Boxing Punchbags

In a boxing gym, you will find a whole variety of punch bags and each of them serve a different purpose. As for their names - The majority are named after their size, use, or mounting method, and are either covered in leather, vinyl, or some other synthetic material. Some of the punchbags are still covered in canvas, but you can't just give those a quick wipe like you can with the synthetically covered bags, so they are real difficult to keep clean and can suffer badly if the humidity in the gym tends to be high.

The fillings of traditional punchbags can vary between air, water, sand, rags, grains etc. Most now arrive from the supplier with the manufacturers own specially designed fillings though.

If you are just starting out in boxing, you may begin by inheriting an old unfilled punch bag, or if you just want to save some money, you can buy new unfilled punch bags from boxing equipment suppliers. That will certainly save you quite a bit of cash as the filling is often the most expensive part of a punchbag anyway.

So if you get hold of an unfilled punchbag, what do you use as a filling?

Well the speed bags are easy - They are all just filled with air.

The heavy punch bags are a different matter though.

Many people will opt fill them with water or sand - Now water is a good enough filler for a heavy punchbag, but if you want to use that, it would be a smart move to make sure that your bag is actually waterproof first, or keep a mop and a few buckets handy as you might need them.

Most professional boxers will opt for sand as a heavy punchbag filler, but to the younger or less experienced boxer, that is going to feel like you're punching a brick wall and you are very likely to injure yourself. So many fighters will opt for a 'mixed filling' for the heavy bag - Fill the bottom third of the bag with fine sand. Then use any old soft material (loose foam granuals, feathers, rags, etc) to line the outside of the top two thirds, before giving that section a core of more fine sand. That helps to keep the punch bag 'heavy', but it also gives you a slightly softer bag to hit.
When working on any type of punch bag, have a goal and a plan as to what you are going to work on that day. Just hitting the punch bag for the sake of it might be fun, but it isn't really going to teach you anything.


Basic Tips On The Heavy Bag And Speed Bag
Hitting the heavy bag properly is a wee bit like hitting a golf ball, as the sound can be very satisfying when you learn how to hit it properly. Hitting the heavy bag is also real good therapy as it's a great way to work off some stress.

Why do boxers use those heavy punchbags?
You can certainly do it for the above reason alone, but what about the contribution to your boxing ability?

The heavy bag can be your opponent while you practice your footwork and combination punches. You also work on the heavy punch bag to help build up your stamina. You want to be able to do a short round, then a longer one and eventually many rounds of non-stop heavy bag work. Perhaps the best tip with regards to the heavy punch bag is to keep moving and punching constantly. Don't stop to admire the bag, or stare at it because you are tiring. Either fight through that fatigue, or walk away from the heavy bag to return for another round later.

Finally - Don't try and keep slamming your fists into it as hard as you can. No one has ever knocked out a heavy punch bag before and you won't manage to KO it either. All you will do is risk causing yourself unnecessary injury, as you sure won't injure the heavy bag.
Working With The Speed Bag Is Entirely Different
The objective for you when using a speed bag is learning how to establish a boxing rhythm, and maintaining that rhythm while using different combinations of punches.

You should start out slowly, if you try to go with a fast rhythm from the beginning you won't benefit much. You are there to learn to box and gradually improve your hand-eye coordination, not try to show everyone how fast you can to make the wee speed bag move. Practice often, begin slowly, concentrate on your boxing technique and the speed will come naturally through time. The speed only comes through patience and practice.

Soon you'll be able to pick a fly out of mid-air in front of your face (but only if you take your boxing gloves off first)  ;)

Double End Punch Bag

A double end punch bag, sometimes called a focus bag, is usually fixed to the floor and ceiling by elastic materials that are similar to bungee ropes. The double end bag is a light round punch bag, you use it to practice your accuracy and mobility while punching a moving target. Double end punch bags generally hang at the height of your waist or mid chest, and encourage rhythm, stance, quick hands and feet. When hit rapidly enough, these punch bags can quickly rebound and hit back from unsuspecting angles, so they make great training tools for up-and-coming boxers.

Heavy Punch Bag
This piece of boxing equipment is the largest of all the punch bags. Mostly weighing between 40 and 100 pounds, the heavy punch bag is usually suspended by chains or thick ropes from a fixed point and is used for working on powerful body punches and combination strikes. Hitting the heavy punch bag is physically very demanding and a excellent test of the your strength and stamina.

Heavy punch bags come labelled 'hard fill' or 'soft fill'.  To be honest there is little difference between the two, except that the soft fill variety comes with an extra layer of foam. That's about it.

Maize Punch Bag
Filled with maize, you use the maize punching bag for lighter punches in order to mostly practice your head movements (slipping and ducking) as a way of avoiding an opponent’s blows. This piece of boxing equipment is also sometimes known as a 'slip bag'.
Speed Punch Bag
The smallest type of punch bag - The speed bag (sometimes known as a speed ball) is filled with air and fixed at the top to a rebound board. The aim of using the speed punch bag is to allow you to practice keeping your hands up in front of your face during a fight, as well as to improve your hand eye coordination and speed while shifting weight between your feet.

Swerve Balls

Swerve balls often use a cable system, that's attached to the ceiling and a clip on the floor - When you place any motion on the ball, it tightly reacts by swinging fast towards you. The object of using the swerve ball is to swerve, punch, dodge and learn about coordination. The harder and faster they are hit - the more they rebound and react in different motions of angles, giving you greater practice.
Pedestal Punch Bag (also known as the tower bag)

Unlike the other types of punch bags, the pedestal punch bag is not suspended from anywhere, but stands on a weighted pedestal. Like the heavy bag, it is used to practice powerful punches, and more specifically uppercut punches which aim at your opponent’s head and upper part of their body.
Body Opponent Punch Bag
Shaped like a human, the body opponent punching bag is made of synthetic materials such as form and is usually fixed to a pedestal, allowing you to practice punches on a simulated human opponent.
Uppercut Punch Bag
The uppercut punch bag is a common piece of boxing equipment in clubs and gyms. As the name suggests, it was mainly designed for uppercut practice, but is also used for jabbing, curl punching and quick bursts of high and low punching practice. It allows you to punch at different lengths, speeds and forces, compared to the standard 4ft straight punching bags.
Final Note On Punch Bags

You can either make your own punch bags or buy them from a boxing equipment supplier. Homemade punch bags at the beginning, can even be something as simple as a duffle bag that is filled with sand. The material which the bag is made of is not really all that important, so long as te bag and filling is durable and tough enough to withstand daily use.

The earliest form of punch bags were actually made from Kangaroo skin, but they probably jumped about so much that no boxer could hit them. :P


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