Get the most from your Heavy Bag Workout
Here are some tips to help you get the most from your workout
Be sure to do proper rotational and warm up exercises to loosen the joints and stretch your muscles. Start from the bottom and work up: your ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists should all be worked to get the synovial fluid flowing to lubricate your joints. Jumping rope for 5 minutes is a good warm up to get your blood circulating and to warm the muscles, keep it low impact and you’ll gradually raise your core temperature as you go.
The object isn’t to hit the bag hard, Focus on your technique and landing solid, snapping punches consistently. Simply trying to pummel the bag into submission at the expense of proper form will negate any training value and could lead to injury. You want to hit the bag not push it around, strike and return, strike and return. You should hear a firm “Smack” as you make contact with the bag as opposed to a dull “Thud”
On the Topic of Form, maintain your boxing guard or fighting stance throughout your workout. Keep your hands as you would to protect against a real opponent; hands up to protect your face and elbow down to protect your body. Maintain proper distance, generally about arms length and keep moving. You should either be moving your feet, your hands or your head, staying in constant motion helps to develop the aerobic benefit from the workout and trains you to react to an opponent. Circle the bag, move in, move out, change the combination of punches you throw. If you’re not punching the bag, you should be moving your feet.
Hand Wraps. Hand wraps are essential to prevent injury to the wrists and hands, there are lots of YouTube videos that demonstrate proper wrapping technique. Spend the time to get this right, you’ll be glad you did. I use 180″ wraps, for added protection, shorter wraps (108″) may be appropriate for juniors, women, fitness boxers, or serious athletes that desire less bulk.
Invest in a good pair of Boxing Gloves for working the heavy bag. For general fitness training a 12 oz. glove is a good median starting point (they range from 6 – 16 oz.), you can go heavier to add a different dimension to your training. When selecting gloves keep in mind that you’ll be wearing hand wraps. I love my Twins Gloves, combined with proper hand wraps they provide great protection to the hands and wrists. You may consider a pair of Bag Mitts as an alternative, the primary difference is that the thumb is not padded in mitts and they cannot be used for sparring. Even though I don’t do any sparring, I appreciate the padded thumb and am willing to sacrifice a little speed and agility for the added protection.
Don’t forget to Breath! Focus on exhalation when you throw a punch (or kick) this helps to develop balance aerobic control and can give you more focus and power. Controlling your breathing is what will allow you to maintain endurance and focus your energy on the punches you throw. If you’re getting winded working the heavy bag, slow down and pay attention to your technique and breathing.
Maintain your balance. Keeping your core stabilized and your feet grounded as you strike the bag will give you more power and will enable you to react quicker with your combination moves. Don’t lean on the bag or push it with your body. Consider it an opponent that can strike back at you – if you were to lean in on an opponent, they’d simply move back to take you off balance then strike while you’re trying to regain your balance.
The basic punch combination to throw at the heavy bag is (1-2-3-2):
- Jab: a straight line punch with the left hand at face level
- Cross: a straight line punch with the right hand at face/torso level. Because it is with the right hand, it involves rotating the torso for maximum power
- Hook: a round punch with the left hand to face/torso level
- Finish with a right Cross
Don’t forget to cool down properly, stretching the back, shoulders, triceps and abdominals will help ease post workout soreness.
The heavy bag is a great “Old School” workout, the equipment is affordable and you can get a great all around workout in.