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How To Use a Boxing Bag: A Beginner’s Guide

A boxing bag workout is one of the best forms of exercise for both mind and body. Using a heavy bag can immediately reduce your stress level in a way that no other workout can. In just a few short weeks of training, even beginners will see how physically transformative bag workouts can be. Your strength increases and your whole body becomes more toned.

What Does a Beginner Boxer Need?

These are the 3 (three) main pieces of boxing equipment for beginners:

  • Heavy bag
  • Hand wraps
  • Boxing gloves

Additionally, comfortable, sweat-wicking workout clothing is recommended. While you don’t necessarily need to upgrade from your favorite sneakers just yet, high top boxing shoes are great for added ankle support as you progress. Read more about boxing shoes (link to article).

Are Punching Bags a Good Workout?

Yes! Working out with a punching bag is an exceptional form of aerobic exercise. You will strengthen and tone all muscles in your body, improve your coordination, and get rid of your stress.

One of the key things that makes boxing (and kickboxing) an effective workout is that unlike many other forms of exercise, it is incredibly engaging physically as well as mentally. Many other workouts leave people feeling like they must ‘suffer through it,’ causing them to eventually give up.

With a punching bag, you might find yourself so caught up in the moment that you don’t even realize how hard you are working your body – but you will definitely see and feel the results. Using a punching bag elevates your workout experience by allowing you to simulate real-life fighting experiences.

How Do You Use a Punching Bag For Beginners?

Incorporating a punching bag in your workout is one of the best ways to train. Beginners shouldn’t feel intimidated - here we’ll take a look at some of the most common questions from new fighters.

Is Hitting a Heavy Bag Bad For You?

With proper training and technique, hitting a heavy bag is not bad for you. Since boxing is a full-body workout that combines intense cardio and strength training, beginners should expect to feel some sore muscles. If you are just experimenting with your boxing equipment at home, using common sense and following the general guidelines here should help you avoid any actual injury.

Is It OK To Hit a Heavy Bag Without Gloves?

Bare-knuckle boxing can have a range of benefits, but this is something you want to work up to. As a general rule, beginners should always use both wraps and gloves when hitting the bag to protect hands and wrists during impact.

How Hard Should You Hit a Heavy Bag?

Until you have a solid grasp on basic body positioning for punches and kicks, avoid striking the bag with your full force. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with basic moves through ‘shadow boxing’ before taking it to the bag.

As you become more comfortable, expect most punches to be around 50 – 70 percent of your full power during a normal workout. Remember, there is so much more than just brute force behind every hit and kick. Speed, snap, and accuracy are also part of these movements.

How Long Should You Work Out On a Punching Bag?

It can be difficult for beginners to gauge how long they should work out on a punching bag, but this largely comes down to overall level of fitness, skillset, and perhaps above all – level of motivation.

Beginners should not overextend themselves. More intense sessions should be shorter. Remember, even five minutes on a heavy bag is a great workout.

Is It OK To Hit The Punching Bag Everyday?

Yes and no – this depends largely on your level of fitness as well as the intensity of your workouts.

Beginners are likely to experience more soreness that will decrease over time as the body becomes stronger. If you push yourself too hard when you are still in pain, you are more likely to get injured because your coordination is compromised. Overtraining can severely hinder your progress and have adverse effects on your overall health.

Even as you become more advanced, it is important to switch up the intensity of your punching bag workouts to allow for muscle recovery.

Unleash Your Full Potential

Boxing and kickboxing don’t need to feel intimidating for beginners. If you have the right tools and the desire, adding a solid training program takes the guesswork out of beginner boxing bag workouts to help you crush your personal goals faster.


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.