Whether you are a beginner, expert, or just looking to add cardio and strength training, a punching bag is a great choice.
With so many different size and weight options available, it can be difficult to choose the right bag for you. Depending on your skill level and goals, you need to select the right size punching bag so you can train properly.
What Size Punching Bag Should I Get?
If you’ve never boxed before and want to add a punching bag to your home gym, start light if you’re just using your hands. If your goals also include kicking, consider a freestanding bag.
As a beginner, a 40-pound bag is a good start. As you add power, a 70 to 100-pound bag can serve. If you’re going for a heavyweight title, a 200-pound bag will be needed.
Size and weight of punching bags?
As mentioned, punching bags are available in a variety of sizes and weights. Punching bags range in size from 2.5 feet to 6 feet tall with the 5 foot tall bags being quite common.
Smaller punching bags are generally between 11 to 12.5 inches or 28 to 32 centimeters wide and larger bags can be between 14 to 24 inches or 35.5 to 60 cm wide.
Punching bags can weigh as little as 30 pounds and as heavy as 200 pounds. Most punching bags for beginners weigh around 40 pounds, intermediate boxers will use a 70 to 100 pound bag and heavyweight boxers will use a 200 pounds bag.
What is the correct height for a punching bag?
Once you select the right size punching bag for you, it’s important to set it up at the right height.
A punching bag should be hung between 80 and 120 centimeters off the ground. This is equal to about 2.6 to 4 feet.
However, if you plan to use the punching bag to train kicks, it’s better to hang it between 120 and 150 centimeters or 4 to 5 feet off the ground, since most kicks land a bit higher than the average punch.
You will need to take the height of the bag and your height into consideration when choosing the proper height.
How Hard Should I Be Hitting?
If you’re just going for a good workout, you don’t need that big a bag. The workout of boxing is touching the bag.
If you’re working to move it every time, you may be hitting too hard and putting your hands, wrists, and forearms at risk.
Always start with a warm-up. Small weights, targeted to build up wrist and forearm strength, are a good start. You can also build up hand strength by carrying heavy weights during your walking warm-up.
Finally, put on your hand wraps and your gloves and do some shadow boxing to get a good feel for the weight of the gloves themselves.
Sign up with a coach who can help you build great form. Like any exercise, there’s a right way and a wrong way to box.
If you’ve ever tried to lift too much weight and had a lot of pain or even an injury the next day, you know what poor form and poor choices can do. If you’ve never boxed, get some guidance.
How Can I Protect My Health?
The first step is to learn to wrap your hands. There are 27 bones in your hands and 8 in your wrists. Even if you don’t break any of them, you can tear tissue between them and end up badly hurt.
The harder you hit, the more those bones will want to move around. The tendons and ligaments in your hands may not be able to withstand the pressure of hard hits if you leave your hands unwrapped.
Again, working with a coach is the first step. If you’ve ever tried to wrap your own injuries, you know that you probably didn’t get the first wrap tight enough.
You may be shocked at just how snug a wrap your coach puts on your hands and over your wrists. Get used to it and learn how to do it yourself.
Make sure you also change up your workout to include exercises to strengthen your forearms.
The weight suggestions listed above can strengthen your hands and wrists, but your forearms will take a beating when you first start boxing.
Remember that a boxing workout isn’t all about punching. You also need to focus on strength-building, footwork, and flexibility. Staying hydrated is critical; boxing can work up quite a sweat.
What Will I Gain?
Boxing burns a lot of calories per hour. In the ring, you can burn over 900 calories per hour and at the bag you can break 400.
To that end, you will want to work on your stance and on footwork to get a whole-body workout at the punching bag.
One of the reasons that boxers skip rope is that it trains their heart and lungs without putting a lot of pressure on their joints.
The faster you skip, the lighter you can learn to be on your feet and the harder you will be to hit if you ever choose to get into the boxing ring.
Skipping rope is also great for your core muscles. To maintain an even bounce, your tummy needs to be tight and your spine straight. If you can’t plank, try skipping. It’s also great for your glutes.
Cool Down and Stretch Out
After a hard boxing workout, you still need to cool down and stretch. Find a spot you can really swing your arms and let centrifugal force work on your shoulders. You may feel some pops as things loosen up.
Once your shoulders have opened up, work on your neck. Stretch forward and back, then side to side. Avoid doing a big head roll all the way around at a high speed.
The human skull is over 10 pounds and your neck doesn’t need that kind of pressure.
Take the time to stretch the muscles of your chest wall, but don’t do this until your shoulders are nice and loose. Clasp your fingers behind your back and extend your hands up. Hold the stretch.
You can also take this time to lower your chin and stretch your neck and upper back.
Let your hands fall but keep your fingers clasped. Open your feet to a bit wider than your shoulders. Keeping your spine straight, fold forward. Hold the weight of your upper body on your glutes and hamstrings.
Once you’re folded to 90 degrees, raise your hands. You’ll feel this pull across your chest and possibly in your hamstrings. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then lower your hands and stand back up.
Boxing can be a terrific workout, but it doesn’t have to be all about hitting. It doesn’t even have to be all about moving the bag when you do hit it.
Unless you plan to use it for martial arts that include kicking, a small bag should give you all the punching target you need.