work as a waste of time if you are the one catching the punches!
The more strikes you see coming your way, the better you get at “seeing” punches before they happen.
Practice makes perfect and this goes for both landing punches and receiving them well.
Since pad work is just practice, you don’t have the preoccupation of being hit and can relax and focus on how the moves come at you, what they look and feel like, and what happens just before they are thrown.
Holding the pads helps beyond just learning to read your partners movements.
It also trains you, if you practice, to keep your eyes open as punches are thrown at you. It can desensitize you to strikes so you won’t flinch, which is the last thing you want to do while sparring or in a real match.
How Mitt Work with the Coach improves your performance
You often see coaches holding the pads and working with their guys.
Sure, they do this so the trainees learn speed, accuracy, proper form and all that, but coaches have something else to gain by holding the mitts.
Coaches can use mitt training sessions as a valuable tool to assess and correct their trainees. Coaches can see firsthand how their students throw punches, their timing, and their form and give instant feedback and correction to help the student improve faster.
How Focus pad work helps you as you practice striking
Of course, there are many ways that mitt work helps the one throwing the punches.
- Accuracy – continued practice where you are actually landing the strikes to the center of the pad in the correct sequence of the combo will improve your striking accuracy.
- Form – this is especially true if you are doing focus mitt work with a coach or trainer who can evaluate and correct your form, although an advanced student can also offer assistance.
- Timing, Distance & fluidity – all three can be practiced and improved with mindful pad work. You must be diligent in evaluating and constantly adjusting your technique.
- Offense – You can practice offensive and evasive moves such as ducking, bob and weave and slipping while engaged in mitt work.
- Footwork – a good partner or coach will keep you on your toes by moving and pivoting, like you would during sparring or a real fight. This is a good opportunity to practice footwork in addition to striking.
- Speed – as you master form, accuracy, timing, stance and distance, you can gradually increase the speed.
Different styles of focus pads and punching Mitts
Flat mitts can be hit from a wider range of angles than curved mitts, They also have a tendency to deflect punches and your punch can slip off them easier.
I have heard flat mitts are faster than curved, but this might be theory only.
Flat mitts are good for combos and practicing timing and fluidity because the one holding the mitts can set up the next strike easier. With curved mitts, the strike does not bounce off as readily and takes more time to move to the next strike.
Curved or Contoured Mitts
These mitts have a curve that fits the natural curve of the palm. They are easier to hold, as your hand cups the curve. The make it easy to “catch” the strike or punch too.
They may not be the best choice for kicking, speed combos or elbow and knee work, if the pad is too curved.
Curved mitts are a good choice if you are dealing with a heavy hitter or practicing for power.
Micro, Mini or Cuban style Mitts
These are palm sized mitts designed to train for speed and accuracy.
They are usually less padded than other styles too, so don’t hit these with force. Agility and precision are what you are after when training with these.
Air mitts are designed to absorb impact from kicks, hits, knees, elbows etc. They are usually heavily padded and have a decent size striking surface.
Good for MMA, Muay Thai and all styles of martial arts.
How to Hold Boxing Mitts? How to Use Focus Mitts?
You might be surprised to learn that holding the mitts incorrectly causes problems for you and your partner.
Learning the correct way to hold boxing mitts is a crucial skill in your life as a boxer or martial artist.
The following videos give you a visual demonstration of the proper way to hold focus pads.
Incorrectly holding the mitts can cause you injury. Holding the mitts too far from your body, or out to the side can cause shoulder strain and pain.
How to hold focus mitts for Boxing
Holding the mitts in the wrong position, too high, too low etc causes your partner to learn bad form and affects his game too.
Do yourself and your mates a favor and learn the proper way to use focus pads.
How to Train with Boxing Mitts? Boxing Focus Mitt Workout Routines
Muay Thai Mitt Routine
The ABC Mitt Workout – an easy to learn pad work routine.
Freddie Roach trains a boxer with Mitts
Freddie Roach is a famous boxing trainer who has worked with Manny Pacquiao, Julio César Chávez, Jr., and Georges St-Pierre. This easy to follow training will cover some mitt work for boxing.
Advanced focus drills using Micro Mitts for speed work
Now to the part you have been waiting for, let’s get into the best boxing mitts reviews!
Top 10 Best Focus Mitts Reviews 2018
TITLE Ultra Lite Incredi-Ball Punch Mitts
Review: These popular Title Incredi-ball punch mitts have a special feature, a ball built into the mitt. The ball allows you to grip the mitt without the need to use an adjustment lock down strap, so they are really easy to get on and off.
The ball is hard and provides resistance and feedback to the boxer, another reason this mitt is so well liked.
It is simple and affordable, what more do you need?
- Easy to hold while catching punches, they stay on well.
- Great for punching-solid feedback-ideal for boxing.
- Very, very firm.
- Not ideal for kicking because the ball is too hard.
TITLE Platinum Punch Mitts Pair
Review: These Title Platinum punch mitts are the real deal.
They are made with high quality leather, have a Velcro adjustment strap on the back, and nearly three inches of padding for punching and kicking make these some of the best focus mitts for heavy hitters.
These are hard core, sturdy mitts and worth a few extra bucks.
- Leather inside and out, which means you can wipe them down on the inside.
- Velcro adjustment for a secure fit.
- Target circle bump in the center of the pad for feedback and aim.
- Leather interior can be slippery when wet.
Ringside Panther Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitt
Review: These ringside Panther mitts are standard size focus mitts with no adjustment strap. Instead they feature a ball shaped cushion you grip as you catch kicks and punches.
The ball cushion does a good job keeping your hand secure and since there is no strap to mess with, these are super easy to get on and off.
Very durable, suitable for punching and kicking and some of the best focus mitts for MMA.
- Leather striking surface.
- Firm striking surface.
- Easy on/easy off style.
- Hand area is on the small side, may fit snug.
RDX Boxing Pads Cowhide Leather Hook & Jab
Review: These RDX focus mitts are priced right and have some great features. There is a ball shaped cushion inside to help you hold on to them as you take punch after punch.
The interior is washable synthetic leather, the mitt has a curved shaped, making it great for power punches, plus they have a Velcro adjustment strap for added security.
- Synthetic Maya hide leather inside and out-durable and washable.
- Well padded with three separate shock absorbing layers.
- Curved to receive hard punches well.
- Ventilated mesh panels keep your hands cool.
- These are larger mitts, 10” tall.
Winning Small Curved Punch Mitts Cm10
Review: Small, light, and designed for accuracy, these micro mitts will take your training to the next level in terms of speed and accuracy. They are slightly curved, made of durable synthetic leather, and are small for quick maneuvering.
Famous boxing coach Freddie Roach uses several different styles of custom made winning micro mitts/ Cuban mitts when he trains boxers, as seen in this video.
- Only 8.7 ounces – super light for speed.
- Easy on/off, no adjustment strap.
- Measures 21 cm by 17cm with a 4cm thick pad.
- A bit expensive considering they are not real leather.
Twins Special Punching Mitts Curved
Review: These high quality twins focus pads are made with 100 % cow hide leather making them durable, washable, and resistant to odor.
They have no adjustment strap, making them easy to get on and off.
They have a curved surface and are great for receiving hard punches. The punching surface is a little smaller than average, which makes them lighter and suitable for both speed work and power work.
- 100 % cow hide leather inside and out.
- On the smaller side, 18 cm by 27 cm and 4.5 cm thick.
- Open finger, very breathable, won’t stink.
Fairtex Contoured Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitts
Review: These Fairtex focus mitts are made for martial arts, Muay Thai, punches, kicks, elbows and anything else you can throw at it. They are solid and offer great feedback, making them satisfying to hit.
- Made with real leather, inside and out.
- Solid and sturdy, with triple layered high density padding that can take a beating.
- Designed for Martial arts- kick, hit, elbow, knee, and whatever else.
- Can be tight on larger hands.
Windy Curved Punch Mitts
Review: These curved leather Windy Punch mitts are some of the best you can buy.
They are all leather, with open fingers that allow your hands to breathe and will not get stinky.
They have a smaller surface that the mass produced mitts you might find in the studio, but that helps you practice speed and accuracy.
- 100 percent cow hide leather inside and out.
- Curved surface allows secure hold on the mitt.
- Open fingers, breathable and washable and won’t get stinky.
- May slip a little if you sweat.
Adidas Focus Mitts Long
Review: These adidas long punching mitts are made with boxers and kick boxers in mind. They have an extended punching surface.
- 12” long by 7.5 “ wide.
- Interior grip ball to help you hang on to the mitt.
- Long pad great for kicking.
- Palm area is hard to clean.
Combat Sports Training Target Focus Punch Pad Mitts
Review: These combat sports micro mitts are designed to train for accuracy and speed. They have a small hitting surface, some of the most compact focus pads available.
- Small internal arch for wrist support.
- Easy on/off-no back strap.
- All leather construction.
- Not for hard kicks.
Don’t wait. Get prepared to win.
Level up your training now. Get a pair of training mitts and get to work!
If you are a beginner or on a tight budget, Title mitts and RDX pads are some of the best focus mitts available for the money.
If you are advanced, why not consider a pair of micro mitts like those from Combat Sports or Winning to advance your speed and accuracy?