Effects of boxing training on hands

Anyone here into boxing/martial arts? If so, has doing it damaged your hands or impacted in your playing?

Two things have happened over the last handful of years:
1 - I have become a fan of boxing
2 - I have put on weight and I’m getting quite lardy!!!

So along with running, I was thinking of taking up boxing training/boxercise classes for more of an intense fat burning workout. However, I was wondering whether this might increase the likelyhood of issues with the hands???


I’ve heard of this nasty hand injury called a “boxer break”. I imagine it being terrible for guitar playing lol! Other than that warning, I really don’t know.

I do remember reading other things on this forum (sorry I can’t recall exact threads) of people who had some ‘fight training’ injuries and complained about stuff like a guitar holding position and shoulder pain. Maybe it depends on how much actual fighting will be involved? I’m sure the other “Rocky Balboa” aspects that go along with boxing will be good for you.

Good luck though and great job wanting to be active! My sedentary job (and the fact that pizza and hamburgers are delicious) aren’t doing me any good either!!!

I don’t have first-hand experience, but I’d imagine something like boxing training with properly wrapped hands would be way less dangerous than something like Judo where your fingers are in peril fighting for grips etc. That said, I think boxers are at greater long-term risk than non-boxers for osteoarthritis of the hands. FWIW, the most gnarled hands I’ve ever seen in person were on a guy who played professional football (the egg-shaped football) in the 1970s.

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I guess it just depends on how far into it you plan on getting. I’m sure you can reap the benefits of it without going too hard, but any impact sport over time will likely lead to problems later regardless if it’s boxing or jogging. The thing is that you can always try it out for a while to see if you even like it, and then make the judgement whether or not it has a negative impact on the other things you want to do. Other than that, weight training is one of the most body transformative things you can do, and is pretty low impact. It may force you to eat better too, since you would be wasting your time otherwise, well unless you plan on doping. I do agree though pizza and hamburger sure are tasty.

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Yes, back when I was more serious in the gym the diet and workout would motivate each other. “Ug I had a side of broccoli with my naked chicken breast dinner. I’d BETTER not skip leg day or else I gagged that down for nothing”

Not sure when I stopped caring but since I am only getting older and fatter I’d better start it back up again.

@joebegly already mentioned one of the injuries, boxer’s fracture. Assuming you don’t have weaker bones than average, and that you taper up the volume / intensity with plenty of rest, ensure you have good gloves / technique… You should be ok.

@Frylock mentioned grappling sports, which definitely have more gnarly finger injuries.

Make sure you learn proper technique and have a good warmup routine for your shoulders / elbows / wrist. Knowing how to punch will help prevent really aggravating wrist injuries.

Well it doesn’t HAVE to be as bland as that, but I guess it really depends on what your accustomed to. Diet is probably 60-75 percent of it. The actual training just ensures it gets used accordingly and then of course there’s the steroids. I know I’ve said this on here before but the problem is that most people just don’t have the time or energy to invest in themselves like that. It says a lot that the best health I have ever been in was the year between 2012 and 2013 that I was unemployed.

My brain worked in the opposite way back in the day: “Quads are still sore from yesterday, better have an extra 3 pieces of fried chicken to make sure I don’t fall into a caloric deficit and go catabolic! And hey, there’s some casein in ice cream, right?”


When I was strength training heavily and trying to gain mass I always took the approach that the post work out meal needed to be as hard to finish as the workout had been, but then I think my metabolism is extremely resistant to gaining weight.

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Thanks for the feedback peeps!

Yeah, I am steering well clear of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for that reason!

Yeah, its more the training aspects, movement and conditioning than actually fighting/sparring. I imagine that more padwork than heavy bag work I think, so hoping that it will be less punishing on the hands.

Totally agree on the proper technique, hopefully I can find someone with the expertise required. There is definitely a risk to the elbows and shoulders from over extending as well as impact.

I’m all about the Balboa aspects! :grin:

I’m running a bit at the moment, but as much as I hate it (boring as hell) - it is a great starting point and I’m running with my daughter and want to support her doing it. When I ran in the past I would get a bit of runner’s high, but wouldn’t get the ‘satisfaction’ that I get from other sports. Covid has put a stop to a lot of sporting groups, but they are now coming back.

The burgers are okay as long as they are cooked in a George Foreman grill, right? :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


If you were trying to gain mass, You likely were still in a caloric deficit.

Hi, I’ve over the years played guitar and done a few martial arts with boxing being my favourite. I hate to say it but boxing isn’t really compatible with guitar or piano playing.
The problem with boxing is that every time you strike you damage your hands even with wraps. Back when I used to train I would go at the heavy bag and my hands would be almost numb afterwards, making it impossible to play guitar for a while after. It didn’t work for me at all and I think boxing is really high impact so chance of injury is pretty high.
These days I do running followed by weights, I think this is the most efficient/effective form of exercise.

So yea Boxing is fun but it smashes your hands up pretty bad!


Ha sorry I totally missed this. Great post! You get extra points for mentioning casein :slight_smile: Gotta make sure we don’t go catabolic while we snooze, so why not add some slow digesting protein before bedtime??? lol!

Sort of off topic, sort of not, here’s a really interesting article about a smart guy’s assessment of how much protein we really need.

