Speed bags are an essential part of a boxer or MMA fighter’s equipment. They allow a fighter to practice speed and control through rhythmic movements. In this article, we’ll be discussing all about speed bag workouts and a few tips for beginners.
Speed Bag Workout Benefits
Before we go to the actual workouts, it’s important to take note of some benefits that speed bag workouts can offer.
Now, speed bag exercises are great not only for fighters but also for those who want to tone muscle and lose weight, but we’ll go more into weight loss later.
Let’s first check out the benefits:
Better Hand and Eye Coordination
First off, you can enjoy better hand and eye coordination after constantly practicing on your speed bag.
It’ll be a bit hard at first because you might have trouble aiming at such a small target.
However, with better hand and eye coordination, your accuracy will improve and will allow you to make more accurate shots.
When it comes to speed bag workouts, timing is everything because you have to hit the bag when it bounces to you.
Oftentimes, the bag will bounce right back to you so fast that you might not even notice. Once your timing becomes better, you can hit the bag more efficiently.
Better Arm Stamina
When you do speed bag workouts, you’ll be keeping your shoulders up the whole time and moving your arms at fast speed constantly.
Because of the workout, your arm and shoulder muscles will develop and give you better stamina.
Faster Punching Speed
As you go along with your workout, you’ll also develop speed since you’ll constantly be punching the bag rapidly.
Since these bags aren’t heavy, you don’t need to hit them with all your strength. With this, you can concentrate on punching speed instead.
Constant practice will give you better speed which is essential in a fight.
After a lot of training, you’ll definitely develop a sense of rhythm to your movements that you can control anytime.
In music, it’s known as a tempo that you can change from time to time.
Once you get used to the rhythmic movements, you can confuse your opponent by creating broken rhythm that your opponent follows.
Higher Level of Fitness
Lastly, you can gain a higher level of fitness, which is great for weight loss as well. This type of workout has two kinds of fitness benefits: cardio benefits and aerobic benefits.
The cardio benefits help with stamina and endurance while aerobic benefits help with overall movement and muscle control.
Speed Bag Workout Calories Burned
It’s a little bit tricky to compute burned calories. Usually, calories burned is measured by using the value MET or metabolic equivalent.
You can usually find the MET of an exercise when you search the internet.
The MET of a punching bag exercise is 5.5, so you can use that as a light basis for the calories burned in speed bag exercises.
It’s calculated like so:
MET (weight in kg)= calories/hr
For example, if your weight is 66 kg, it’ll be 66 x 5.5 equals to 363 calories burned per hour. If you only exercise for thirty minutes, you can divide the amount by 2 to get half the time which is 181.5 calories burned per 30 minutes.
However, take note that this is the MET for punching bag exercises, so it may be different for speed bags, although the difference is not that significant.
If you want a more accurate computation, you can look for speed bag calorie calculators on the internet.
Speed Bag Workout Equipment
Now that you know more about speed bag workouts and how they can work for you, we can now move on to the actual exercises.
Before we discuss the workout routines, it’s very important to first know what you need.
Aside from the actual speed bag and maybe a bottle of water, you’ll need the following equipment:
First, you need to have hand wraps. Hand wraps help protect the hand from repeated impact from when you punch the speed bag.
They are very light, but they will inflict some damage from constant hitting. You may also use MMA gloves or workout gloves if you don’t have hand wraps.
Next, you’ll need a pair of boxing shoes so that you can practice proper footwork.
Boxing shoes are needed because these shoes are specially made for the movements a boxer or a MMA fighter makes.
It has enough slide for fast movements but also enough grip for balance.
Click here if interested in learning how to make your own speed bag platform!
You’ll need a timer so that you can monitor how long you’re doing your exercises. If you notice that your time gets longer, it means that your stamina is increasing slowly.
You can use your phone timer if you don’t have one.
Lastly, it helps if you have an mp3 player or some music in your phone. At the start, you might have a hard time getting used to the rhythm of boxing, so it will really help if you have music.
Music with fast tempo like punk rock or hip hop is good so that you can challenge yourself a bit with the speed.
Speed Bag Workout for Beginners
Now that you’re all set to start your bag workout, let’s start with some basic ones that you can try out right away.
The first routine is the strength routine. It lets you practice getting stronger punches so that you can hit harder.
To start, get into the proper fighting stance and punch as hard as possible. If the speed bag hits the backboard, then that’s one count.
Once the ball rebounds, hit it again -- that’s one rebound.
