There are two ways to do a heavy bag workout… Like an idiot or like a trained boxer who understands the concept of the heavy bag and its proper usage.
I belong to two gyms, my boxing gym and then what I like to call my fitness gym which has all the weights and exercise equipment I need for my workout.
Any day of the week I can go into the fitness gym and see someone trying to show off on the heavy bag when reality is, they just look like a wannabe.
You know the people I’m talking about. The ones that go up to the heavy bag and hit it with all of their might, wildly and thoughtlessly throwing punches without any proper form, constantly leaving themselves vulnerable to counter shots. But they feel like the top dog in the gym because they are punching the bag hard!
I’d knock them out in 10 seconds if they came into the ring with that same style and you would too!
Benefits from a Heavy Bag Workout
There are numerous benefits to a PROPER heavy bag workout including:
Incredible fat burning ability- Seriously, if you use the heavy bag the way I’m going to explain, you’ll find yourself melting away fat every time you use it!
Toning capabilities- Remember, boxing is a TOTAL body workout and the heavy bag only enhances that workout if you do it correctly. My tips will get you those cuts and definition you crave!
Perfect your skills- Next to actual sparring and mitt work, the heavy bag is best fight simulator available. Once you learn how to “work the bag” correctly, you’ll not only burn fat and tone up, you’ll also be a MUCH better boxer.
GET NOTICED! When people see you working the bag correctly and with the proper form they are mesmerized and you are instantly endowed with a great amount of respect in the gym. It’s a wonderful feeling!
Before you start your workout
There are two cheap but vital pieces of equipment you need before you start a heavy bag workout. Failure to use them will probably result in injuries and extreme pain.
You’ve got a lot of fragile bones in your hands and wrist that are very vulnerable if left unprotected. I see so many people at the fitness gym put gloves on without any hand wraps and hit the heavy bag. This is a horrible and stupid decision!
Using hand wraps will help keep your wrists from bending the wrong way and possibly breaking, it will hold the bones in your hand tightly together to make them a lot stabler and it will protect your knuckles. Remember, you’re hitting a heavy bag, a 100lb bag full of sand or some other dense material, its not like punching the air and you won’t be considered a tough guy if you do your heavy bag workout without hand wraps.
I find that in my personal experience, the Title Pro Hand Wraps are the best available.
Your choice of boxing gloves will not only protect your hands, it will also determine the level of intensity of your workout.
They do make what they call “bag gloves” which are like mittens and very light, I prefer NOT to use them. I prefer to use 16oz or 18oz gloves for my workouts because they help with my strength training and add that much more of a challenge to the workout.
You can get really expensive gloves for your heavy bag training if you want but I recommend the Everlast Pro Training gloves.
I like to tell all of the novices who come into the gym and try to punch a hole through the bag to change their approach. I tell them to pretend their is a fly on the bag that you’re trying to swat with your punches. When you try to swat a fly on your table or whatever you don’t try to swat through the fly. Instead, as soon you make contact with the fly you pull back. Do the same when it comes to the heavy bag!
When you hit the heavy bag you are trying to emulate the same intensity as you would when you fight so you want to stay relaxed and not try to punch through your opponent. So don’t try to punch through the bag! If you start trying to tense up and throw powerful after powerful punch on the heavy bag, you’ll develop horrible habits that will carry over when you fight.
Start off by throwing quick and crisp jabs like you previously learned from my other boxing tips. Once you get a feel for the bag start incorporating crosses and hooks. If you start getting sloppy and not using proper technique, SLOW DOWN!
So many people want to go up to the heavy bag and just start wailing away as hard as they can to show off to everyone else that they are powerful. I’ll tell you right now as an experienced fighter, we know that that is the classic sign of a inexperienced amateur.
Slow down and make the punches count so that your muscle memory will develop. If you learn to do this you will be that much better in a fight, I promise you.
Treat the heavy bag as if it were an opponent. When the bag swings toward you, move out of the way as if it were an opponent coming right at you and throw a counter punch. Constantly move around the bag, moving your head and being elusive just as you would do against another fighter. Remember to stay on the balls of your feet and use your hips!
What is working the bag?
Working the bag encompasses exactly what we were just talking about with moving around the bag and being elusive as well as not letting the bag swing wildly and out of control.
If your heavy bag is swinging all over the place, you’re not throwing the right punches and you’re probably punching too hard! Relax and let the punches flow. I tell my fighters to throw at 60. When I say 60, I mean 60% of their max power. This helps keep proper form and develops strength and muscle memory.
Remember, work the bag, don’t let it work you!
Heavy Bag Drills
I usually tell people who are just starting out to do three, 3-minute rounds on the heavy bag with 30 seconds rest in between. In between each round I tell them to do 15-20 jumping jacks. The jumping jacks not only develop the cardiovascular system, they also help burn fat amazingly!
So these are the drills I normally do and have the fighters in gym do…
For the first half of the round I throw nothing but jabs. I try to throw 100 jabs in that first half. I’ll throw double jabs, triple jabs and sometimes quadruple jabs. The jab is the most important punch and boxing so you better develop that jab!
For the second half of the round I have them throw 1-2′s. But at a much slower pace! Throw your jab, bring it back to the starting position and then throw your cross. This teaches you the proper weight distribution you should have as well as getting you to twist those hips and once again developing form!
In this round I have my fighters really pretend an opponent is in front of them in the form of the heavy bag. Throw your jabs to work your way in and then throw cross and hooks to both the head and body. Move out of the way after your combos by pivoting in and out or bobbing and weaving. Have fun with it and develop your own combos!
This is where things get real interesting!
Start off the third round just as you did the second by throwing your combos and remembering to stay relaxed and elusive. Remember, we want to stay pretty so the more you work on your defense by being an elusive the prettier you’ll stay!
With a minute left in the round we start what I call the “salsa burn out drill”. This drill really helps burn fat and tones you up! What you’ll do is throw jab-cross combos non-stop for the rest of the round. While throwing it turn your hips into the punches like you were dancing salsa, so you’ll have to stay relaxed but you’ll feel the burn throughout your entire body! When the bell rings to signal the end of the round, throw a powerful combo to top off your workout (any combo you desire!).
If you are in need of a personal timer, check out the Everlast Personal timer, this very cheap solution clips right to your pants and even has interval timing!
That’s the great thing about boxing! That heavy bag workout will take a total of 10 minutes and 30 seconds to do and you’ll instantly feel the incredible body transforming abilities of this workout!
I want to know how you guys feel after trying this workout so be sure to leave a comment below! Remember to consult with your physician before starting any kind of workout routine!