For aspiring boxers, mixed martial artists, or fighters in training, no other equipment is more important than punching bags. They act as targets during practice to help you practice and perfect kicking and punching techniques.
Like other sports equipment, the type of punching bag you choose should align with your athletic goals. Therefore, understanding the material, style, and size you need for your training is essential.
Types of Punch Bags
There are different types, depending on the type of sport you are engaged in as well as your goals for the training.
The heavy type is ideal for the enhancement of your overall techniques. But it may be unsuitable for someone who wants to improve reaction time, speed, and reflex.
Furthermore, a speed punching bag is not appropriate for polishing front kicks. Hence, the bag you use when practicing kickboxing may be inappropriate for practicing Muay Thai,
Below are some popular types of punching bags.
1. Heavy Bags
Heavy punch bags are large bags for heavy punching and usually suspended from the ceiling. This will ensure that they withstand the impact of the punches. Generally, they are designed to improve overall kicking and punching techniques. The standard size has a cylindrical shape, but you can find other sizes and shapes. They weigh around 30 – 200 pounds. You can use them for MMA, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, and more.
2. Free Standing Punching Bags
Just like they are named, free standing punch bags do not need a fixed mounting technique. They can be placed on a durable base, even in your room. You can reposition them easily to accommodate multiple users.
They come with a loaded spring design which allows them to bounce back to the users when hit. The recoil mechanism offers a different kind of movement and speed compared to what you will expect from the heavy bags.
So, if you are up for a different kind of challenge, you may want to try the free standing punching bags. Additionally, they are good for practicing low kicks which are common in Muay Thai as well as other martial arts.
3. Speed Bags
They help athletes to improve on punches that are fast-paced. They do so by enhancing their endurance level, timing, and strength. Such athletes need to learn how to place their hands in an upward position or build their shoulder strength.
Furthermore, they are quite small compared to heavy bags and contain air. You can suspend them from a wall that has a platform or a ceiling. They take the shape of a teardrop or a globe and you can find them in traditional boxing practice centers.
4. Double End Bags
They help athletes who aim to land effective counter punches by sharpening their reflexes, improving their eye/hand coordination and speed, and effectiveness in rhythm and timing. You can fix them from a ceiling or a wall.
5. Upper Cut Bags
These are designed for uppercut practice, but you can also use them for straight punch like jab, cross, and hook. You can mount them on walls or ceilings, depending on the size and shape you choose. You can get this type of bag if you are a serious boxing athlete.
6. Wall Bags
They are used for different training endeavors. You can also find them in gyms and training centers with vaulted or high ceilings. Unlike the other types, these ones can be fixed to a wall and do not swivel or rebound. They are not as common as the swinging types; however, they are good for areas where you can’t mount bags on ceilings.
7. Grappling Dummies
They look like human opponents with hands, head, and legs. Generally, they are free-standing and do not have any base to stay rooted. This presents you with an opportunity to perfect strikes, throws, takedowns, and submissions. They are commonly used in MMA, wrestling, judo, and jiu-jitsu.
Tips for Choosing a Punch Bag
You could consider the following when buying a punch bag:
1. Your Size and Age
Just like the real fight, you need to match yourself with a punch bag that will work with your weight and height. Most bags are about 2.5 – 6 feet; their weight range from 60 to 150+ pounds. However, you can find various weights, heights, and widths. Some brands have a mechanism that allows weight adjustment when necessary.
Generally, the sizing rule for an adult when buying a heavy bag entails that it must be at least half of the boxer’s weight. For instance, if a boxer weighs 160 pounds, a bag weighing 80 pounds will be appropriate. Also, the height should be around four or five feet.
2. The Surface Material
Generally, the materials used in making the bags are leather or synthetic like plastic or vinyl. The leather materials are very common and are rated as the gold standard among athletes. They are preferred because of the incredible durability and comfort that they offer, including classic aesthetics.
However, leather materials are more costly than synthetic materials. As a result, many brands use synthetic leather materials that can provide a feeling that mimics leather without costing so much money.
Additionally, synthetic materials are beneficial when used in certain environments. For instance, nylon and vinyl are good for humid places because of their resistance to mildew and mold.
3. The Fill (What’s in the Bag)
This fill will determine the level of firmness, weight, comfort, and the price of the bag. Some brands are pre-filled. However, you have to refill if the previous fill disintegrates or there is a leak. And if the bag came empty, you have to buy a filler.
The most common fillers are sand, water, air, and textile. Each has its own pros and cons, and you can click here to read about them.
Getting fighting gear could be overwhelming due to the number of options available in the store. However, with the tips we shared, you will be able to choose one that is suitable for you.