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How to Choose the Right Punching Bag for Your Workout

Boxing can be one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular exercise. As a high impact form of training—it offers substantial calorie burning benefits while improving stamina and endurance.

Choosing the right punching bag is the key to improved workout performance and success. With so many options and sizes available it can be difficult to determine which punching bag is right for you. We’ll show you how to pick the right boxing equipment for home use.

How do I know which punching bag to buy?

Individuals should strive to choose punching bags best suited to their individual goals and experience levels. Understanding different types of bags is an essential element of finding the right boxing equipment for home boxing. There are many factors to consider when choosing a punching bag, such as size, type, quality, and price. Once you have identified your specific needs and your budget, you’ll be able to select the bag that’s right for you.

Which type of punching bag is best?

Like other forms of workout equipment—punching bags come in all types of shapes and sizes. They each have their own pros and cons and the “best” one for you depends on your needs. The first thing you need to do is determine where your training space will be and what kind of bag is best for your space. Here are some of the different options you can choose from:

  • Heavy bag
  • Free-standing bag
  • Speed bag

When should you use a heavy bag?

Heavy bags—like the name implies—are punching bags generally weighing up to 200 pounds. Traditional hanging bags can be a great, cost-effective option for the right person. These types of punching bags are usually hung from ceilings. With traditional hanging bags, the main thing to consider is whether you’re willing and able to anchor the bag permanently into your wall or ceiling. They will take a lot of abuse and will swing around freely, so they will need to be properly installed by a professional. Hanging your bag from a metal stand that sits on the floor is also an option but these metal stands are often very clunky, cause a lot of noise, take up a lot of space, and can ruin floor surfaces as they shift around a lot with impact. 

What types of heavy punching bags are there?

There are two types of heavy punching bags you can use:

  1. The traditional hanging bags that you see hanging in most boxing gyms and in Rocky movies
  2. Free-standing punching bags that you would often see in martial arts studios

Generally heavy bags are used to improve upon punching and kicking skills. Heavy bags may be used in a number of different fighting sports including boxing, Muy Thai, and karate. 

How to pick the size of the heavy punching bag

If you’re wondering what weight size is best for you—the general rule of thumb states that heavy bags should be approximately half your body weight. A 200 pound man may find a 100 pound bag suitable for use. In general for most adults, hanging bags should be at least 80 pounds to provide a good experience. 

Here’s some basic guidelines regarding various punching bag weights:

  • 40 pounds: optimal for youth boxers and young beginners
  • 70 pounds: designed for teenagers and beginners
  • 100 pounds: moderate weight lifters
  • 200 pounds: designed for heavy weight boxers

Heavy bags are versatile enough to fit within all different types of fighting styles.

When should you use a free-standing bag?

Free-standing bags are punching bags that do not require mounting. These bags are typically attached to heavy bases weighted down with sand or water. Free-standing bags can be easily moved between workouts.

Free-standing bags are great for practicing various kicking techniques or for use in rooms with limited wall installation options. These types of bags can be placed in living rooms or bedrooms for easy accessibility and portability. 

A drawback with most free-standing bags is that they can jump around a lot when hit hard. This is especially the case with a lot of the smaller, less expensive models, so what you save on in cost, you pay for in a crappier experience. The FightCamp free-standing bag is unlike most free-standing bags on the market. If you’re wondering how the FightCamp free-standing bag holds up to pressure - you can take a look at this video.

When should you use a speed bag?

Speed bags are much smaller than their other punching bag counterparts. They help athletes improve punching speed while simultaneously enhancing strength, timing, and cardiovascular endurance. 

Unlike other types of bags—speed bags are filled with air and are often suspended from ceilings or walls. Speed bags tend to have a teardrop shape and are commonly used for traditional boxing training. 

How can you determine the quality of a punching bag?

Consider safety first. A quality bag will have good resistance but not be packed too hard--some bags tend to be packed too hard and can hurt or injure your hand. You also want to consider durability. You’re going to be hitting it over and over and you want it to last through your training. This is where craftsmanship comes into play. Typically bags made in the USA are of higher quality and tend to last longer. The best way to find a quality bag is to do your research, ask people you trust, and read reviews.

How much can you expect to pay for a punching bag?

The price range for a good hanging bag is often cheaper than a good free-standing bag and can run you anywhere from $100 - $250, but you also have to consider how it will be mounted. Depending on your set up, this can end up costing you more. On the other hand, a free-standing bag can cost anywhere between $150 - $500, but if you want a free-standing bag that you are going to be happy with and that will last, expect to spend on the higher end of that range.

Which punching bag is right for you?

Punching bags are the most vital component of boxing equipment for home. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert—having the right punching bag can make all the difference in your workouts. Once you determine where your training space will be, you can look into the correct size, type, and option for your price point and your goals. If you have the space and money, heavy bags are great for working on punching and kicking skills. If you are looking for something that can be easily moved and doesn’t require professional installation, free-standing bags are portable and allow you to practice kicking techniques. Finally, if you are looking to improve your speed, strength, and endurance, speed bags are small and perfect for practicing finesse.

FightCamp is an at-home interactive boxing gym experience that provides access to hundreds of online, on-demand classes. As the leader in at-home boxing workouts—it uses equipment and personalized online training courses with skilled experts to help you get in shape quickly.

Our unique free-standing bag and specially designed workouts provide boxers of all skill levels with the tools needed to get into top notch shape. Look good and feel great with everything you need to become the best version of yourself.

For more information about our world-class training programming, be sure to check out our website for additional support.


The Author: Shanie "Smash" Rusth is an undefeated professional mixed martial artist, FightCamp Trainer, and mother of two. She began training MMA in 2011 as a way to get in shape, learn a new skill, channel aggression, and feel empowered after becoming a young single mom. Outside of practicing martial arts and being a trainer, Shanie loves spending time in the gym and being active in the sunshine with her kids by going to the beach, running in the soft sand, and riding skateboards.