Begin Sarcasm
What??? All the body building magazines (that are funded by the supplement companies…hmmm) swear I need at least 1 gram of protein per lb of body per day…even as much as 2 if I’m gaining mass!
End Sarcasm

I wish I would have thought more objectively when I was younger and not spent so much money on protein powders

Well its all sounding like boxing is going to be grim for my guitar playing! But, I do need something new to do as my life needs a bit of a pick-me up - I think that is why the boxing has great appeal - very physical and also technical - I’ll look in the local area to see whats available as “boxercise” type of classes (likely less emphasis on bone crushing haymakers!), try it and see how I go.

Bottom line is that I need something to get the energy pumping so I can survive the daily onslaught of my 2 kids! Hahah :rofl::rofl::rofl: and take my brain away from work (been working from home since covid and being somewhere else to be from time to time would help).

Truth-be-told, even guitar is often pretty boring as there isn’t much musicality going on and I struggle to do any focused high quality practice togrow repertoire or musical knowledge (my musical memory is practically non-existent) - guitar its more of a physical habit/meditation at this point.Maybe something like squash (not sure if that is called the same thing in US) if the boxing doesn’t go to well.

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Not for mass, for mass you just need calories. Most builders trying to gain mass don’t give a shit about what they are stuffing their faces with just so long as it lines up with what ever they have calculated to be their ideal macro ratio and calorie intake, whether that be home cooking or Mickey D’s . If you are trying to gain mass you have to gain weight, and you don’t get to choose whether that weight is fat or muscle no matter how hard you are working out. The hope is that with that weight gain and a work out that focuses on hypertrophy, some of that weight is muscle. (A lot of it will be fat though, you can’t just gain pure muscle). After this, they will usually go through a cutting cycle to get rid of all the fat gained, by significantly lowering caloric intake, but keeping protein intake high to prevent the body from going into a catabolic state, and eating the muscle gained. At the end of this cycle, a natural body builder would be lucky if they have even gained 5lbs of pure muscle in a year of doing this. And the gains are smaller and smaller after. That’s where Our friends AAS’s come in hand. That’s why next time you read about some Hollywood schmuck gaining 25lbs of pure muscle in 6 months to play some marvel character, you can almost guarantee they’re using gear. Even with the best of genetics, it’s just not possible to do that naturally.

The studies in protein consumption have been ongoing with the consensus being about .8g for every 1lb of body weight, but that all depends on what you are trying to achieve. For people not trying to go all in and just improve their physique a little, it can be relaxed a bit.

Disclaimer that I didn’t read the papers; I’m going off Henselmans’ summaries.

Interestingly, the bro science I used to follow suggested 1g of protein per pound of current lean mass, which for people between 10% and 20% body fat is not all that far off from the high end of the range suggested by Henselmans’ article.

And in terms of scientific rigor, it’s too bad that Henselmans’ citations are mostly studies running 4 weeks or less. And the 3 month study covered a pretty narrow range for the independent variable. I get why most studies like this typically cover a short time period, but it’s still unfortunate. Probably the most compelling thing to me was the note about observed protein oxidation in the “high protein” group in the 1992 Tarnopolsky et al. paper.

And finally, I think his last point re: “origins of the myth” is probably the closest to the truth about why the 1g/lb number has been so culturally persistent:
“People can’t be bothered with decimals and just round up to the nearest convenient integer, which so happens to be an easy to remember 1.”

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But if they are in fact ensuring they hit their macro ratios, then they aren’t being totally indiscriminate about what calories they stuff in their faces. Even if someone isn’t actually measuring what they eat, they have no chance of hitting their macro ratio unless they apply some kind of heuristic to their food choices. There’s probably lots of embedded decision making too in terms of what food a person keeps around their house. No bodybuilder eats a diet consisting exclusively of Pringles and Pepsi in order to hit their calorie number.

Yeah, though I never developed a physique worth bragging about, I did follow the sport pretty heavily for a number of years. I read tons of interviews and even bought some “doc” type dvds. I didn’t see or hear of anyone eating like a pig. Sure, they occasionally had some cheat meals, and during offseason more so. But they still ate pretty clean, year round, compared to the average American :slight_smile:

Lots of lean protein, lots of shakes, slow-to-medium burning carbs (and LOTS of them in the offseason) like oatmeal, brown rice and Ezekiel bread. All of this is in massive quantities compared to what the average person (even the average slightly fat American…which I guess is the average American lol). So they were getting in tons of calories, not pillaging their local pizza shops :slight_smile: Well, maybe some days they would, but the majority I’d say was still pretty healthy foods.

Not exclusively pringles and Pepsi, but again you won’t hit any preferred macro ratio with just that anyway, As little to no protein is present. You will get NASH with that though, that’s exactly how we give mice NASH in the lab.

The point is, the discrimination about how “clean” the diet is, is weak at best with a lot of those guys. Most are “dirty” bulkers and use a lot of chemicals.

Trust me, I’ve seen it first hand, and was in that for a while. It was a lot of dirty bulking, and testosterone and insulin injections. Then come post cycle therapy in the hopes you didn’t just permanently screw your whole natural hormonal balance. Then it was a cleaner high protein calorie deficient diet coupled with more drugs for the cutting cycle.