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Learn the Basics for a Heavy Bag Workout

Posted by Mike Gales on

So you’ve decided that you are going to try working out on the Heavy Bag. Well, that is a great decision as the Heavy Bag is a fun and exciting way to destroy some calories. One of the first things that you will notice is that you are breathing quite heavily after only a minute or so into your workout and that is because as you hit the bag, you are using a lot of muscles. As such, the Heavy Bag is not only for fighters seeking to improve their skills but for anyone looking to get into phenomenal shape. In this article, let’s just go over a few basic concepts to ensure that you are getting the most out of your Heavy Bag workouts.

The Heavy Bag is great for;

  • Improving your cardio
  • Improving your Muscular endurance
  • Improving your Speed and power
  • Improving your Coordination
  • Burning those calories to stay lean and mean

Before you begin;

No matter which way you slice it, Boxing is a contact sport and as such you want to take the proper precautions to ensure that you do not sustain any needless injuries while you train. Even if you never plan on fighting, you want to learn to protect yourself at all times by doing the following.

1.Properly Wrap your hands; You will be hitting the Heavy Bag using your fists and it is imperative that you learn how to properly protect your hands. 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. In fact, I would say that properly wrapping your hands is perhaps just as important as wearing gloves. If you are unsure how to put on the hand wraps then watch the video below for a detailed demonstration. 

It is imperative that you properly wrap your hands.

2.Make sure that you use gloves; Now that you have your hand-wraps and you know how to put them on, let’s choose the right type of glove for you. I recommend using a boxing-training glove to hit the bag (the ones that have the Velcro, as you can put them on and remove them by yourself). If you are interested in learning how to choose the best style of glove for you, then you can review the video to help you make the best decision possible. 

3.Proper footwear; You may not realize it in the beginning, but becoming a quick and powerful puncher has more to do with your feet than with your hands. You will be using proper footwork to push off of the floor and rotate your hips and core to deliver powerful punches. You don’t necessarily have to use specific boxing shoes but you should be wearing an athletic shoe that has a flexible sole so that you can get enough traction to maximize your punching power.

4.What size bag should you use?; Depending on where you train, this may not be an option as you must use what is available to you. But, if you are going to purchase a Heavy Bag for yourself, then there is a general rule that the Heavy Bag should be about half of your body weight. If you weighed 200lbs, then a 100lbs bag is considered to be ideal. Yet I find that even if you are a lighter person, perhaps a slightly heavier bag is still a better option as they don't move as much after being struck. Below is a link for reference, you will notice that you can select different sized bags

Some basics concepts about hitting the Heavy Bag;

1.Use your Knuckles; Make sure that your punches make contact with the bag using your knuckles. You don’t want to be slapping the bag with the palms of your hand, the side of your hand, an open hand or with your wrist.

Hit the bag with your knuckles (the area shaded in red)

2.Be mindful of your elbow; Try not to throw your hooks with your arm stretched out straight, as that will put unneeded stress on your elbow joint.

In the above picture, notice that he is not hitting the bag with his knuckles.

Also, note that his arm is straight for the hooks. This will definitely lead to an injury.

3.Be mindful of your wrist; The Biggest mistake that beginners usually make is that they are looking to punch as hard as they can. Don’t get me wrong, punching hard is a great thing but…you don’t want to put all of your body weight into a shot and then push too deeply into the bag. Doing that will allow your wrist to absorb all of the impacts, after which it may collapse (as is the case in the photo below). Instead, you will be looking to snap your punches off of the bag.

4.Snap your punches;To do that, you will want to bring your punches back to the start position just as fast as you threw them out there. You are looking to have the energy of your punch transferred from your fist to the bag but you are looking to have your first gone before the bag can fully transfer some of that energy back to your fist. You can kind of think that you are looking to bounce your punches off of the bag to reduce the impact on your wrists. Don’t worry, your opponent or the bag is still going to feel the power of your punches but this will save your wrists from unneeded punishment. Snapping our punches will also improve your speed and leave you less prone to counter shots.

(The boxer snaps his punches by bouncing them off of the bag and returning them as quickly as possible to the start position.)

5.Punch the bag, don’t Push it; Many beginners tend to get over zealous and they want the bag to go flying all over the place but that will be counterproductive to your workout. You are there to put in work and having to stabilize the bag after every single punch will really hamper your activity level. Instead, keep with the theme of snapping your punches and try to control the bag. You don’t want the bag flying all other the pace but rather you want it to remain relatively stable. That way it will be there so that you can quickly deliver another shot.

(The boxer is pushing the bag as he punches, which will drastically reduce his work rate.)

6.Breathe; Breathing sounds like it would be the easiest thing in the world to do, yet most beginners are so preoccupied with their technique that they often forget. As a general rule, you will want to exhale with every single blow. Exhaling as you punch will not only ensure that you keep breathing but it will also tighten up the muscles of your core, which can better help you absorb any potential counterpunches to the body.

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand worth and if so then perhaps a video is worth ten times that amount. If you find that you still have some lingering questions then watch the video below.

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