Strength & Conditioning Exercises To Do With a Punching Bag

Strength & Conditioning Exercises To Do With a Punching Bag

A punching bag is a surprisingly versatile piece of workout equipment. Maximize the use of your heavy bag with these exercises for strength and conditioning.

Published: January 27, 2022

Topics: Tips & Tutorials, Boxing Equipment

Author: Mollie McGurk

The advantages of having a standing bag at home cannot be overstated. Heavy bags can provide an excellent workout that goes beyond standing boxing drills and shadowboxing.

A quality standing bag is an asset for stretching, conditioning, and adding variety to your workout routine. You can even jazz up your bag with household items to really make for some unique workouts. Switching up your boxing or kickboxing drills with some creative strength training exercises is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your training - and make it more fun!

Does a punching bag tone your body?

Yes, working out with a punching bag will tone your body. Consistent boxing and kickboxing training, in tandem with adopting healthier eating habits, can get you in the best shape of your life. Adding some strength training to your workouts will only help you to achieve your fitness goals faster.

What exercises can you do with a punching bag?

There are many exercises you can do with a punching bag. Punching bags are a great tool for stretching, strengthening, and of course, punching and kicking your way to better health.

Make full use of your heavy bag as a stretching aide before going all-out with your boxing/kickboxing drills.

Four (4) punching bag stretches:

1. Side Leg Swings

Leg swings are great for loosening up your hip flexors before and after a workout (especially for kickboxers).

Shanie Smash Doing Side Leg Swings
  • Stand in front of your heavy bag

  • Place both hands on or near the top of the bag for stability

  • Lift your right leg straight to the side from the hip, aiming for about a 45-degree angle from your body

  • Bring your leg down slowly across your left leg

  • Continue gently ‘swinging’ your right leg for 30 seconds

  • Repeat with the left leg for another 30 seconds

2. Front Leg Swings

Not only are you loosening up your hips, but you’re stretching the full length of your legs from your calves to your glutes.

Shanie Smash Doing Front Leg Swings
  • Stand to the right, next to your heavy bag

  • Place your left hand on or near the top of the bag for stability

  • Raise your right leg straight out in front of you aiming for a 90-degree angle from your body

  • Slowly bring your leg back down past your left leg and stretch it out behind you

  • Continue this motion for 30 seconds

  • Switch sides and repeat with the left leg for another 30 seconds

3. Back & Shoulder Stretch

A standing bag is the perfect tool for maximizing your stretching capabilities on training days and on off days. Use this stretch to release tension in your back and shoulders any time.

Shanie Smash Doing a Back Shoulder Stretch
  • Stand about arm’s length facing your bag

  • Place both hands on or near the top of the bag

  • Bending at the hips, let your torso fall forward until you feel the stretch in your shoulders and back

  • Hold for 30 seconds

  • Slowly return to stand

4. Bicep & Shoulder Stretch

Stretching your biceps and shoulders is essential before and after crushing a heavy bag workout.

  • Stand slightly less than arm’s length to the right of your bag with your heels in line with the edge of the base

  • Lift your left arm to shoulder height with your palms facing forward

  • Place your left palm on the side of the bag, fingers pointing away from you

  • Gently rotate your torso to the right until you feel the stretch through your bicep and shoulder

  • Hold for 30 seconds

  • Switch sides and repeat with the right arm

Does a punching bag help build muscle?

Absolutely. The resistance provided by a punching bag challenges your muscles every time you make contact. Strength training is an integral part of professional fighters, and their time on the bag contributes to their muscle growth.

Four (4) punching bag strength-building exercises:

1. Straight Punches

You don’t always have to be hitting complex combos on the bag – try straight punches to really work your arms and shoulders.

Shanie Smash Throwing Straight Punches
  • Stand facing the bag directly (not in fighting stance)

  • Extend your right arm in front of you throwing a “punch”, hitting the bag straight on

  • Repeat with the left arm

  • Continue alternating with straight punches for 30 seconds

Advanced Move: For an added challenge, try increasing speed, power, or both!

2. Squat Punches

To work your legs and glutes at the same time, hit some straight punches from a low squat.

Shanie Smash Doing Squat Punches
  • Stand facing the bag

  • Push your butt out behind you and bend your knees into a squat position

  • Repeat the exercise above and deliver as many straight punches to the bag as you can from the squat for 30 seconds

Variation: To give your legs a break, alternate high and low punches standing for 30 seconds, then squatting for 30 seconds.

3. Boxer Sit-Ups

Blast through a core workout with your standing bag by adding some boxer sit-ups to your routine.

Shanie Smash Doing Boxer Sit-Ups
  • Sit on the floor facing your standing bag

  • Straddle the base of the bag with your feet and bend your knees in a sit-up position

  • Lie back on the floor

  • Using your core, lift yourself up in a sit-up

  • From your seated position, deliver one strong punch to the bag

  • Lay back down and repeat, striking with the alternate arm

  • Continue with as many sit-ups as you can, alternating the punching arm each time

4. Plank Punches

The plank position is as close to perfect full-body conditioning as you can get – add in some punches and you will definitely feel the full-body burn (in a good way).

Shanie Smash Doing Plank Punches
  • Assume a high plank position arm’s length from your standing bag

  • Balance your upper body on your left arm as you raise your right to punch the bag

  • Lower your right arm and repeat with the left

  • Continue alternating punches while holding the plank for 30 seconds

Trainer Tip: Light contact with the bag is perfectly fine for these, don’t knock yourself off balance by trying to deliver a knockout hit from this position.

Make Your Boxing Equipment Work For You

Having a standing bag at home can add a lot to your workout routine. Many of these stretches and conditioning exercises can be done without any boxing equipment, using just a wall or chair for balance support, but to truly reap the strength-building benefits, a high-quality punching bag will be your best bet. The usefulness of a good heavy bag goes far beyond boxing and kickboxing drills - be creative with it!

To get the most out of your heavy bag, you need to choose the right bag for your workouts. At FightCamp, we have engineered our free-standing punching bag for stability and performed side-by-side comparisons against some of the most popular bags on the market. You can find out more about our signature free-standing bag, including detailed setup instructions, on the boxing equipment section of our Blog and see heavy hitters like the legendary Mike Tyson put it to the test on our YouTube Channel.

Mollie McGurk

Mollie McGurk is a writer and has trained in boxing, kickboxing, MMA, and HIIT for over 10 years. She has also studied personal training through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) program.

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