September 7, 2022

Types of Punching Bags & How to Choose

If you have ever reserved an interest for the game of boxing, you would know just why punching bags are meant for! For the uninitiated, it might be surprising to know but even punching bags do have a variety of types.

And why is that?

The reason is quite simple. Every punching bag exists for a different training purpose. A player who wants to purchase a punching bag for his training routine or generally wants to practice punching, a general idea about the different types of punching bags can be quite useful.

Every punching bag varies in its size, shape and weight, which impacts the quality of training of the player. With such variations, every punching bag also brings a different experience for the player and poses a unique resistance to his training.

We suggest that you take a look at this guide, which will help you understand more about punching bags and how you should purchase them.

What if you are not looking to invest in a punching bag?

Well in that case, this guide will help you pick the right one when you are at gym or training at a club. Let us get to know about the types of punching bags now.

Boxer exercising with punch bag

Types of Punching Bags & Uses

1. Heavy duty/ Jumbo bag

The heavy duty punching bags are also known as jumbo bags. These are best for strength training, and adding powerful hits while also working at improving the muscle strength of the player. This is why they are brought into use for the purpose of hard training and heavy training.

Since these types of bags are built with heavy weights, they will also help to improve the muscle tone and strength of the player. With the continued use of a heavy bag, the player is likely to build extensive strength in his body. Heavy bags are usually available as free standing bags and hanging bags as well. There are also better equipped gloves for heavy bags.

For players who want to work on their low kicks and other strikes, a long heavy bag is ideal. These bags tend to be solid towards the bottom portion and usually do not swing as much as other bags.

Another category of heavy bags are angled heavy bags, which allow a player to train for Muay Thai, boxing and kickboxing. The top of such bags is heavy and broader as compared to the lower portion of the bag. Again, you can either go for single angle or double angled heavy bags in this category.

Another type of heavy bag is a teardrop heavy bag, which helps a player train for Muay Thai and kickboxing techniques. The shape of these bags allow them to be hit at different angles. The bag allows the player to work on uppercuts and better knees.

2. Uppercut bags

The design of the uppercut bags is such that they are smaller in size. The main purpose of an uppercut bag is that it helps to train the player by improving delivery of punches, prepare for a combination of punches, and combine them with uppercut actions.

If you were to look at the history of any of the boxing matches, you would come to know that a combination of punches plays an essential role in turning the ring in the favour of the player. This is why combination punches are regarded to be an essential part of training for the players who want to build a winning streak.

An uppercut punching bag proves to be essential and perfect for training where the player can perfect his moves and train. Eventually, the bag helps a player to increase his speed while performing the best combination of punches.

3. Speed ball

Best for the purpose of enhancing hand to eye coordination in a player. While a speed ball can be used by a player of all levels, it is most ideal for a beginner. Increasing and enhancing the hand to eye coordination of the player is the vital purpose of a speed ball. This is why, it is considered to be important for the training purpose of a boxing player.

Many players look up to a speed ball as a conditioning tool. A speed ball can be identified as an inflated device which is attached to a wall board. Free standing speed balls are rare since they are hardly available in the adult size.

The fun part of training with a speed ball is that when it is punched, it will swivel quite rapidly. Eventually, it will bounce back to its original shape. During this time, the player is expected to work quickly and perform his footwork in a way that the speed ball takes the impact.

A speed ball works by responding quicker when it has more air in it. If the speed ball is small in size, it is going to be harder for the player to hit it. Therefore, usually players are insisted to start with a regular size speed ball and then notch down the size eventually.

4. Maize ball and maize bag

These type of punching bags are designed to help a player with movement of his head and training for upper cuts. You can think of maize bags as small punch bags which hang. They are designed in this manner to specifically help the player with training of his head movements. Maize balls are even smaller than maize bags. In general, maize bags are used for hooks and punches, specifically, uppercut punches.

Maize balls and bags are really useful for a player when it comes to working on their defensive moves. The advantage with them is that they can easily fit in small spaces as well. If you want to work at building your endurance levels, you can also make use of maize bags which are filled with rags, granules or beads. This will effectively make them heavier and help to increase the endurance levels of the player.

