If you train for any combat sport, then you know how important it is to practice punching correctly.
At full speed, a punch is hard to deliver just the right way: Your weight shifting at just the right time, quickly and smoothly, your arm reaching its target and snapping through it just as your weight shifts.
All the while, you need to maintain proper body alignment, foot position, and wrist and arm technique to maximize your power and avoid injury.
You need to do this while at the same time keeping your guard up to protect against a counter strike.
It is a complex and difficult process that occurs extremely quickly.
The only way to be able to do it is to practice it -- over and over again, hundreds of times, day in and day out, for as many days, months, and years as you can.
Best Punching Bag For Beginners
Outslayer Punching Bag
Best Freestanding Punching Bag
Century Wavemaster XXL
Best Heavy Bag
Outslayer Heavy Bag
Best Speed Bag
Title Classic Speed Bag
Best Outdoor Punching Bag
Everlast Poly Canvas Heavy Bag
Best Small Punching Bag
Ringside 40 Small Unfilled Punching Bag
If you are already engaging in this type of training, then you may already know the importance of a punching bag.
It's good to practice punches into the air, at least sometimes, but it is impossible to feel the reality of a punch until it is delivered on something.
Preferably something that has some weight and density to it.
This allows your body and your mind to get used to the feeling of hitting something.
It lets you master your technique, which will be different when you are hitting a bag (or a person) than when you are punching into the air.
It also gives you immediate feedback.
If you punch wrong, you will know it -- whether because it is painful or because the bag doesn't respond the way you want or expect it to -- and so you can make quick adjustments.
For these reasons, it is important to use a punching bag.
If you don't already have one, or if you are on the market for a new one, then you are likely wondering what the best punching bags are in 2017.
This buying guide is in place to help you discover the answer to that question.
The short answer to "who should use a punching bag" is: everyone who wants to get better at punching, kicking, or striking of any kind.
But the more nuanced answer is that if you are training in a striking art, then you need to be using a heavy bag at least.
You will also likely benefit from a speed bag. You may want to train on a smaller bag as well for certain techniques, such as knee strikes.
It may seem to some, especially if they are trained in traditional martial arts, that punching bags are for boxers and MMA fighters only.
This is not always the case.
Clearly, heavy bags, speed bags, smaller bags, and other types of punching bags are used widely in both boxing and MMA.
Clearly, boxers live and die by their heavy bag training, and MMA fighters often grow up hitting their bags for hours a day.
But if you train in some other, more traditional Eastern art, such as Kung Fu, Karate, or Tae Kwon Do, then you should also be thinking about using a punching bag.
It may be a deeply rooted part of your discipline to practice your techniques into the air, or slowly and deliberately with a partner.
You may also regularly spar with fellow students (perhaps without full contact).
If you want to get the most out of your training then you will want to get used to hitting something heavy and dense full force.
There is no reason not to add a punching bag to your training routine.
Speed bags are useful as well, for speed, but also for timing and dexterity – all things that strikers could stand to train.
If you are a beginner, you may be wondering what to look for in a punching bag.
First, you need to know that not all types of bags are the same, and they are not all designed for the same kinds of training.
Secondly, you need to know that not all bags are made equal, even if they are the same type and the same weight.
There are heavy bags that cost much less than others and will last you a few years.
Then there are heavy bags that you will be passing down to your children decades from now.
If you are a beginner and don't already own a punching bag, then you should first look for a heavy bag.
These are the large, hanging, cylindrical bags that you see in boxing and MMA gyms. They vary in weight, but are often around 100 pounds.
They are filled with various substances, and are made of types of cloth or leather, but all of them are dense and heavy, designed to take a powerful punch or kick without moving around too much.
What you are looking for in a heavy bag is weight, size, the strength of the hangers, and the quality of the cloth and fill. T
he last one is particularly important, since a bag made of high-quality materials will last, if taken care of, for decades.
The Outslayer Punching Bag is perhaps the best introductory bag on the market. It is not the cheapest but it isn’t the most expensive, and it is of a high quality.