The aim here is to hit the ball at least 10 times and get at least 4 rebounds per set. You can keep on practicing for 5 minutes first and increase the time as you go along.
This is like the power workout, but here, you are training how to throw higher regular punches so as to increase your hands’ speed.
To do this, set the timer at 30 seconds and punch at a regular speed.
In 30 seconds, count how many fast punches you make. Don’t concentrate on strength at this point since your focus is speed.
If you are able to hit 40 punches in 30 seconds, then use that as your benchmark and try to improve.
You can also increase your stamina through speed bag practice. With a tough cardio workout, you’ll be able to last longer in motion.
To do this routine, all you have to do is punch the speed bag at a regular pace continuously for a full minute. If you aren’t getting tired, then do it faster.
Do five sets that consist of a 30 second break in between each set.
Over time, try to increase the number of minutes you’re constantly punching. If you can reach up to 5 minutes, that’s a good achievement.
In boxing, you’ll also want to aim for the head to make a knockout. However, trying to aim for the head is not very easy since you’re aiming for a small target that’s guarded and moving.
With that said, the speed bag is the best piece of equipment for accuracy training.
To do an accuracy routine, hit the bag at the center and let it rebound. After that, move to the other directions and try to hit the bag straight.
Move in different directions while doing this and keep your rhythm intact. It may sound easy, but it’s definitely harder than it seems.
Do this for 30 seconds per round and rest for 15-30 seconds. Do this around 5 times.
MMA Speed Bag Routine
If you’re an MMA fighter, you’ll also really benefit from speed bag exercises.
However, most MMA fighters would make use of a double ended speed bag as compared to the usual boxer’s speed bag.
Unlike a regular speed bag, a double ended speed bag is tied to both the floor and the ceiling so it can be used for kicking as well.
You can even adjust the height of the bag.
With a double ended speed bag, you can do the usual boxing exercises that we’ve mentioned.
The purpose of kicking a speed ball is to gain accuracy since the ball is such a small target.
So practice your roundhouse kicks, hook kicks, and spinning hook kicks all on the speed bag so that you can increase precision. You’ll definitely miss a lot when you start, but keep on practicing.
Speed Bag Tips and Tricks
These are some of the basic routines that you can do when you’re practicing with your speed bag.
If you get the basics down, you can try out more moves and get a little bit fancy with some hand movements.
With a bit of practice, you can even punch a speed bag like Rocky Balboa.
Here are a few extra tips and tricks to make your speed ball workout more effective:
Loosen Up the Hands
You might think that you have to keep your fists clenched all the way so that you can add more weight to your punch. That’s wrong. This method may make your fists heavier, but it also makes your punch slower.
If you want full power behind your punch, you can never sacrifice speed.
In speed bag punching, you don’t need full power anyway, so get used to loosening your hands.
Punch Repeatedly in Circular Motions
If you’ve watched Rocky Balboa, you’ll have an idea how Rocky punches the speed bag.
As you can see, he punches the speed bag in circular motions instead of straight motions like you would usually do with a punching bag.
Again, the target of a speed bag workout is to get faster and attain better rhythm.
By moving your hands in a circular motion, you can get your body ready for better speed and timing.
Keep your Hands Close to the Speed Bag
This is another trick to get you used to the rhythm. Establish the right distance between you and the bag.
The best way to know if you’re in the right distance is if you can reach the bag without bending forward even the slightest bit.
Also, make sure that you’re not too near that you’ll hit yourself.
Relax Your Legs
Make sure that your legs are relaxed when you do this exercise. Take note that you’re not in a fight, so you don’t need to be in a fighting stance.
You can stand up like you usually do and just do the bag exercises.
Relaxing can help you get used to the rhythm and will also help clear your mind of doing anything.
Do a Triple Rhythm
This trick is the same trick that you see Rocky Balboa do in the movies. It’s a little hard to do at first, but you’ll get it after a bit of practice.
First, hit the bag straight. The bag will then hit the backboard and will then move forward.
Once it moves back to the backboard, set up your punch to hit it again. This rhythm will get you in the groove and make your workout better.
Read more: How to use a speed bag
These are some of the exercises that you can try out when you do boxing. Now, most people think that speed bags aren’t necessary if you have a heavy bag.
They usually think that one bag can give them power, speed, accuracy, and timing as long as they just adjust the way they train.
On the contrary, you’ll need a speed bag if you want to develop timing and accuracy -- two things that a heavy bag can’t give you.
Any fighter for that matter must do the right speed bag workouts along with their heavy bag workouts.
If interested in learning about how to hang your own punching bag click on the link below: