For participants in boxing and martial arts, or even fitness aficionados, punching bags are a must-have for physical training. They help you to improve your punching technique, strengthen your muscles, and to give your body a high-intensity workout session.
There are a wide variety of punching bags, depending on your fitness level and the purpose you will be using them for. In this article, we will talk about the various kinds of punching bags and the utilities of each of them. We will try to guide you towards buying suitable punching bags for you and try to answer possible questions that you might have. As always, we will provide links for any helpful information, surveys, and studies used in this article.
What Are the Different Types of Punching Bags?
The variations in punching bags come from their size, shape, purpose, and mounting process. Almost all types of punching bags are made from leather, vinyl, or canvas.
Free-Standing Punching Bags
Free-standing punching bags are the most convenient to use because you can put them pretty much anywhere you want. They are the perfect punching bag for you if you are operating in small spaces. They are also easy to shift from one place to another in case you need to change your training base.
Free-standing punching bags can be used for practising both punches and kicks, but they, unfortunately, do not offer the kind of punching experience that other bags do. But they are great for light training in limited spaces and will enhance your punching technique and endurance.
If you are looking to buy a free-standing punching bag, then we would recommend you the Dripex 180 lb Freestanding Heavy bag, which is extremely durable and is designed to prevent you from bruising your wrists while punching intensely.
Hanging Heavy bags
Hanging heavy bags are arguably the most popular punching bag used by boxers because of their versatility, tenacity, and long-term durability. These bags are designed to hang from the ceiling or similar stable surfaces and allow you to practise all kinds of boxing movements.
If you are looking for a hanging bag to use in your home, we would recommend the Ringside 100-pound Powerhide heavy bag, which has a great striking interface and is fitted with foam to protect the hands and feet. It is an excellent option for beginners and is also quite budget-friendly.
It’s similar to the heavy bag in various aspects, but it has a much more lean shape than a standard heavy bag. Its bulky upper section allows you to train on uppercuts, left hooks, straight punches, etc.
The downside is that, like heavy bags, they consume a lot of space and are much less versatile. Angled bags are good for you if you are looking to work on some specific shots. We would recommend the Ringside Angle 65 lb Boxing bag.
Wrecking Ball Punching Bags
They are also known as tear drop punching bags and are spherical in shape, and they give you greater options in terms of practising shots like hooks and uppercuts. You have the option to adjust its length if you want to try different shots, and they are also ideal for practising kicks.
As with angled bags, wrecking ball punching bags are great for practising specific shots. But if you are trying to improve your timing, or looking for an immersive punching experience, then it might be wise to look elsewhere.
If you do decide on wrecking ball punching bags, then the Ringside 65-pound Body-snatcher Powerhide punching bag is a great option.
What to Look for When Buying a Punching Bag?
When trying to buy the right punching bag for your training, you need to consider the kind of work you will be using it for and which punching bag might fulfil that. Some punching bags, like the heavy bag, will help you work on your stamina, timing, and techniques, while others will help you develop specific shots and skills. You can even buy multiple different punching bags to ensure you can work on each individual area.
What Will You Use the Punching Bag for?
Before deciding on the punching bag, you have to consider what kind of activity you will be training for. If it’s boxing you are working on, and trying to improve boxing skills like speed, movement, and endurance, then traditional heavy bags are a safe option. If you want to work on individual shots like hooks and jabs, teardrop bags and double angled bags can work well.
But if you are training for other purposes like MMA, then you need to consider unconventional options. MMA requires you to work on your agility, so aqua bags, banana bags, and maize bags can be a good platform to develop your feet movement and kicking skills.
When deciding on the size of the punching bag that you are going to buy, you have to consider your own stature and power. If it’s too small for you, then it would swerve out of control when you practise power punches. On the other hand, if it’s too big, then you will not be able to work properly on your speed, technique, and timing as heavy bags around 100 lbs or more can be quite hard for most to even get moving.
You also need to consider the space where you will be putting the bag and the size that will fit there. Most punching bags come in standard sizes that will fulfil your needs if you pick the right type, but if you need to adjust then, it’s better to choose the free-hanging punching bags. The priority is to set up the bag at a height within your reach where you can punch it effectively.
Concerning weight, the rule is the same; you have to choose considering your powers. A strategy that many people follow is to pick a bag with half of the person’s weight. That ensures that the bag neither overexerts the person nor swings around wildly when punched.
When it comes to the best material for a punching bag, leather is way ahead of anything else. It makes sturdy bags that are comfortable to punch and can withstand heavy punching for long hours.
However, leather bags are also quite expensive. So if you haven’t got the budget for leather, then synthetic leather can be a great alternative. It is a lot like leather, is a lot less expensive, but unfortunately hasn’t got the long-term durability that leather punching bags have. Despite that, synthetic leather bags are the most popular because of the compromise between budget and quality.
After that you get canvas bags, these can be really cheap while still giving a decent punching experience, I would go for them if I want an outdoor bag or just want a really affordable bag.
Another option is plastic, but it is only used in specialized bags like aqua bags. It is unwise to use plastic for traditional bags like heavy bags and tear drop bags.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you injure your hand while using a punching bag?
Answer: Yes, it is possible that if you are a beginner and your punching technique isn’t well-developed, you might injure your hand. This is especially common in heavy bags. So please make sure that you are using proper protective equipment and you have developed an accurate punching technique before using heavy bags.
- Can you hit a punching bag without gloves?
Answer: It is inadvisable to do so because you will then be susceptible to injuries that can potentially end your career. If you are a beginner, then you must use gloves or hand wraps. A more advanced boxer could use punching bags without gloves, but to be honest, the risks outweigh the rewards in this scenario.
- How expensive are heavy bags?
Answer: An elite model of the heavy bag will generally cost you hundreds of dollars. It is possible to get heavy bags for about $50, but they would obviously be of inferior quality and not as durable. If you use synthetic leather bags, then you might get great models for a lesser price if durability is not that much of a priority for you.
- How can you make your punching bags heavier?
Answer: To make your punching bag, you need to fill it with excess materials. While doing so, you must make sure that your bag can actually support the extra weight and is appropriately stitched to not leak the excess material.
- With what materials can you fill your punching bag?
Answer: Sand is the apparent option for filling your punching bag to gain extra weight. You should check the manual of your bag before filling it with sand, but usually, sand is safe for most bags.
Sawdust is another good option for filling punching bags, but it is inadvisable to use water unless you are using an aqua bag.
It is wise to do thorough research before buying a punching bag so that you don’t end up with one unsuitable for you. If you are just starting your training, then going with standard heavy bags might be a good beginning, and then you can move on to more advanced models. No matter which punching bag you are using, always remember to use proper protective equipment to prevent hand injuries.