5. Free standing

Think of a free standing punching bag, built with a base. Within this base, the punching bag is usually filled with sand or water. The free standing punching bags can be easily moved around indoors and placed at any location for ease of use.

The free standing punching bags can either come in taller version or shorter versions. The purpose of the taller version punching bags is to help a player train for punching and kicking. If the free standing punching bag is heavy, it will not move about its position when kicked. This happens mainly due to the big size of the base of the punching bag.

6. Floor to ceiling bags

These bags are quite similar to speed bags and they are designed such that they are attached to the ceiling as well as the floor. Upon impact, the bag usually bounces away from the player and then comes back at him. Depending on the size of the punching bag, the player may find it harder to aim for it.

A larger punching bag would mean greater surface area for impact. An experienced player usually goes for a smaller bag that is harder to punch. Due to their design, these punching bags can be adjusted for their height and tension. Greater tension in the punching bag means greater rebound speed after impact.

These punching bags are good for punching practice as well. The solid surface of the punching bags provides a great way for the player to complete an exercise of his entire body. For places where a punching bag cannot be hung, a free standing punching bag proves to be very useful.

Let us now get to know about the different types of punching bags, based on the type of material used in making them.

Different Materials used for making punching bags

The type of material used in making a punching bag is also vital in the selection process of a good bag for your practice session. Here are the commonly used materials for making punching bags:

1. Leather

Generally, punching bags made with pure leather are quite expensive. This is not new as we know quite well how leather is a costly material.

At the same time, leather also happens to be one of the most durable and comfortable materials which can be used for the making of a punching bag. The difference can be felt tangibly when you hit a leather punching bag. If you can pay for it and afford it, there is no harm in getting yourself a brand new leather punching bag.

For gym owners, who need to purchase punching bags in bulk, it makes sense to buy at least a few of them that are made with leather. The remaining can be purchased for a different material, which will help you manage the total costs.

2. Synthetic leather

After pure leather, the next most common material used to make punching bags is synthetic leather. For obvious reasons, synthetic leather feels cheaper than the real leather alternatives. However, as far as the purpose of a punching bag is concerned, it achieves it quite well.

Synthetic leather bags are definitely a good option for those who cannot afford to buy the real leather punching bags. It all comes down to the fill of the bag and as long as it is right, you are not going to find a reason to complain about your bag.

Synthetic leather bags are not only quite common but also the most sought after option by players who want something affordable to practice on. The price factor really makes this one a huge hit among bulk purchasers.

3. Canvas

After synthetic leather bags, if there is something even cheaper, it is a canvas punching bag. In fact, canvas punching bags are the cheapest option for a punching bag out there. This is simply because canvas itself is a very cheap material and it doesn’t cost as much to make a punching bag out of it.

However, when it comes to the performance, canvas punching bags are not quite as efficient at what they do. Hitting them does not feel nice. Simply speaking, it does not feel nice on the skin on impact, which is why even beginners usually do not prefer buying a canvas punching bag.

Sometimes canvas punching bags do not even come filled with any material.

4. Plastic

Not designed to hold any heavy material, there are only a few limited purposes for which a plastic punching bag is used. They are specifically designed to hold water only. This is why, the plastic material used to make punching bags is quite thick and rubbery in texture.

As long as you do not require the specialized purpose for which the bag is built, it makes no sense to purchase these bags.

Choose a Punching Bag that suits you

Now that you have read about the different types of punching bags that are available out there, you would have probably realized that each of them serve a different purpose as well. When choosing a punching bag for yourself, it makes sense to analyze why you need one!

While some bags will help you build your speed and timing, others will help you work upon your form and movements. Accordingly, your strike can improve a lot, depending on the bag on which you train yourself.

For a boxer, who wants to train himself at boxing techniques, a bag that lets him train for his boxing stance is more suited. For a Muay Thai fighter, a different type of bag may be needed.

The amount of space available with you and the training goals that you wish to meet, really impact which punching bag you must be an option for yourself. Also, punching bags for beginners and experts need to be different. After all, you cannot expect to train yourself at a heavy punching bag if you are just starting out on your journey to boxing.

We hope that this guide would have helped you with the different types of punching bags on which you can train yourself.

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

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