Summer is a great time to take your martial arts training outside. Switching up your routine with a little outdoor training is a great way to get some fresh air and a fresh perspective.
But a change in your routine also means that you need to take a little more time to plan ahead. When you’re doing your regular classes or sparring sessions at your regular gym, you’ve got everything down to a science. You know where to go, what equipment is there for you to use, and what you’ll need to pack.
When you decide to train outdoors, there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider. You’ll have to prepare for the weather, and maybe come up with a backup plan. You’ll need to have a plan for training safely and responsibly in hot weather. And you’ll need to figure out what to pack.
We’ve covered hot weather training tips in this blog before. We’ve also looked at how to keep yourself and your gear fresh when things get hot and sticky. Now let’s talk about what kind of martial arts gear you’ll need for your outdoor training.
In our last blog, we looked at what you’ll need to bring along for mat-based training in grappling arts like wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. This time, we’re covering everything you’ll need to pack for an outdoor training session for martial arts that involve striking like Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Tae Kwon Do.
If you’re planning on doing your outdoor martial arts training in shoes or other protective footwear, mats are optional. If you have a relatively flat patch of ground to work on, you’ll be able to create a good training session without them. If you can’t find a flat enough space, or the surface is too hard, you might feel better putting down some jigsaw mats before you start.
If you would prefer to train barefoot, you will definitely need to bring along some mats like the ProForce® Mini Mat or the ProForce® Deluxe Reversible Jigsaw Mat. (Which you can pack in a ProForce® Jigsaw Mat Case for easy transportation.)The soles of your feet will thank you.
If you regularly train and/or compete in footwear like boxing shoes or ProForce® Lightning Kicks, then you should pack a good backup pair for your outdoor training session. Look for a pair that’s still solid enough to provide you with the right foot and ankle support, but now so new that you’ll worry about scuffing them up or getting a little dirt on them.
If you usually train barefoot, but you’re not sure about your outdoor training setup, you might want to consider bringing along a pair of athletic shoes. You’ll probably have to modify your kicks if you do the session in shoes. But that’s better than hurting your feet on other surfaces and having to deal with blisters and peeling when you go back to the mats.
If your outdoor workout involves Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, or MMA, you will probably want to pack a pair of gloves. The rule that we talked about for shoes applies here, too. You’re looking for a pair that will give you the right cushioning and support, but you don’t want to take your best gear to the great outdoors.
If you don’t have a pair that you feel comfortable using outdoors or you don’t have the space, you could also try a shadowboxing workout.
If you are training with gloves, you’ll need to bring some kind of target for them to strike. If you’ve got the space and you don’t mind hauling around bigger equipment, a strike shield like the ProForce® Tombstone Shield is a versatile piece of equipment that can accommodate a wide array of punches, elbows, knees, and kicks.
But if your space is limited or you’re looking for something more convenient, a pair of focus mitts are easy to pack and can be used for all sorts of target training.
Pack or wear something that will be comfortable and cool to exert yourself in when you’re outdoors. A long-sleeved or short-sleeved rash guard will help you keep the sweat and the sun away from your skin.
We don’t recommend doing any heavy—or even moderate—sparring in your outdoor sessions. It’s much wiser and safer to leave that kind of training for a more controlled environment.
If you’re not sparring, you won’t need to bring your sparring gear along for your outdoor workout. But you will need to remember any protective gear that you use for technique training and conditioning, which could include handwraps, shin guards, and mouth guards.
Everything that we said about water in the mat training checklist applies here, too. Hydration is an important part of any training, and it becomes even more essential when you’re training outdoors in the sun and heat. Be sure to pack at least one full water bottle to keep your outdoor martial arts session as safe and effective as possible. And don’t forget to drink what’s in them!
Keep a package of cleaning wipes in your gear bag and be sure to wipe down any gloves, mats, and focus training equipment you’ve used during your training session. This will help to prevent bacterial buildup, which will keep you feeling and smelling a lot better.
A Gear Bag
Like we said in the mat training checklist, a well-ventilated gear bag will make your gear easy to transport and help air that gear out on the way home from a sweaty summer workout.