The Muay Thai Belly Pad is an important, but often neglected piece of training equipment. Even though Thai Pads are more well-known, belly pads are extremely important and should be used in every Muay Thai training session. Belly pads are held by pad holders so they are protected from knee strikes, punches and kicks thrown at the holder’s stomach.
If you want to properly work on Muay Thai Teeps, Spear Knees, and Body Hooks/Uppercuts, you’ll need your training partner (or instructor) to wear a Belly Pad.
Pad holders will feel the force of the blow if they don’t wear a belly pad. Even though being hit in the stomach without protection will cause that area to become stronger, a trainer’s job is to help their students, which can’t be accomplished if they are distracted by absorbing stomach blows.
An experienced trainer will combine the use of Muay Thai pads and belly pads to protect themselves as fighters launch knees into their belly. If the trainer is not using protection, it will be difficult to throw a successful knee into the pad.
Muay Thai Belly Pads are an important tool for trainers and holders working on striking patterns involving knees and teeps. Additionally, trainers will work on hand combinations.
Thai trainers always use belly pads during training sessions. There, it isn’t considered a maybe accessory, but an extremely necessary piece of gear to be used at every training session.
If you travel to any Thai gym in Thailand, every single pad-holding trainer owns and wears a Belly Pad during the sessions. It’s absolutely a required piece of training equipment.
My Top Belly Pad Recommendation
Twins make the best bell pad on the market. If you haven’t used it yet, or you need a new belly pad, this is the piece of gear to buy.
Twins Belly Pad Protector
I have used the Twins Belly Pad Protector more than any other belly pad. This is by far the most popular belly pad brand in Thailand. The Twins Protector is well made, and is one of the most affordable belly pads on the market.
They make two types of belly pad closures – one with a buckle fastener and a Velcro fastener, and four different sizes of pads. An advantage of using the Twins Belly Pad the outstanding padding. They are not too big, and they are compact enough to be easy to wear during training.
The Twins Protectors feature a competitive price. The price is mid-range, not being either extremely expensive or a discount pad.
My Recommendation: The Twins Belly Pad Protector is the best belly pad available. This is a must buy if you are training in Muay Thai.
Twins has developed a solid piece of gear in the Twins Belly Pad Protector. It isn’t a spectacular product, but it works very well. This Belly Pad is a natural fit for me because I like to follow standard Muay Thai protocol, and since most Thai fighters use this equipment, naturally, this is what I would want to use.
Types of Belly Pads
You can use Belly Pads for MMA and Kickboxing. Note that there are different types of ‘Belly Pads’. There are some vest-type pads which are more form fitting and allow for higher strikes on the upper part of the chest.
There are two basisc ‘styles’ of Belly Pads: Thai Thai (primarily used for Teep and Knee work) and Boxing Belly Pads which are more form fitted to handle body hooks and body uppercuts. While you can use the Thai-style belly pads for some boxing work, the shape of the pad can make for some awkward hooks and uppercuts — you are better of using a belly pad designed for boxing.
Thai Style Belly Pads
Boxing Style Belly Pads
Boxing Groin Protectors
But for Muay Thai work / MMA work for knees, kicks, and straight punches, the Thai Belly Pads are the best.
Belly Pad Characteristics
Given that belly pads are meant to protect you from strikes aimed at your stomach, it is crucial that the belly pad you use is one that has a good amount of padding in the center of the pad.
If you make the mistake of buying a cheaply made bell pad, you will feel more of the force of the strike than you would with a better constructed pad. This will be particularly true if you are holding for someone who generates a lot of power in their strikes.
I find that I am old-fashioned when it comes to belly pads, and prefer gear that is less glitzy. I believe that buying gear should mean shopping for a product that performs well versus one that looks great and has a buzz.
Comparing Velcro and Buckle Closures
When buying belly pads, an early decision to make will be deciding to buy one with either a Velcro or buckle closure. Both closure methods have their plusses and minuses. You will need to determine which one works best for you.
An advantage of the Velcro closure is being able to easily put the pad on and take it off without having to buckle the strap. Velcro closure are easier to use than buckles, but they have a significant downside. The problem with the Velcro closure is that it degrades after a while. While the Velcro will initially have a nice and snug fit in the beginning, over time, that fit will deteriorate along with the Velcro.
There are belly pads that feature a hook and loop Velcro closure. This closure provides a tighter fit, and it is also takes more time to secure the belly pad to the wearer’s stomach. To compare the closures of two of the more popular belly pad brands, Fairtex belly pads feature hook and loop closures, but Twins belly pads come with both buckle and Velcro closures.
The buckle closure takes longer to use, but the advantage over Velcro is that buckle closures will last longer than the Velcro closure, which will eventually disintegrate. The buckle will take time to adjust when you first begin using it, but after a time, it will be easier to put the belly pad on because you will know exactly how to adjust the buckle.
Many belly pads have three sections that feature additional padding to lessen strike impact. Even though the whole pad is cushioned, they are made to receive the most impact. The center of belly pads is the most padded spot. Standard pads feature a large target area measuring a foot all the way around. This spot is designed to take cross punches, teeps, and knees to the holder’s stomach.
Besides the center pad protection, standard pads have two circled side spots made to safeguard rib and kidney edges. The two circular areas are made to provide a striking area allowing them to launch a hook punch or knee to the side of the holder’s body.
