Treadmills and stationary bikes are tedious, time-consuming, and ineffective. If you want a workout that is fun and beneficial for your health, try boxing or martial arts training. These activities allow you to tap into your primal instincts, so you can let loose while also getting in shape.
In addition to providing fun, bag training offers some functional advantages that more popular forms of cardio lack. "When you're on a treadmill, bike, or rowing machine, the cadence is always consistent, and your breathing falls into a rhythm, but training with a heavy bag forces you to breathe rapidly and erratically, similar to how you would in an actual fight.
Punching bag workouts are so powerful that if your striking technique is good, the power generated will start from your feet and be released through the twist of your torso. No other training tool, like punching and kicking, can work your whole body. You move in multiple dimensions, using muscles you wouldn't normally use.
This article is all about the wonders of punching bag workouts and how they are just the perfect thing for those who get bored with aerobics or weightlifting. You'll also discover three workouts to help you trim and condition your body for strength and stability.
Choosing Between a Heavy Bag and a Punching Bag
If you aren't a fitness pro and have never had exposure to any combat sport, especially boxing, you'll think they are the same. Don't worry about it because most people use these terms interchangeably. But they are most definitely from each other, and we will explain the difference to you in a while.
A regular heavy bag is typically four or five feet long and weighs anywhere between 30 and 200 pounds. It's mainly used for punching, hanging from the ceiling, or another overhead structure. The heavy bag doesn't move much when one strikes it (that's because it's heavy).
The classic heavy bag is cylindrical, but newer versions of these bags differ in shape, size, and effects. Heavy bags with contours in the market simulate human body curves and give you the sense of being in an actual fight with a real-time enemy fighting against you.
So this was a heavy bag, but a heavy bag is just one kind of punching bag. Punching bags are a vast category that includes different types of heavy bags used for punching.
Punching bags are made from leather, canvas, or any other sturdy and lasting material that won't wear down easily. They can be filled with sand, water, textile, or anything that adds to the bag's weight.
Punching bags are not just hung from ceilings or overhead structures; they can be attached to a base on floors or left alone to roll freely on the floor, like a free-standing punching bag, further enhancing the challenge involved in a workout.
These bags are unstable, meaning they can move and wobble on the floor when you hit them. You'll need a lot of footwork to box with a bag that's not stable, and it's usually very difficult for new boxers who have not yet achieved the rhythm and coordination to be comfortable with extra challenges.
Then there are speed bags, yet another type of punching bag. Speed bags are small, teardrop-shaped, and ceiling-mounted. You might have seen them in Rocky movies or other videos of old-time boxers training.
Speed bags are excellent for improving reaction time and hand-eye coordination while simultaneously developing punching speed, but they aren't meant to be hit hard. You employ different striking techniques than throwing power punches when using a speed bag.
Speed bags are, however, for experts only. The speed and technique they require comes with training and honed skill only. Novices and intermediates do not need to waste their time with speed bags.
Equipment Required for Punching Bag Workout
Punching bag workouts are just right to get a full-body workout and improve your boxing skills. However, there is some fitness equipment that you will need to have a successful workout.
First, you will need inner gloves for a comfortable fit. Your boxing gloves aren't going to fit your naked hands. You'll be sweaty, and the boxing gloves will slip throughout the workout. This will not only be uncomfortable but also affect your performance adversely. So the inner boxing gloves or straps are worn to prevent sweating and allow a comfortable, snug fit of the gloves on the hands.
Second, you will need boxing gloves to prevent injury. You can hurt your hands pretty bad while working on punching bags with your naked hands. To prevent tears and injuries, boxing gloves and MMA gloves are used. They enhance performance by protecting your hands.
Third, you will need a heavy bag to practice your punches. Most definitely, you are not supposed to be punching against walls. A suitable punching bag is absolutely important.
With the right fitness equipment, you can have a great workout and improve your boxing skills simultaneously.
Related Article: Inner Boxing Gloves – Gym Bag Essentials to Get the Perfect Sport Experience
Benefits of Punching Bag Workout
Although it is often assumed that only professional boxers or people addicted to boxing benefit from punching bags, this isn't the case. Even beginners reap many fitness benefits from a punching bag during their workout routine.
