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Why You Should Start Training With a Punching Bag

One of the commonly talked about aspects of training as a boxer is whether or not a punching bag is completely necessary. Some boxers choose to use a bag, some choose to use mitts, and others simply choose to shadowbox and forego equipment altogether.

When you are just starting to learn a new boxing combo, your best bet may be to practice shadowboxing until you have that move down. This can help to prevent injury in case you are incorrectly throwing a strike.

However, switching to training on a punching bag after perfecting a technique is the best way to train, as it can help you develop power and further refine your technique.

Despite this, many new and even experienced boxers may have questions such as:

  • Does a punching bag build muscle?
  • Is it OK to hit the punching bag every day?

At the end of the day, there’s not a single right way to train as a boxer, however, using a punching bag for your boxing workouts can have numerous benefits. In this article, we will discuss three (3) reasons you should start training with a bag today.

What Are The Benefits of a Punching Bag Workout?

One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of a punching bag workout is that it increases forearm, wrist, and general punch strength. An added benefit is that working out on a bag can be done everyday, as long as your hands and muscles feel up to it.

With that in mind, opting to add a punching bag to your workout can provide these three (3) benefits:

1. Effective Striking Practice

Shadowboxing is excellent for getting your technique nailed down, but throwing those strikes on a bag more realistically mimics an actual fight.

It can be difficult to tell if you are throwing a strike correctly in the air as you have no feedback. Obviously, you don’t want to injure yourself, but slowly transitioning to a bag after shadowboxing can give you a real physical feel for the strike.

When you punch the air, it’s impossible to truly tell if you have the technique down or not. Hitting an object such as a punching bag can help you refine your strikes and strengthen your power.

2. More Difficult Workouts

Striking a bag brings both extra cardio and strength-training into your workout.

It’s hard to increase your punching power through shadowboxing alone. While heavy bag benefits are numerous, increased resistance is one of the biggest.

Physically hitting a heavy bag with your strike can build your arm muscles, and make you work harder throughout your entire workout. As you strike a bag, the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and legs are all engaged more than when you are shadowboxing.

3. Improved Balance and Coordination

An often untold benefit of striking a punching bag is the increased balance and coordination you will develop over time.

When you throw a strike while shadowboxing, you are in control of your balance, but you lose this control when you throw a strike at a punching bag. For example, if you use a hanging heavy bag and throw a jab followed by a hook, you need to account for the movement of the bag. Additionally, a bag has a defined area where you will be aiming for when you strike. Practicing with a punching bag can help you develop better coordination and aim with your strikes.

Is Hitting The Punching Bag a Good Workout?

Yes, hitting the punching bag is a good workout, regardless of your boxing level. Although shadowboxing is an effective workout for learning basic boxing techniques, boxing with a heavy bag can further build your boxing skills and muscles.

With that in mind, not every punching bag may be right for your training (What Is The Best Punching Bag). For perspective, there are heavy bags, speed bags, angled heavy bags, and more. On top of this, decisions about what material the bag is made of, such as leather or PU, and whether the bag is freestanding or not, all depend on you and your environment.

Any bag can help develop your power, but choosing the best punching bag for you and your situation can yield even better results (Punching Bag Guide For Beginners) and can help you take your training to the next level and round out your exercises and boxing workout.

How Long Should I Punch a Punching Bag?

There’s no right or wrong answer for how long to punch a bag.

A punching bag workout for beginners typically has you working in bag strikes with general strength training, such as push-ups or sit-ups. All in all, hitting a punching bag anywhere from 20-30 minutes a day can provide some of the above benefits.

As with any workout, as you increase the time you practice, you’ll begin to see even more benefits. A punching bag isn’t completely necessary for a boxing workout, but utilizing one can take your training to the next level!


The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years of experience training clients in boxing and fitness.