How To Hold Pads For Kickboxing Partner Training

How To Hold Pads For Kickboxing Partner Training

Mitt training for kickboxing is a great workout for both partners, but it takes practice. FightCamp Trainer Aaron Swenson explains the basics of holding pads.

Published: March 29, 2022

Topics: Kickboxing, Training

Author: Aaron Swenson

Kickboxing is one of the most effective, and most challenging workouts you can do. When you start punching and kicking, you are using a lot of muscles, burning a lot of calories, and getting an intense full-body workout.

Mitt training is the best way to simulate a real fight outside of sparring. Holding pads for partner drills is great for conditioning, but it’s key to learn the basics before jumping in. Remember, the partner holding the mitts is using just as much brain fitness as the partner throwing the punches and kicks, so it is excellent training for both partners.

In this video, FightCamp Trainer Aaron Swenson explains the do’s and don’ts of holding Muay Thai pads for kickboxing.

Aaron’s 3 Tips For Holding Thai Pads:

For both punching and kicking, remember these tips when working with mitts:

  • Maintain enough resistance to catch the punch or kick without hitting yourself with the mitts

  • Start slow when working with a partner to find your chemistry

  • Give your partner enough space to find their range, don’t smother the punch or kick


Aaron Swenson Showing How To Hold Pads For Punches

When you catch punches, you want to make it as realistic as you can so that every hit lands in the same spot. Remember not to smother the punch! Give your partner enough room to fully extend their punch so they can find their punch range.

In catching punches, it’s all about angulation:

Jab & Cross (1 & 2)

  • Hold the mitt at a 90-degree angle

Hooks (3 & 4)

  • Hold mitts at a 45-degree angle

Uppercuts (5 & 6)

  • Hold mitts at a 45-degree angle, but lower than for the hook punches

You’re trying to simulate a fight, so the whole time you’re holding the mitts, you’re looking to see if your partner is making a mistake so you can capitalize on it.


Aaron Swenson Showing How To Hold Pads For Kicks

When you hold mitts for kicks, you want the mitts to be flat. You can hold them in a triangular shape, separated, but with the tips touching to give you more surface area to block the oncoming kick.

Rear Round Kick

If you are the partner holding the mitts, your lead foot should line up with your partner's rear foot. If your lead foot is too far to the right, your power is off to the right. You want to step across your partner so the kick and power come across the center line.

Switch Kick

Same rule applies as in the rear kick: when you switch, your rear foot should line up with your partner’s lead foot. Remember not to smother the kick, let your partner come to you.


Aaron Swenson showing how to hold pads for elbows

Holding mitts for elbows is similar to punches. You need to give enough resistance to catch the elbow, but at the same time, let your opponent (partner) come to you so they find their elbow range. Shift the angle of your mitts based on the direction your partner is throwing their elbow: up, across, or down.


Aaron Swenson showing how to hold pads for knees

For catching knees, you can use a belly pad or mitts. When you catch the knees, it’s going to be contralateral, meaning you use your right mitt to catch the left knee and your left mitt to catch the right knee.

It’s important when you’re catching knees that you breathe so you don’t get the wind knocked out of you.

Teeps (Front Kicks)

Aaron Swenson showing how to use a belly pad for front kicks

For teeps or front kicks, wear either a belly pad or body armor to catch the kicks. Remember to breathe just like with catching knees. Let your partner come to you with the kicks and absorb the hit with your abs.

Ready For More Advanced Kickboxing Combos?

Once you both find your chemistry and build this foundation, you can start practicing more involved kickboxing combinations. Aaron suggests trying a combination build-up on the FightCamp App, or you can always find plenty of kickboxing drills on the FightCamp YouTube Channel. Take your boxing and kickboxing training to the next level with us!

Are you ready to train like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.

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Aaron Swenson

Aaron “Speedy” Swenson began in his family’s Chicago dojo. By 2013, Aaron had two National Kickboxing titles & a USA National Kickboxing Team spot. Aaron is a Founding Coach at FightCamp & USA Boxing Coach certified.

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