Using a punching bag is one of the best ways to develop strength, stay fit, and reduce stress. Whether you are working on a bag for fun or preparing for a real fight in the street or the ring, it’s necessary to find the right bag for your needs, hang it properly, a work out consistently. With a little preparation, training, and a ton of hard work, you will be working the bag like a pro.
Visit a boxing club to learn the basics of boxing. Using a punching bag may not seem a brainer, especially if you just want to work out for fitness or releasing stress. However, there are very specific punching techniques, methods and rhythms that you can never learn on your own.
By meeting with a boxing or a gym instructor, you can easily learn the basic techniques.
An expert will also help you find out which type of punching bag is suitable for you.
If you don’t have a gym or a boxing club nearby, try watching instructional videos on the internet.
Buy a good quality punching bag. It better to buy a punching bag made up of heavy-duty leather, vinyl or canvas. The average punching bag weight is around 80 pounds , but some lightweight bags can be 35 pounds and heavy bags can reach up to 200 pounds.
For general fitness and improving your punch accuracy, choose a lighter bag.
For boxing or MMA, choose a heavy bag.
Use boxing gloves hand protection. If you are using the punching bag punching bag on a regular basis, buy a pair of quality boxing gloves with a thick padding to avoid any kind of injury to your hands.
You can also use hand wraps under your gloves for reducing the impact further and for additional protection.
Dress properly. Keep your loose or long hair pulled back, dress in the fitness clothes that fit well your form but do not restrict your movement, and wear good quality shoes and socks. It’s important to dress the proper way, so that you do not get your clothing caught by the swinging bag.
Wearing good shoes would help you prevent slipping
Learn the different types of punches and kicks. Some of the basic ones you can start out with, would be hook, lead, and elbow strikes, uppercut strikes, and knee, front, and roundhouse kicks.
Read a punching bag guide or browse some online videos to review any technique that you might have not learned at the boxing club or gym.
Mounting Your Punching Bag
Choose a location to hang the bag. You should choose a place where you have plenty of space to move around the punching bag and to accommodate the swinging bag. The space shouldn’t have barriers and debris.
The amount of space you’ll need depends on the type of your training, but generally an 8 ft by 8 ft (or 2.5*2.5 meters) square space is good to get started.
Basements are a generally better places for hanging a punching bag because they usually provide stronger mounting options and will help decrease the sound of the punches falling on the bag.
Find a stud beam in your ceiling. The beam should be at least 24 inches (61 centimeters) away from a side wall. It is crucial that you hang the punch bag from a stud or elsewise it could fall and hurt you if it’s heavy enough that the ceiling could not support it.
Drill a hole into the stud beam. Install an eyebolt screw into the hole. When drilling a hole, use a drill bit size slightly smaller than the size of the eyebolt. This will ensure that it fits well.
Installing the eyebolt. Once you have drilled the hole, insert the eyebolt and turn it by hand. As it becomes tighter, use a screwdriver to finish the tightening.
Attach a swivel hook to the punching bag’s chains. A swivel hook will help the bag to spin freely. This decreases the tension on the eyebolt.
Connect the swivel hook and the eyebolt with an S hook. The S hook will allow an easy connection between the eyebolt and swivel hook.
If you are using a lighter bag, you may also tie the bag to the floor, to stop it from swinging here and there making it difficult to workout.
Installing a wall mount or a stand. If you don’t have the opportunity to hang your bag, a wall mount or stand can be quiet good alternatives. Make sure to follow the instructions that comes with them to ensure safety.
Wall mounts are quiet sturdy, but they limit the swing of the bag and your movements around the bag. Kicks and punch angles also become more difficult to set up with them.
A bag stand would restrict your movement even more than a wall mount, but it is way easier to remove and store, so it’s a good option if you don’t want to keep the equipment out all the time.
Punching the Bag
Stretch to warm up yourself. Stretching reduces the risk of injury and muscle pull. Make sure you stretch your arms, back, and legs before working on the punching bag.
You can also warm up with some cardio exercise, such as jogging or a quick jump rope session.
Most Experts Agree: If you do not stretch before working punching bag, you can get seriously injured especially if you are out of practice. So make sure to get your body warmed up.
Start slow. Punching bags are basically designed to help you improve and develop your punching power, and that takes time. So take your time. You can begin by working the bag for 60 seconds and then increase your working time by another 30 seconds with each session.
Very intense punching sessions should not be exceed 5 minutes.
Work on the bag only 3-4 times a week
Work like a real fight: When you are working on a punching bag, consider it like a real fight. Don’t go will all you speed and efforts; otherwise, you’ll get tired very quickly. Instead throw some slower punches, then bring in some speed.
Hit properly. When you hit the bag, make sure that the knuckles of your middle and index fingers hit the bag first. Hitting with smaller knuckles will increase the chances of getting your knuckles fractured.
Read Also : How to punch harder in a street fight
Don’t ignore balance. Balance and posture are very important when working a bag. You’ll attain Speed and force once you have got a rhythm of punching with balance and good posture.
Don’t throw yourself on the bag. Instead just throw punches on the bag, when you’re punching, maintain your balanced by keeping your feet planted on the ground.
By focusing on posture and balance, you can keep your body aligned during the workout, and that results in burning of more calories, better fitness, less injuries.
Keep your wrist straight and your elbows tight. When punching the bage make sure you keep your wrists straight or you’ll get your wrist fractured. Also keep your elbows tight while punching, but do not tense them.
It takes time to increase your wrist and tendon strength. Never hit the bag at full force in the beginning.
Don’t tense your elbows. Tensing your elbows can result in strain.
Hit the bag, don’t push it. This seems obvious, but at times on starts pushing the bag with your fists instead punching it swiftly, especially when one’s tired. Punching a bag produces a ‘smack’ and pushing it gives a ‘thud’ instead.
Keep moving when you are not punching. Like in a real fight, where you have to be in the defense mode when you are not striking. The same applies here. Keep your body, hand and feet moving in between punches.
Don’t wait too long. Professional boxers never take a break longer than 2 seconds between two punches. So don’t wait between punches.
Breathe. Breath rhythmically when you’re punching. If you are moving fast, you will have to breath fast. If you are a bit relaxed, relax your breathing too. Breathing the right way while punching is more important than punching itself, because breathing helps you conserve your energy and build up your endurance with time.
A common mistake people make is that they hold their breath when they punch. Always exhale when you hit.
Practice the good kick form. Never hit the bag with your toes or ankle. Hit it with your instep or the side of the foot according to proper techniques.
Use combinations. Once you have got some stamina and technique, try combining kicks and punches on the bag.
You can find out combination ideas online by using the term “punching bag combinations.”
Don’t overdo it. Professional boxers normally never spend more than 5-7 minutes working a punching bag, so make sure that you pace yourself! If you are working the bag for fitness or weight loss with lots of movement between the strikes, you can the work the bag longer in that case.
Take a cool-down session. After finishing the workout, take time to cool-down with a brisk walk, and preferably do some stretching.