The heavy bag is the most recognizable piece of equipment in most boxing gyms. The reason that it is seen in so many establishments is because it is able to provide many benefits to those who use them. Striking these bags can be difficult since it is dense and heavy as the name suggests. Still, we are going to take a look at seven different benefits of working out on a heavy bag.
What is a Heavy Bag?
A heavy bag is probably the most used piece of training equipment for striking based combat sports and martial arts. As the name implies, the bags tend to be heavy with a large surface area, allowing you to throw strikes at different height levels. The bags tend to be pretty tough and therefore should be used with well padded gloves.
How to Set Up a Heavy Bag?
If you’re looking to set up a heavy bag at home, you’ll have two options – free standing and hanging. A free standing heavy bag features a base at the bottom that can be filled with either water or sand to weigh the bag down, preventing it from toppling over. Depending on the quality of the free standing bag, it still may still topple over when struck with enough force.
A hanging heavy bag will require you to mount the bag to the ceiling, or buy a heavy bag stand separately. These are harder to set up, however provide a better training experience as they will never topple over.
1. Increase Your Striking Power
The first reason that you will benefit from using a heavy bag as part of your exercise is that it will allow you to develop your striking power. Whether you are beating the bag with punches or kicks, the muscles involved with those motions are getting a workout. Over time, they will get stronger and stronger and you will notice that you are throwing more potent strikes. Instead of budging a few inches, you will be rocking the bag so it sways. Just make sure you are working on your technique so you don’t get hurt.
2. Heavy Bag Use Provides A Cardio Exercise
Every fighter knows that power alone is not good enough to win bouts; you need to have cardiovascular endurance. Every time that you are hitting the bag in rapid succession and working on combos, you are going to be moving into cardio workout territory. Heavy bag exercises are often used for High intensity interval training (HIIT) which makes you adept at high intensity output while not wasting all of your energy. Basically, you are going to build your energy capacity and the ability to throw meaningful strikes while maintaining your fighting discipline.
3. It Helps Build Your Body’s Resistance to Injury
Every time you slam a fist or foot into the heavy bag, you are going to feel the shock of the strike affecting you. If you’ve ever heard of a boxer’s fracture or watched someone bust a knuckle, you know that bones can break in a fight. Luckily, using a heavy bag is an easy way to make sure that your bones and ligaments are getting stronger while you are training. Hitting the bag hard can take some getting used to, but it is a certain way to make sure that your body can take the beating you are dishing out.
4. Blow Off Some Steam and Lower Your Stress Level
Alright, we know that having a heavy bag is great for fighters, but it also has some more casual uses as well. Everyone knows what it is like to have a bad day and just want to drive your fist into something. Stress is a killer, but you can alleviate some of that stress by opening up on your heavy bag at home or in the gym. Now, you aren’t going to want to go into the gym and just wail on the bag. That’s a good way to hurt your wrist. Instead, learn how to throw a decent punch and work your way up from there. You might even find a new, stress-relieving hobby along the way. Buying a punching bag is one of the best ways to blow off stress.
5. Work On Your Boxing Technique
When you are trying to improve your boxing technique, using a heavy bag is almost a must. You see, when you are fighting you have to strike that perfect balance between speed, precision, and power. After you have boxing lessons under your belt, you can create a workout that uses the heavy bag. You can practice a lot of things with a heavy bag workout like movement, positioning, power, and throwing combinations.
When you start striking the bag with simple or complex combinations, they will begin to become second nature to you. You can execute them swifter, add movement, and start finding that balance in your own technique. At the very least you will improve upon what you already have in terms of power and precision.
6. Refine Your Level of Coordination
If you are a boxer, you know the adage “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. It means you have to be quick and coordinated in your footwork and still be able to crash into your opponent with a strong fist. Yet, your footwork and coordination are a constant matter of training that you can improve without the use of a sparring partner.
Practicing your striking techniques on a heavy bag allows you to emulate what it is like to have a heavy and dense object, like a person, in front of you. You can move around the heavy bag and strike from different angles, working on generating the most power for you strikes. Also, you can work on hitting certain spots on the bag that emulate the weak spots on an opponent. Basically, you can use the heavy bag workout to work on everything from posture to footwork with regards to your own fighting coordination.
7. Develop Your Overall Strength
Using a heavy bag will develop the power of your strikes, but it is also a great way to develop your muscular strength. Every punch you land on the bag is going to require force and effort, and that easily translates into an upper body workout. If you haven’t hit a heavy bag before, give it a try for a solid ten minutes and see how you feel in the morning. The bottom line is that you are going to be working on strengthening your upper body, legs, and core if you are both punching and kicking. It’s going to leave you sore, but you will be thankful when you are able to last longer while sparring.
All in all, there are many different ways that a heavy bag is going to benefit you. You can develop your muscular strength, coordination, and cardiovascular health at one time. It’s also a great way to relieve pent up energy and stress throughout the day. There are other benefits to working out on a heavy bag as well, but these are the most important ones to keep in mind. Like always, thank you for reading and feel free to drop us a line if you want to discuss the topic.