Heavy Bag Workouts: The Ultimate Guide To Punching-Bag Fitness
Unless you have a martial arts background, you don’t often hear a lot about boxing or heavy bag workout routines. Outside of a fitness boot camp, these moves aren’t really a part of a routine gym-goers program.
But that’s unfortunate because heavy bag and speed bag workouts are insane fat blasters, strength builders and stamina boosters. So you shouldn’t underestimate or look over these workouts.
Use this ultimate guide to heavy bag cardio workouts to amplify your fitness and endurance today.
What’s the difference between a heavy bag workout and a punching bag?
First things first — what is a boxing heavy bag workout? And does it have anything to do with those punching bags you see in Rocky movies?
Yes! In fact, a heavy bag is a type of punching bag. It’s usually a metre to a metre-and-a-half long cylindrical bag that weighs anywhere from 15 kgs to about 100 kgs. It’s used for punching and hangs from the ceiling or another structure overhead.
Sometimes, you’ll also see standing heavy bags for workouts. However, those should be used for punching, not heavy bag kick workouts. The way that kicks land on a standing heavy bag progressively moves the bag each time — potentially compromising an otherwise stable stance.
Generally, you should aim to purchase a heavy bag that’s roughly half of your body weight. The benefit of heavy bags is that they’re, well, heavy enough to stay stable no matter how much strength you apply with each strike. This protects your limbs, knuckles and feet because there’s no aftershock.
Most bags come pre-filled with sand, water, textiles or air. Which fill works best for you is a matter of personal preference.
Basic heavy bag training workout moves
Before you invest in heavy bag training workouts, you’ll want to practice something called shadowboxing. That’s when you’re focused on mastering the most basic boxing heavy bag workout moves without actually having a heavy bag in front of you.
So, the most important punches you’ll work with include:
- The jab
- The cross
- Left and right hook
- Left and right uppercut
These may sound easy but try performing a sequence of these moves with perfect form, and you’ll soon feel your shoulders start to burn. The way to build strength and stamina during the shadowboxing phase of a heavy bag cardio workout routine is to follow these stipulations:
- For every move type, make sure you’re punching and extending your arm all the way through the punch. Don’t pull out of the punch without moving fully through it.
- Isolate every punch and throw with as much power as you can.
- Focus on the movement and rotation the rest of your body makes as you work through hooks, crosses and jabs in particular.
- Always protect your knuckles using sparring mitts or tape. You should also protect your wrists by keeping them straight and strong on impact.
The benefits of a heavy bag cardio workout
A heavy-bag fitness workout is one of the best and most effective ways to tap into several health benefits at once. It’s a total body workout for your physical body — but it also requires a high breathing capacity, good balance, consistent form and hand-eye coordination.
Here are just a few benefits an intense heavy bag training workout promises you:
- Increased fitness, core stability, coordination, power and mental endurance
- Improved upper-body strength, including bones, tendons and ligaments
- Better self-defence skills and an awareness of spatial dynamics
- Improved self-esteem and confidence
- Reduced anxiety, stress and better hormonal balance
- Sustained weight loss and a reliable way to build lean muscle
How to get started with a boxing heavy bag workout
If you’re new to heavy bag cardio workout routines, it’s a good idea to start slow and build up your stamina progressively. Once you master the basic punches, you can start to add in other boxing-focused conditioning moves (such as incorporating a jump rope routine).
Here’s a fantastic beginner-friendly heavy bag cardio workout:
- Warm-up — 10 minutes jump rope, 20 squats (bodyweight only is fine), 20 push-ups (modify if you need to) and 40 crunches.
- Heavy bag work — Three rounds of jab-cross-hook, rest for 60 seconds between rounds, repeat four times.
- Finisher — 50 push-ups, 50 squats, 100 sit-ups.
3 advanced heavy bag workout routines
1. Boxing heavy bag workout
Six rounds, 3 minutes per round, 1-minute rest between rounds
- Round 1: Jab
- Round 2: Jab-cross combo
- Round 3: Left hook
- Round 4: Right hook
- Round 5: Left uppercut
- Round 6: Right uppercut
2. Speed heavy bag workout drill
Four rounds, 3 minutes per round, 1-minute breaks between rounds
- Round 1: Jab-cross combo
- Round 2: Straight right jab, left hook
- Round 3: Jab, right hook
- Round 4: Uppercut-hook combo
3. Defence heavy bag cardio workout
Five rounds, 3 minutes per round, 1-minute breaks between rounds.
- Begin by pulling back as though you’re dodging an incoming jab.
- Next, throw a straight right jab, followed quickly by a left hook, then duck under your imaginary opponent’s counter right.
- Bob and weave to the right, followed by a counter right jab. Do this a few times.
- For the final sequence, do a shoulder roll, left-hand right hook, straight left jab and roll under an incoming right hook.
Start punching above your weight with Gym and Fitness
A heavy bag fitness routine can completely transform how your body looks and feels. It can also complement other workout styles you have going on. So, for example, if you’re a runner or a cyclist, committing to a heavy bag training workout at least once or twice a week can condition your body for greater endurance and stamina. Then, when you’re ready to up your game, check out Gym and Fitness heavy bags for the best brands available.