Whether you are a dedicated martial artist, or someone who wants to shed some weight, purchasing a freestanding punching bag will be one of the best decisions you make in creating your own home gym. Purchasing a punching bag allows you to train speed and agility, whilst also developing strength and endurance. Having your own punching bag allows you to gain control of your training, and create your own customised workout regimen.
One of the simplest pieces of training equipment is a freestanding punching bag. You can easily slide it into the centre of a room and start training on the bag, and then, when you’re done, you slide it back into a corner.
The Benefits of Using a Punching Bag
Punching bag workouts have a lot of benefits for both skilled martial artists and for regular athletes. When you stand in front of a punching bag and striking it, you to build up endurance and strength, and each time you hit the unyielding object, the muscles in your body will adapt and grow. This is the same incremental training concept that distance runners take as they train for a race. Over time, what was once difficult for you—a 15 minute punching bag workout—becomes easy, and you crush more strenuous workouts.
By working out in the comfort of your own home, you’re able to try different workouts, slowly picking up the movements and gaining coordination. You’re also free to work out whenever you’d like, and you’re not limited by your own ability to get into the gym.
Let’s examine the main reasons you should invest in your own punching bag:
Build Cardiovascular Endurance and Burn Calories
Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping and your muscles working, which can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Punching bag workouts are great aerobic exercises that are also fun to do. Some people can’t stand running on a treadmill or going out for a jog, but hitting a punching bag is a unique experience. Not only can you get a great aerobic workout, but you can also relieve stress and anxiety. It is both a physical workout and also a mental workout.
Improve your balance and coordination
One benefit of incorporating punching bags into your workout regimen is that you train your hand-eye coordination, stability, and core strength. In fact, hitting a punching bag can actually get you to be intentional in how you move, teaching you to plant your feet and gain power behind your punches.
Develop your punching power and strength
It’s difficult to develop your striking ability by just shadowboxing, a form of training which involves punching the air instead of hitting a punching bag. You need resistance to properly train the speed and force of your punches. It can also be difficult to tell if you properly connected with a punch that you throw when you’re shadowboxing. But when you hit a punching bag, you can feel the force of hitting the bag, and you can visually see the bag move back from your strike. This is a more realistic training style which allows you to experience what it would be like to fight against an opponent. Slight adjustments over time will allow you to hone your striking technique, allowing you to work on how you throw your hooks and jabs, becoming more efficient with your punches and gaining speed.
An added benefit of hitting a punching bag is that you will build muscle in your arms, back, and shoulders. Throwing a punching bag workout in at the end of a strength training workout, after you hit the bench press and done some flies, is a great way to tax your muscles even more. In addition, you’ll not only workout your upper body but also your legs, lower back, and core.
Different Types of Punching Bags
Depending on your needs, there are many types of punching bags you can buy. The two major types of punching bags are hanging and freestanding, but there are also specialty bags, like speed bags and strike targets, which you can purchase and use at home. Each type of bag has a specific purpose, and you may buy more than one in order to create a more well-rounded workout at home. Training mitts are also great to purchase if you have a friend who would like to train with you, as you can switch out between being one who’s hitting the straight patching one holding them.
Let’s look at some of the most popular types of punching bags:
Freestanding Punching Bags
Freestanding punching bags sit on the floor and have a hollow base you can fill with water or sand to make them more stable. Most freestanding punching bags are cylinders filled with foam to provide a softer punching experience than hitting other types of punching bags. In the centre, most freestanding punching bags have a rocker mechanism that swings the bag back and forth, mimicking a hanging bag. Freestanding punching bags are lighter than hanging heavy bags, which can cause them to slide about on the floor.
However, freestanding punching bags are also great to use because they’re portable and you can easily move them from the corner of a room to the centre to train. Some freestanding punching bags are man shaped, offering a more realistic look and feel of fighting an opponent. These are great to use if you’re in the martial arts because you can train punches, kicks, knee strikes, and forearm strikes.
Interested in a freestanding punching bag? Here are the two most popular models available:
Hanging Punching Bags
A hanging punching bag, also called a heavy bag, is one of the most common pieces of gym equipment that you’ll see. Depictions of hanging punching bags abound in cinema and television, and hanging punching bags have been used by the martial arts community for centuries. Most heavy bags have a durable outer layer, which is made from either leather, canvas, or PU, and the inner core is filled with anything from fabric, sand, rubber, or just about anything else that can add resistance. Designed to toughen up the muscles in your hands, wrists, and arms, the hanging punching bag is a great tool to develop punching strength.
Although hanging punching bags are great to use for training punching strength, they’re not the best to train technique. Freestanding punching bags are great to learn how to pinpoint kicks and punches, especially the ones that have numbered targets. The best piece of gym equipment to train your punching technique would be focus mitts, which, with the help of a coach, you can practise striking a moving target, an immensely more difficult thing than a stationary bag.
Interested in a hanging punching bag? Check out the Tuf Wear 6ft PU Punch Bag
Speed bags are a small bag filled with air that’s suspended from the ceiling. They’re sturdy, yet lightweight, giving a speed bag its rebound ability. Also, it requires more force to keep the bag moving, whilst also needing a certain degree of coordination to keep its rhythmic movement going. You can use a speed bag to build cardiovascular endurance, work on the speed of your punches, and develop your hand-eye coordination.