This is one of the best punching bags for beginners because it is a standard size, has solid hangers, and is made of high-quality materials.
It weighs in at 80 pounds, which is heavy enough to withstand your biggest punches and kicks, and it will last a long time.
If you're in the market for a beginner heavy bag, you can't go wrong with this one.
Technically speaking, this isn't a heavy bag, which is generally around 100 pounds (stock), but it is heavy enough to do what you will likely need it to do, especially if you're just training in boxing.
A freestanding punching bag is, as its name implies, a punching bag that stands from the ground up rather than hangs from the ceiling (top-down).
These bags are usually lighter than heavy bags, but are designed to withstand heavy blows without falling over. This is great for convenience.
You can bring them out and put in the middle of a room or garage during training and then put away when they aren't being used.
This punching bag works well for most scenarios.
Martial artists have been using different types of standing surfaces to strike for centuries (such as in China).
Even though they're different (since these are stuffed bags rather than wooden dummies), they work on similar principles.
The Century Wavemaster XXL is a high-quality, full-size freestanding punching bag. If you're looking for the best freestanding bag, this might be it.
It is not cheap -- running about three times the price of a good introductory hanging heavy bag -- but what you get for the price is a large, dense surface to train on that can be moved around easily and stored between training sessions.
Freestanding bags such as this also have the benefit of more closely mimicking the stature of a standing fighter in front of you.
Since you don't usually fight a person who is hanging from their head, the movement of this bag after you hit it is similar to the movement of a person you are fighting or training with.
Also, like Chinese wooden dummies, this bag allows you to practice low kicks, which is not possible with a hanging bag.
The base of the Wavemaster is sturdy, but not so large that it takes up too much space.
It won’t encumber your movements low on the bag. It does, however, successfully prevent the bag from being toppled over when you hit it.
The material of the bag is high quality, and you can expect the bag to last a very long time. Overall, this is a great product.
Heavy bags are the bags that we use when we want to hit something as hard as we can.
Though they move, they can withstand blows from even the heaviest hitters and quickly return to their starting position without swaying or moving too much.
This makes them ideal for boxing training, in which many punches are thrown quickly.
They’re also good for training in Kickboxing or any other kicking martial art in which blows are delivered with extreme force.
A good heavy bag will last a lifetime, and will not rupture even when hit extremely hard.
The Outslayer Heavy Bag is one of the highest quality heavy bags you can buy. It is priced according to its quality. One of the best punching bags for the money.
It is made of high-quality material and will most certainly last for decades.
This bag can withstand absolutely anything you throw at it (as long as you stick to striking it with your body and not any weapons).
The bag ships with 100 pounds of fill, but it can hold up to a massive 300 pounds, making it very valuable for training in heavy hitting, particularly if you are a kickboxer.
Overall, this is a great heavy bag that is truly worthy of its name.
A speed bag is a small, balloon-shaped bag that hangs from a base that allows it to move freely.
When it is hit, it bounces against the back of the base (which lies flat above it) and immediately bounces back toward you.
This allows it to be used to train in speed and timing.
For you to be able to hit it continually, you have to both move your hands quickly and establish the correct rhythm to hit it as it returns after bouncing against the back of the base.
If you have ever watched a boxing movie, then you have seen people training with speed bags.
Most speed bags are the same, with a few exceptions, and they are not expensive pieces of equipment.
But there are a few things to look for -- you want a bag that bounces well, and a base that doesn't rattle or shake.
You want a bag that is made of high-quality leather so that it will last you a long time.
TITLE is a great name in boxing equipment, and there is nobody better to bring you a high-quality speed bag at a great price.
As with all speed bags, the TITLE classic speed bag is rather inexpensive, but it is made of high-quality leather and will last virtually forever.
This bright red speed bag will serve you well if you take care of it, for hundreds, even thousands, of hours of training.
Hanging bags are great, but most of them are designed to be kept inside.
This is fine if you train in a gym, in your garage, or even in your office, but if you are like many people, you do your training outside (in your back yard perhaps).