These three areas are more padded and have target areas for the striker, even though the entire pad is created to protect the holder.
Pad Material and Price Comparison
Most belly pads are constructed from genuine or imitation leather. Buying genuine leather will be costlier than buying imitation leather. Genuine leather makes a much better belly pad because it feels much better compared it to imitation leather.
Belly pad pricing depends on the manufacturer and pad material. Pad costs vary from $60 to $100 depending on the pad and manufacturer. In comparing the two most popular belly pad brands, Twins and Fairtex, you will find that they are exactly like, but Fairtex costs more because of the value attached to its brand. Generally, Thai-made pads are all great to use for training because of the high quality of their construction.
An additional purchasing consideration when buying belly pads is the pad design. Generally, if a belly pad features additional padding and protection features, it will be bigger and heavier than other belly pads. Someone who is casually training won’t find this a big deal. However, someone who is training regularly may find this a problem because it will limited the amount of belly pad training time due to the fatigue of wearing a heavy pad.
Remember that regardless of the quality of belly pad you are using, none of them can fully shield you from striking impact. This is especially true if you are holding pads from a large fighter or a hard striker. When you feel impact while holding pads, don’t blame the padding.
Belly pads are made to safeguard your internal organs by absorbing the impact of strikes. By using the padding, the impact will be spread over your body, causing you to feel a relatively minor impact, rather than the devastating force you would experience without protection.
Best Muay Thai Belly Pads – Our Picks
Since we have talked about the belly pad’s finer points, it is time to discuss my picks for great belly pads. As I stated above, most Thai-made belly pads provide quality pads that are long lasting. Buying a Thai-made product make it more likely that you will not regret your decision.
Best Overall Belly Pad
Twins Leather Belly Pad
I’m a huge fan of these belly pads. They are available in Velcro and buckle closures to give buyers a choice depending on their preference. While these are not fancy pads, they are extremely durable.
Twins is a reliable Thai fighting brand because they balance excellent equipment with affordable pricing. Although they offer several color choices, most fighters buy the black belly pads so the pads will match the rest of the training gear.
I fell in love with Twins pads because when I was training in Thailand, they were the only pads my trainers used. I have thrown many knee strikes into those belly pads.
I’m not saying that you are immune from contact with Twins Belly Pads because you will feel the force, but they spread the shock of the blow and provide security to prevent internal injuries.
My Recommendation: The Twins Belly Pads are my favorite belly pads and I strongly recommend them.
The Twins Belly Pad is my preferred belly pad. I like it because it has a simple design and it provides great protection. It isn’t high-tech, but they are solid gear that perform
Alternative Belly Pad Recommendation
Fairtex Leather Belly Pad
Fairtex is one of the other well-known and respect gear manufacturer from Thailand. Fairtex is one of my favorite brands due to the outstanding appearance of their gear. For example, Fairtex gloves are much better than other gloves because the quality of their leather is better than other gloves, and the construction is unparalleled.
I believe that Fairtex and Twins belly pads are exact alike in construction and appearance. The amount of padding in each is the same. The major differences are that they have different pad colors, and Fairtex pads feature a hook and loop closure on the pad’s rear.
Anyone who enjoys other Fairtex gear will love and want to use their belly pads. Their belly pad feature the same high quality that fighters have come to expect from Fairtex.
Fairtex’s biggest downside is its higher cost in comparison to other gear. Many fighters are willing to pay more for the name recognition and their sharp product appearance. Fairtex’s belly pads cost from $10 to $20 over the average cost.
My Recommendation: The Fairtex Leather Belly Pad is a fantastic product if you can afford it.
If you are willing and able to spend extra dough, Fairtex belly pads are a worthwhile purchase.
Combat Sports Belly Pad
Combat Sports Belly Pad is an extremely well-rated product sold by Amazon. The Combat Sports pad features a Velcro closure and is lightweight and long lasting. Supposedly, the belly pad uses air to absorb strikes. However, I don’t put much stock in their claims.
The Combat Sports Belly Pad has been highly rated on Amazon, making it worth trying for fighters who are looking for a different kind of belly pad not made of leather.
I have not personally used this gear, so I can’t tell you how it feels to be struck when wearing this pad. If you don’t use this in training with professionals, the Combat Sports pad seems to be a solid alternative to Thai-made belly pads.
My Recommendation: Buy the Combat Sports Belly Pad if you don’t want to pay Thai prices for Twins and Fairtex.
I would always opt to use belly pads made in Thailand, but some fighters will prefer to use a cheaper alternative. The Combat Sports Belly Pad is a lower cost alternative to Thailand-made belly pads.
The Final Word
Professional fighters and fighters who want to look and act like professionals need to use belly pads so that they can use full-contact knees, punches and teeps when training on the pads. You can use regular Thai pads for knee and teep strikes, but using these pads won’t provide maximum protection that you’ll get from using a belly pad.
Belly pads are crucial equipment universally used in Thailand. This is because Muay Thai techniques like knees and teeps are essential, and belly pads provided the safest, most effective protection from the impact of these strikes.
I strongly urge fighters to buy either Twins or Fairtex belly pads. These two brands make excellent pads that provide great protection and are as streamlined as possible. Their construction and fabric are nearly identical. In the end, you must decide what belly pad works best for you and which one you prefer.