The Fighter’s Guide To Selecting and Using A Punching Bag
Hi, my name is Marko Tomoslavich, and I’m going to show you which punching bag you should buy based on your body weight and skill level as well as how to properly use it. But first, let me tell you a little bit about my background.
I have been training in different martial arts and kickboxing for more than 10 years now. One crucial aspect to any martial art is the development of power through the use of the punching bag. In the time frame of hours, I have racked up close to 900 hours on the punching bag alone, so I know what I am talking about.
Before I can recommend a punching bag to you though, I need to discuss precisely why you need to train on a punching bag.
Here are the three main reasons a beginner (or anyone) should be training on a punching bag daily.
- Technique/Power – By continuously hitting the punching bag day after day, you gradually improve your technique and arm speed. The quicker you punch, the more power you can unleash. It also helps you develop those important shoulder muscles, and helps you learn how to use your shoulders, hips, and legs in the punching motion.
- For those of you that don’t know, 75% of your punching power is generated through your hip and leg movements, so you need to practice those movements over and over again (we’re talking years for perfection here)
- Developing Combinations – Combination development is crucial for striking styles. You MUST have these combos drilled into your muscle memory so that you can literally do them without thinking. You have to be able to do them while under fire – which is impossible to do unless you have done the combos thousands of times
- Conditioning The Knuckles And Wrists – I chose this one because this is VERY important. People don’t understand that it is very easy to break your fingers when punching someone in the face/skull. Someone who has never been in a fight, or even a couple street fights before, are extremely vulnerable to this problem. One slightly wrong hit with your knuckle, and the supporting hand bone will crumple making your hand USELESS until you get surgery on it. You have to condition for YEARS in order to ensure this does not happen.
Now that you have accepted the need for punching bag training, let’s find you the right punching bag.
For Young Kids 8 and Below
RDX Kids Punching Bag
Perfect for your youngster – I recommend this because children 8 and below should NOT be hitting anysort of hard punching bag. This will do more harm than good. Get this one to keep their interest and they will be able to transition into a heavier punching bag when they grow.
For Ages 8+, Women Beginners
I would recommend a 40lb bag for light-weighted beginners – children and small women. This is a good starting bag for the weight class and because of the light weight, it will prevent any problems with wrist fractures or anything like that. I still recommend you start out with half power than work your way up as you feel comfortable.
Just so you know, the image of that bag on Amazon is not the correct image. The bag will be about half size.
For Adult Beginners (Male + Female)
For the beginning adult, there are multiple options for you. These are the recommended bags and here is why:
I know a lot of you macho guys out there are probably saying ‘BS I’ll be OK with a 100LB bag’. The truth is, if you have never seriously hit the bag before, you will most likely end up hurting yourself on a 100LB bag. Let me tell you a little story. I used to have these parties at my house and all the guys would see the 100lb punching bag and then begin hitting it. Mostly all of them would stop after a minute complaining of wrist pain. Know why? Because their wrists weren’t used to slugging it out on a 100lb bag. One guy even fractured a small bone in his wrist and had to go to the hospital to get it x-rayed (He was a bit drunk at the time and didn’t realize it!).
I personally started out with a 80lb bag and worked my way up.
This is a great alternative to the 80lb hanging bag if you have problems with mounting a heavy bag from your ceiling, or if you want a more portable device that you can move around. One thing I like about these types of bags is that they tend to move forward around on the floor a bit when you hit it. It helps you learn proper positioning and advancing forward. Recommended if the hanging bag doesn’t work for you for whatever reason.
This is a very cool punching bag, and to be honest up until now I haven’t considered mainly because of the price. If you have the money laying around, this is a very wise investment. What I really love about this ‘bag’ is that it is shaped like a 240 pound man so it gets you used to seeing a target like that. It also gets you used to targeting certain points on the body. This is going to be my next buy even though I am way past the 80lb stage.
For Experienced Adults
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Everlast 😉 This is the 100LB bag I use on a daily basis. Recommended for adults with 1-5 years experience. Hit this baby every day until your fists are a solid block and your wrists no longer give. Since it weighs more than most bags, this also makes for a good kicking bag as well as it won’t ‘jerk’ too much when you slam your legs into it.
If you are professional, most likely you don’t need me to tell you what to buy. But on the small off chance, I recommend the Ringside Powerhide 150lbs punching bag. This is perfect for you heavy hitters with conditioned hands and wrists. This is my next weight upgrade coming this year (I’m outgrowing my 100LB bag power-wise).
Alright, now that you have selected your bag, let’s talk about what else you’ll need.
- A mounting bracket to mount the bag to your ceiling or rafters. You can also use a heavy bag stand which I will talk about soon. That requires a whole new article so I’ll link you to that once completed.
- You’ll need two pairs of bag gloves. For one pair you will want a ‘thin’ glove. These are the gloves that are usually just a canvas covering that simply protect the skin on your knuckles from getting torn up. Your thin gloves should be used for conditioning only. Speaking of which, drop the macho attitude and use a freakin’ pair of bag gloves! The only thing you will get from training without them is a cut up hand which will prevent you from training more. Along with a pair of thin bag gloves, you will also want the standard ‘boxing style’ gloves in the 12oz to 16oz range. The reason for this is because using heavy gloves improves technique which helps with punching power, and as well as improve your stamina because you’ll be use to punching with weighted gloves on.
- You also need to know how to use the heavy bag. Yes, you can just start hitting it, but you are much better off knowing the proper way to stand, how to move around the bag, how to deliver maximum power, etc. I will be creating a huge article about this in the future.
Here are some tips to help you prolong the life of your new punching bag:
- Do not set up your punching bag outside – after one rainy day, your new exercise equipment is a 300lb water logged retched sack of mold. Trust me, do not let these things get wet!
- Wrap duct tape around the mid section of the punching bag. This will help keep your punching bag from deforming from continuous use. Yes, it will make it look ugly, but it will make your bag last a lot longer. You want to wrap it tightly enough that you see a bevel around where it has been taped. See the diagram below:
- If your bag chain uses hooks to connect to the bag, I also recommend you duct tape the openings so that they are closed. This will keep your bag from slipping out of the hooks. This can be really annoying to fix especially when you have gloves on.
- If you are mounting your punching bag in your house from the ceiling, I highly recommend you add a coil spring. Without it, your house will feel like it’s in an earthquake every time you work out.
- Keep your bag about 5 feet away from any walls. At my training school, the sheet rock walls near the bag have been caved in from hitting the bag so hard it slams into the wall behind it.
- When hitting the bag, try to avoid making the bag swing back and forth too much – this puts a lot of strain on the mounting device and can cause it to rip out of the ceiling or rafter. This will also keep the stitching where the bag connects to the bag chain from ripping – this can ruin a punching bag.
That’s it for now!
Stay tuned, and feel free to comment below. Any questions, comments, or suggestions are very welcomed, so please do so below!
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