Wall mounted strike targets have been used by many disciplines over the years. In Muay Thai, wall mounted striking targets were used by Thai fighters, and they were mounted to a pole that was firmly fixed to the ground. The pole would extend past the mounted striking target to head height, and this would give a fighter something to grab onto when practicing striking with their knees and low strikes.
Now, striking targets are no longer just used for low strikes, and can be found in many MMA gyms. For example, boxing gyms use wall mounted strike targets to train uppercuts and hooks. In fact, they come in handy when training combinations that involve uppercuts.
Interested in purchasing a wall strike target? Check out the Wall Target.
Focus mitts are a brilliant piece of equipment to use when you want to train precision strikes, especially when you are trying out new combinations of movements. With the help of a coach or trainer, focus mitts allow you to zero in on a moving target, and allow you to develop your punching technique. Focus mitts are a great piece of equipment to have in addition to a dedicated punching bag. They allow you to open up and train your brain more than just your body, honing your hand-eye coordination, whilst also developing your footwork.
Interested in purchasing focus mitts? Check out the Fitness Workout Bundle.
Training dummies are portable punching bags which feature a durable outer layer with reinforced stitching and impact absorbing foam. Training dummies are usually in the shape of a human torso with arms. You can either place them on the ground or prop them up to practise different moves on them. The heavy-duty nature of their manufacturing allows you to train at full speed, practising proper transitions from striking to joint locks and chokes. They even come in handy to practise shoulder height throws, moving from standing position into your ground game. One significant benefit of a training dummy is that you can even customise it by drawing lines on it to show sensitive strike points, arterial placement, and the windpipe of the throat.
Training dummies are a great accessory to have in your own home gym, as they allow you to go all out. This would be another type of bag that you purchase to train technique and establish a better ground game.
Verdict: Invest in a Freestanding Punching Bag
Of all the bags listed above, the freestanding punching bag is the most versatile and portable. Aspiring martial artists can train many moves on a freestanding punching bag, like low kicks common to Muay Thai. There is no installation required, as a freestanding punching bag sits on the ground. Simply slide the bag out, pound on it for your workout, and when you’re done with it, you can just push it back in the corner.
Freestanding punching bags are also equipped with an internal spring mechanism which gives them a unique rebound after every hit. It’s altogether different from a hanging punching bag, which swings back and forth. Instead, a freestanding punching bag will take the blow, and shift back to its original spot, giving you the ability to quickly strike the bag several times. If you’re interested in training technique as opposed to power, freestanding punching bags are what you should invest in.
Some freestanding punching bags are also in the shape of a human torso, which allows you to precisely aim your punches and kicks. If you’re training your high kicks, working on flexibility in your ability to aim it towards an opponent’s head, then a man shaped freestanding punching bag is exactly what you need.
Tips to Choose a Freestanding Punching Bag
Just like any other piece of gym equipment, there are several types of freestanding punching bags you can purchase. Any freestanding punching bag would be great to purchase for a home gym, and they also make a great addition to any training centre and martial arts gym. Let’s look at the major things you should consider before purchasing and freestanding punching bag:
Weight and price seem to go hand-in-hand with one another when purchasing a freestanding punching bag. For example, bags that tend to be less expensive are also the ones that weigh less. These cheap bags slide more on the ground and topple over when punched with a great deal of force. Even if you fill the base completely, you may notice that the bag just isn’t heavy enough for the amount of force you put behind your punches. Investing in a more expensive, but also heavier, freestanding punching bag can save you the headache of having to pick the bag up repeatedly.
Style: Cylinder or Man Shaped
There are two major styles of freestanding punching bag: cylinder or man shaped. Cylinder punching bags are great to use when practising punching and kicking, and some cylinder punching bags even have zone markers on them, which gives you the ability to train specific movements in the same order, allowing you to easily train complex combinations of moves. The Man shaped punching bags offer a unique punching experience, as they are shaped like a human torso and feature a flesh-like latex outer layer. These punching bags allow you to actually see your opponent in their eyes, and get a feel for what it’s like to deal damage to another opponent.
Height Adjustable or Not
One of the most important things that you will look for in a freestanding punching bag is whether it is height adjustable. Human beings come in many sizes and shapes, and therefore you want a punching bag that’s adjustable to your height. Not only that, if you’re involved in martial arts, there are many strikes from different heights that you can perform, from a head kick to trips and leg sweeps. By having a punching bag that is height adjustable, you can practise low, intermediate, and high kicks.
For those punching bags that are not adjustable, you may have to purchase one that fits your specific height. Keep that in mind before you purchase a freestanding punching bag.
Ultimately, the punching bag you choose to purchase is determined by your own needs. You may want to purchase more than one type of punching bag, like a freestanding punching bag and a wall-mounted strike target. Having both allows you to diversify your training regimen, training power punches with the wall-mounted strike target, and working on finesse and footwork with the freestanding punching bag. As your home gym grows, consider purchasing other pieces of equipment, like a dropkick Murphy dummy punch bag. Each piece of equipment is another tool in your toolbox, allowing you new possibilities as you train.