While many think that the sole purpose of using a punching bag is only to strengthen arm muscles, there are numerous benefits which include:
- Burning calories
- Improving overall fitness
- Improving boxing technique
- Upskilling for self-defense
- Practicing combos and moves
- Enhancing core stability
- Building cardiovascular endurance
- Improving coordination and balance
- Increasing muscular strength and power
- Reducing stress and aggression
- Practicing footwork
- Improving agility
20 Minutes Punching Bag Workout for Beginners
This 20-minute punching bag workout is perfect for beginners who are new to the sport and need to be slow and gradual. However, these 20 minutes help build your body and stamina for longer, more challenging workouts in no time alongside acquainting you with what a punching bag workout is.
- Warmup: 5-to-10-minutes
- Jab, cross, and squat: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Cross punches (dominant side): 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Cross punches (non-dominant side): 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Side kick-punch combo: 90 seconds work, 30 seconds of rest
- Lunge, kick, jab, cross: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Hooks (dominant side): 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Hooks (non-dominant): 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
- Burpee with push up, straight punches, and hooks: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
30 Minutes Endurance Punching Bag Workout
This 30-minute workout will help build stamina by refining your boxing technique and improving your fitness levels. All rounds after the warmup are two minutes each.
Warmup (5 minutes): alternate between jumping rope and high knees for 2 minutes each. Next complete two rounds of the following:
Round 1: Cycles of 10 cross punches (dominant side) and 10 cross punches (non-dominant side)
Round 2: Dominant side cycles of
- Jab and kick
- Jab, jab, power punch
Round 3: Non-dominant side cycles of
- Jab and kick
- Jab, jab, power punch
Round 4: Cycles of
- 10 burpees
- Right uppercut, jab, jab, hook, cross
- Bob and weave
- Left uppercut, jab, jab, hook, cross
Round 5: Cycles of
- 10 reps of right side kick
- 30 straight punches
- 10 reps of left side-kicks
- 30 straight punches
Round 6: All-out alternating power punches
20 Minutes HIIT Punching Bag Workout
This 20-minute metabolic-conditioning-based workout will torch some serious calories and get your heart pounding in no time.
Warmup: 2 minutes of jumping rope.
You'll perform each exercise for 30 seconds before resting for the next 10 seconds. After rest, you'll move on to the next exercise. You'll need to complete five rounds of the circuit.
Round 1: Straight, powerful punches using a right-left-left-right combo.
Round 2: Burpees
Round 3: Cycles of one right kick, one left kick, three right kicks, and three left kicks.
Round 4: High knees sprinting
Round 5: Cycles of:
- Jab, cross
- Cross, hook
- Hook, cross
Round 6: Push-ups with alternate shoulder taps
Related Article: 14 Weeks Full Body HIIT Calorie Destroyer Workout & Meal Plan
Important Tips for a Punching Bag Workout
- To safeguard your knuckles, make sure to wrap your hands correctly.
- Warm-up and cool down before and after every workout routine.
- To enhance your footwork, move around the bag while practicing each drill instead of staying in one place.
- Concentrate on form, speed, and accuracy when hitting the punching bag.
- Breathe steadily throughout-- don't forget to exhale!
1. How long should you work out on a punching bag?
Depending on how fit you are and how hard you want to push yourself, a beginner's punching bag workout could last anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour. If this is your first time boxing, taking things slowly during a longer session might be best.
2. How hard should you hit a heavy bag?
A general guide for those inexperienced is to start around 50-70% of your maximum power when punching a heavy bag. This will allow you more time to focus on proper form rather than tiring yourself out. As you become more comfortable and skilled, harder punches with greater force behind them won't lead to as many injuries, so feel free to increase your punching power gradually.
3. Do only boxers use punching bag workouts for conditioning and toning?
Not necessarily. Anyone can try a punching bag workout so long as they have the required equipment and are interested in learning the punching bag workout techniques.
4. Are heavy bags and punching bags the same things?
No, they are not. Heavy bags are one of the various types of punching bags. Punching bags are of several different types. Some are explained in the article above.
If you're looking for a challenging yet fun workout, look no further than boxing workouts. With so many benefits, like improving your coordination and toning your upper body, it's no wonder boxing has become one of the most popular workouts in recent years. And if you're new to boxing, don't worry — we have all the ingenious tips to help you get started. So what are you waiting for? Grab some gloves and start punching!