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How to Use the Speed Bag for Beginners

Posted by Mike Gales on

Most people have seen The Speed Bag in all of those boxing movies and have thought to themselves “Hey that looks pretty cool”. Aside from looking cool, the Speed Bag is also a great tool to help improve your focus, your hand-eye coordination, the muscular endurance of your shoulders, your reflexes and of course your hand speed. All of those things make a Speed Bag workout and awesome method of training, the only problem is that it can be a little tricky the first few times that you give it a try. In this article, we will go over some basic concepts so that you can be using the Speed Bag like a pro within minutes.

The Speed Bag is great for;

  • Your focus.
  • The muscular endurance of your shoulders.
  • Your Hand-Eye coordination.
  • Your reflexes.
  • Your hand speed.
  • Making sure that you don’t blink while fast moving objects approach your eyes.

Always Properly Wrap your hands;

You will be hitting the Speed Bag using your hands and it is imperative that you learn how to properly protect them. The real key to achieving noticeable results is to remain consistent with your workouts and that will be extremely difficult if you are continually damaging your wrists and hands. Here's a video demonstration on how to properly wrap your hands.

Where to hit the Speed Bag;

Most people that have tried the Speed Bag, found it to be very difficult in the beginning. The reason for that is because the bag is on a swivel which makes it a freely moving target. You will want to hit the bag flush to that it travels in a straight line. Try to aim your shots where the bag has the most bulk (where the Everlast logo is on the bag above).

You hand position;

Strike the speed bag with the heel of your hand.

You will want to strike the Speed Bag with the heel of your hand as you make a fist. Not with your knuckles. Striking with the heel of your hand will provide a flat surface to hit the Speed Bag. Remember that your goal is to try and have the Speed Bag travel in a straight line so that you can keep it under control. Striking the bulk of the bag with a flat surface (the heel of your hand) will make it infinitely easier to keep the bag moving back and forth in a straight line.

The height of the Speed Bag;

The bulk of the bag should be no lower than the height of the tip your nose. Any lower will mean that you will have to crouch down to strike the bag. I personally like to have the bulk of the bag at about the height of my forehead, so that my shoulders can really feel the burn.

How to stand;

The boxer assumes a proper boxing stance to strike the speed bag.

I would recommend that you assume your proper boxing stance to strike the bag. As I am an orthodox fighter, I lead with my left arm forward as angle myself slightly towards the Speed Bag.

Your elbow position;

Having the elbow raised too high will slow you down.

Many people have a tendency of keeping their elbows up too high and parallel to the floor but that will hamper your speed and your reflexes.

Instead, keep your elbows in close to your body. That will limit shoulder fatigue and also make your strikes more fluid. It is also good practice to keep the hand that is not striking the Speed Bag up for defense.

The elbows and kept in closer and the hand that is not striking is kept up high for defense.

How to hit the Speed Bag;

Left-hand strike;

Notice the path of the speed bag, it travels forward to bounce off of the platform but it is also allowed to then bounce off of the back platform. It is only after the bag bounces off of the forward platform for a second time that it is struck.

Use a forward circular motion with of your arm as you strike the Speed Bag. That will create some momentum that you can use for subsequent strikes to help limit shoulder fatigue. If you strike the bulk of the Speed Bag then you shouldn’t need to hit it all that hard. You should not be throwing powerful strikes as this apparatus is all about speed and timing.

The most common mistake that a beginner makes when attempting to use the Speed Bag is that they do not let the bag properly bounce off of the platform. They strike the bag, it rebounds forward off of the platform, where they immediately try to strike it once again.

Take a look at the photos below; Notice that the Speed Bag is struck and propelled forward. It bounces off of the forward platform… But I also let it pass by and bounce off the back of the platform. It is only after it once more bounces off of the forward platform that I will strike it again.

Right-hand strike;

Once again note the path of the bag. It flows forward after being stuck and it bounces off of the forward platform. It is then allowed to flow backward off of the rear platform. Only after it bounces off of the forward platform for the second time will it be struck.

The Speed Bag is all about the rhythm. What I mean by rhythm is the time that it takes for the bag to complete a full cycle of bouncing off of the forward platform, the rear of the platform and then the forward part of the platform once again.

You will notice that different sized bags will produce different rhythms and you will need to get used to the rhythm of the particular bag that you will be using. To do that, I suggest that you start by using the lead hand only. Begin by throwing one strike at a time. Remember to make contact using the flat heel of your hand on the bulk of the bag. Listen to the sound that the bag makes as it bounces off the platform and try to create a fluid tempo. Once you have the rhythm of that bag, pick up the pace.

Get used to the rhythm of the bag by using the lead hand only.

Once you have the rhythm with the lead hand try using the rear hand only. Remember that you should not be striking the bag with a lot of power. It only needs to be struck hard enough to complete one cycle.

Take your time and find the rhythm of the bag using your rear hand only.

Once you feel comfortable that you have found the rhythm using either hand, practice the fluid transition from hand to hand. Start off slowly and only attempt two strikes in a row. One, two…one, two. Get used to making that transition from hand to hand and remember to strike the bulk of the bag.

Once you have completed twenty transitions, your next step will be to try four strikes in a row. So that’s one, two, one, two…one, two, one, two.

Once you have completed the above sequence, try doubling up each hand. So that will be… one and one and two and two… one and one and two and two.

If you can complete the above sequences for twenty consecutive strikes then you pretty much have the basics covered. Pay attention to the rhythm of the bag as you aim to complete 30 seconds straight. Then perhaps try a full minute. Within no time you will be able to complete a full three minute round. If at any time you lose control of the Speed Bag, just stop for a moment, reset yourself and then continue. Use your imagination to create your own sequence of strikes to keep it interesting.

As for your reflexes; that is the real beauty of the Speed Bag. The speed bag allows your brain to get used to an object quickly moving towards your eyes without posing any real threat. Your brain will become accustomed to tracking quickly moving objects, it will remain focused on the target and you will break the bad habit of blinking or closing your eyes. You will also reinforce your brain’s capability to coordinate your hands to strike a moving object. The bottom line is that while you are enjoying this fun style of workout, your body is developing reflexes that will become extremely useful if anyone were ever to attempt to attack you.

What about a full strike?; You may have seen boxers including full strikes such as a cross or hook at the end of a sequence in their Speed Bag routines. I usually save the full punches for the Heavy Bag but you definitely could add in the odd hook or cross here and there to keep it interesting. Just keep in mind that there is one punch that must never be thrown on the Speed Bag

You may if you like, incorporate the odd hook or cross in to your speed bag routine

The one punch you must never throw on the Speed Bag is the Uppercut. The problem is that the trajectory of the uppercut will pin the Speed Bag against the platform. If you land an uppercut flush on the bulk of the bag, you will burst the bladder of the Speed Bag.

You should never throw an uppercut on the speed bag.

The Speed Bag can be a fun and exciting method of getting into great shape. Yet many people abandon it after only their first attempt, as they believe it is too difficult to master. I would recommend that you use the above tips and take your time to get used it. Don’t worry about other people watching you, as even the greatest of all time had to start somewhere. Just keep at it and soon you will have added another great way of training to your repertoire.

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words and if so then perhaps a video is worth ten times that amount. If you find that you still have some lingering questions about how to use the Speed Bag then you may want to watch below for a video.

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