A speed bag is a small, round, balloon-shaped punching bag designed to train people in timing and speed.
Rather than being a large, hanging heavy bag, which is meant to provide the tactile feedback of striking a fully grown person, speed bags are small and light, and are meant to aid boxers in developing timing, accuracy, and speed.
Boxing is not simply a sport of power.
What made boxers like Mohammed Ali so great was not their strength, but their grace, their timing, their speed, their balance, their precision.
Knowing when to strike, and being able to do so quickly and accurately, is in general more important than being able to out punch your opponent.
Speed bags are there to help us develop some of these skills.
A small bag hangs on a swivel below a round platform, just above head level.
The boxer strikes the bag and it swivels back, hitting the platform above it to its rear.
The bag then bounces back, and is either struck again (where the process repeats) or is allowed to bounce to the front and then again to the back and is struck as it returns to the center.
This difficult process develops both speed and timing, and it not easy to perfect.
Good boxers make it look easy, and can keep the bag moving indefinitely; but if you have ever tried to do this than you know how hard it is (and how far most of us have to go to become good boxers).
This is a valuable training mechanism and is essential to any boxing program or home boxing gym.
A speed bag platform is the is the round wooden block that is lies above the bag and the swivel.
It can range in thickness, but is generally somewhere between 1 and 2 inches thick.
It is usually around 2 feet in diameter, allowing it to accommodate bags of different sizes and weights.
The platform itself is only part of what you buy when you are buying a platform.
You also get the frame, which is generally made of steel, and is usually adjustable for height.
A good frame will be sturdy so as not to move when the bag is struck.
Vibrations and wobbles will interrupt the rhythm of speed bag training.
Best Speed Bag Platforms
Everlast Elite Adjustable Speedbag Platform
Valor Fitness CA-53
XMark XM-4441 Adjustable Speed Bag Platform
Balazs i-Box Speed Bag Platform
This speedbag platform -- made by Everlast -- is a professional quality, adjustable platform that can withstand years of use if maintained properly.
It does all of the things that a speedbag platform needs to do, and it does it at a price that most people can afford for home use.
This is designed to be installed at a home gym and can accommodate people of virtually any height.
Overall, this is a great offering by a great company.
This Valor Fitness speed bag platform is built like a rock.
At 2 inches thick, it is meant to withstand serious heavy use and not crack or wobble.
It's thick platform and adjustable steel frame mean that it will be with you for a long time.
This is a great product by a great company, although it is not inexpensive.
This speed bag platform by XMark is a professional quality, attractive platform equally well suited to home and professional use.
It's 1 and a half inch thick wood platform is thick enough to withstand years of abuse, and its steel frame minimizes vibration and movement.
This unique speed bag platform allows you to install a bag in any doorway at home.
It is surprisingly tough, and is meant to withstand real punishment. It is also designed to minimize wobbles and vibrations.
While not inexpensive, this is a great offering from a novel company.
This speed bag platform -- made by Balazs -- is the priciest platform on our list. It is also one of the best.
It is a solid contender and, while it doesn't present with any real frills, it is very high quality and fully professional grade, though it is designed with home gyms in mind.
It may seem as though speed bags are specialty training mechanisms designed exclusively for boxers.
To be sure, if you are training in boxing then you will need to use a speedbag, and you will likely want to both find a gym that has one (preferably a boxing gym) and have one at home to practice on.
But it isn't just boxers that use speed bags.
Martial artists, for decades, have used boxing equipment in their training to develop strength, accuracy, timing, and speed.
Bruce Lee was one of the first predominant non-boxers to do this, but he was not alone.
By now, mixed martial artists, kickboxers, and even some Karate and Tae Kwon Do practitioners train with boxing equipment.
Among the equipment they use most are speed bags.