That means that for a lot of people, punching bags need to be weather-resistant.
Enter outdoor punching bags. These bags are designed to be used and kept outside, through the elements and the weather.
You may kick yourself for deciding to train at 5 am on a cold February morning, but when you kick your bag it won't be hard as ice.
As with any bag, what you are looking for here is overall quality -- the weight of the bag, its size, its outside material, its weather resistance, and its filling.
Everlast makes -- arguably -- the best bags on the market, and they have for decades.
It is no surprise then that they make this poly canvas bag that can withstand the elements.
The Everlast Poly Canvas Heavy Bag is probably the best outdoor bag you will find.
Weighing in at 70 pounds, this is not a terribly heavy bag. But 70 pounds is plenty of weight for nearly all applications.
This bag, however, is special -- rather than being made of standard canvas or leather, both of which will allow water into the bag, it is made of poly canvas, which is waterproof.
This means that the bag is weather resistant and suitable for outdoor training.
The question you may be asking is whether this material feels as natural on your hands as, for instance, leather.
The answer is that it might be an adjustment for some people who are used to a particular material, but it is not terribly different from cotton canvas.
It slips a little, so when you get sweaty and the bag gets wet, you will want to wipe it off.
Otherwise, it is a perfectly fine punching experience.
Not all punching bags are large and heavy. Smaller bags are made for a variety of uses.
In general, the benefit of a small, shorter, lighter, hanging bag is that it both allows you to practice lighter techniques -- such as finger jabs and elbows -- and that its bottom is far off the ground, to allow you to train high knee strikes.
The bags are also light enough to more closely mimic the feeling of striking someone in the head, which can be useful for high kicks.
Their small size also makes them more portable, and since they don't weigh nearly as much as heavy bags it isn't too difficult to move or store them.
What you're looking for in a small punching bag is quality material -- leather or canvas.
You also want to consider the weight of the bag -- how heavy do you need the bag to be? -- and the overall size – particularly, the length.
You may want a bag that is barely any bigger than a head, or you may want one that more closely mimics a torso.
The Ringside Small Punching Bag according to many criteria the best small bag on the market.
It is made of quality material and is sure to last, but it won't cost you any more than half of what a full-size bag will.
It weighs in at 40 pounds, which about the ideal weight for a small bag.
At that weight, this bag gives you a lot of resistance while still moving when you strike it, responding in much the way that you would expect a well-placed head strike to respond.
It is light enough to allow you to easily practice things such as finger jabs, and it will take an elbow well but still weighty enough to withstand a full head kick (while of course moving considerably).
The size of the bag is somewhere between head-sized and torso sized. It is ideal both for practicing head kicks (and high elbows) and upper torso knee strikes.
Overall, this is a great piece of equipment at a great price.
Most people who train as strikers, especially those who use a lot of elbows and knees (such as Muay Thai fighters) will not regret buying one of these.
With all these options, the question that remains is -- what kind of punching bag do you need?
These bags are very different, and they will not all help you train for everything. Here's a breakdown of the field:
For beginners, you should be focusing on general strikes -- basic punches, perhaps kicks, and maybe some elbows and knees to a limited extent.
It is recommended that novices start by investing in a heavy bag.
But it need not necessarily be the 100-pound bag (extendable to 300 pounds) on this list. The 80-pound heavy bag will do just fine for most applications.
If you are looking to own a punching bag for the long term, then maybe you could consider the more expensive, heavier bag, but otherwise it may be unnecessary.
When it is inconvenient for you to hang a punching bag, or if you just prefer to train with a bag that is standing on the floor, more like a person, then you should consider buying a freestanding bag.
If you will be training outside, then you should probably buy an outdoor bag.
That's how the heavy bag world breaks down. But there are other types of bags, and you may want to buy them as well.
If you think you will be training a lot of punches, whether you are a boxer or not, then you owe it to yourself to get a speed bag.
They are inexpensive and don't take up much space.
If you will be training knees and elbows, then you will eventually want to get a smaller bag, but that can perhaps wait until you have been training for a little while.