For boxing training, punching bags are an essential piece of equipment after your gloves. However, some people want a punching bag solely for fitness purposes. This guide will address what to look for in punching bags (both heavy and speed) no matter what your goals.
'''What is your purpose?'''
When talking heavy bags, you have to decide whether you want to go pro or if you are just buying a bag for exercising in general. For fitness use, budget and mid-priced models are the best bets. Higher quality, heavy bags are geared towards pros and generally are a waste of money for people looking to simply get a workout. As far as speed bags go, only those interested in boxing seriously need look into them.
Heavy Bag Types
Mounting a Hanging Bag
You'll need to buy either ceiling mounts, a wall mount, or a stand.
* If you have the room, a ceiling mount allows for the best mobility and the most versatility when working out since you can move around the bag as if you were sparring. Ceiling mounts also allow you to have a really wide target range, meaning that you can use this setup for both boxing and kickboxing. Not only that, but ceiling mounts can take heavy heavy bags or double ended bags, lightweight bags secured on two ends used for improving speed.
* Wall mounts are best if you have limited space or if you don't have a secure enough beam for hanging a heavy bag.
* For those with little room, and an interest in boxing, not kicking, a heavy bag stand will provide you with an economical home system for working your power hits and even your speed. As you can see from the picture below, some models have a location to hang a speed bag.
* Some heavy bag stands, such as the Cornerman, are designed with kicking in mind. However, these take up quite a bit of room.
Choosing the Weight
Part of choosing the right weight is knowing yourself. When you box (or work out with a heavy bag), how much do you like the bag to move and what are your goals?
* Heavy bags that have little sway are meant for developing power and strength as well as form. However, if you are more interested in enhancing your speed, lighter, smaller bags are best.
* The less you want the bag to move, the heavier the bag needs to be. The more sway you want, the less a bag should weigh.
* Generally, heavier boxers need a heavier bag as do stronger boxers. Adult males over 170 pounds should have a bag that weighs at least 100 pounds for heavy hitting.
* Keep in mind that if a bag is too heavy, it will not absorb the hit and may actually cause damage to your hands.
Deciding on Materials
There are a few types of materials that can be chosen: Canvas, vinyl, powerhide (synthetic leather), and leather. Besides leather, which is reserved for pros and gym use, all these materials are suitable for budget and mid-range purposes. Powerhide will most closely resemble to feel of leather and its durability, but these will cost a bit more.
The interior of a heavy bag needs to be filled with something too.
: '''Hanging Bags''' -- Regular fill bags are solid and sturdy. They feature a 1" foam lining and a shredded fiber filler. For a more forgiving hit, 2" foam liners are used over the filter, often referred to as soft fill bags. Finally, there is a unique water filled bag with or without a foam liner (meant to offer more stability). In either case, a water bag features a nylon reinforced vinyl and it can be adjusted to suit your weight requirements.
: '''Standing Bags''' -- Instead of fillers, standing bags take either sand or water. Filling with water will give the bag a realistic feel and a forgiving hit, but the sand will add weight and make the hit more solid. Remember you can always start with one and change your mind later.