Buying a Boxing Punch Bag – What to Know!

by Fran on July 14, 2010

About the Boxing Punch Bag

 
The presence of a collection of punch bags, also referred to as heavy bags, is one of the key characteristics that defines a boxing gym. Many gyms retain heavy bags that have been part of the furniture for many years, complete with running repairs administered with duct tape following years of impacts from the patrons.

The heavy bag allows you to use different styles and techniques, either moving side to side and pinging off jabs, right crosses and other long range punches, or stepping in close and using crunching short range hooks and short range uppercuts. The heavy bag can be used to improve speed, strength and endurance by configuring the rounds, punching rate and punching style accordingly. It’s also a great way to relieve the stress at the end of a hard day! As an additional bonus, you don’t need much floor space for using a heavy bag, as you need never be any more than a few centimetres out of punching range.

There are a number of different types of heavy bag. Things have moved on a pace since ubiquitous free-hanging bag made famous on the old boxing films (except Rocky, where he used half a cow carcass…it takes all sorts I guess!) Modern punching equipment includes wall-mounted pad systems, angled hanging bags and even ‘person’ shaped high density foam free-standing objects complete with chiseled good looks and taught six-pack. But, do these additional choices actually offer any benefit beyond that offered by the old faithful heavy bag?

In this article I want to describe to you the various options when it comes to buying a piece of heavy hitting equipment and provide a view as to the type of equipment I buy (or don’t buy) when renewing the hitting equipment in the gym.

The Types of Punch Bag

 

The Heavy Bag

I have used many different styles of bag over the years. The traditional type of heavy bag is what we expect to see. The bag itself is generally hung from a wall-mounted bracket or by using a free-standing system, both of which I’ll cover later in the article.   The bag is usually packed very tightly with torn up fabrics, giving a realistic and satisfying impact when striking.

A good heavy bag is made of tough-wearing leather, is cylindrical and comes in various sizes and weights.  At the top of the bag is a set of chains or toughened straps with eyes that allow the bag to be hung from a hook.  I prefer to go for the chains as they tend to be much more hard-wearing.  With the straps, the eyes can often fail resulting in the straps tearing and the bag being rendered useless.

Heavy Bags (US):


Heavy Bags (UK):



 

The Maize Bag


 
The maize bag is a tear-drop shaped heavy bag filled with, unsurprisingly, maize.  The maize bag is a wonderful piece of equipment that enables massively powerful hooks and uppercuts to be developed at short range.  The maize bag is available in a range of colours and sizes, although traditionally tend to be classed as be small (approximately 15kg) or large (30kg+). The smaller version cannot be hit with the same force as the larger version, but it does offer the option of swinging to allow excellent development of the slipping, ducking and rolling skills.

Due to the shape of the bag and the nature of the filling, it has a unique response and ‘feel’ when hit with a shot. When a heavy shot is landed, the bag absorbs power without the ‘spring’ that is present with most heavy bags.  For this reason the maize bag is not really practical for round-after-round use, not if you value being able to feel your hands after a workout anyway.

If you have plenty of space available to buy and heavy bag and a maize bag, then they are well worth the value.  If I were restricted to just one piece of heavy hitting equipment, it would be the heavy bag rather than the maize bag.

Maize Bags (US):


Maize Bags (UK):



 

The Angled Heavy Bag


 
The angled heavy bag is a real favourite of mine.  It is in effect a compromise between the conventional heavy punch bag and the maize bag.  As well of the core of long range punches, the angled heavy bag allows a range of uppercuts and hooks to be used as well.  This is because of the unique shape.  The key is that an angled heavy bag is packed in the same way as a conventional heavy bag and not with maize.  So, it isn’t as dense and solid as a maize bag and is therefore more practical for prolonged use over a number of rounds.  If I were to own only one punch bag, it would be an angled heavy bag.

Angled Heavy Bags (US):

Angled Heavy Bags (UK):


 

Wall Mounted Pad Systems


 
In terms of the wall-mounted pad system, I feel that unless you are working to a generous budget and you have ample floor space available, these pieces of equipment should be reserved for a full-sized gym. A key benefit of this type of system is that it encourages the boxer to combine effective footwork with dynamic body movements and a varied range of punches.  Many also believe the solidity of the device improves punching power.  Mike Tyson was famous for using one early in his career, and he could hit a bit!

My own view is that possessing a wall-mounted pad system is something for a boxing gym rather than a home set up.   The reason is the same as it is for the maize bag, it is impractical for use for a prolonged period such as a session of 6 x 3 minute rounds.  It’s definitely a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’.

Wall-Mounted Punching Systems (US):

Wall-Mounted Punching Systems (UK):

 

Free-Standing Systems

The is a relative newcomer to the scene, the free-standing heavy bag.  Whilst these tend not to be used in boxing gyms, they are certainly an option if limited space is a problem.  They effectively have the bag mounted on a vertical pole into a heavy base.  The big benefit is that it can be stored away after use.  The drawback is that you don’t get the ‘swing’ of the bag that adds so much to the workout.

Another modern piece of equipment is the free-standing ‘human’ target, made from high density plastics and rubbers and complete with life-like body shape. I’ve seen these pieces of equipment in gyms over the years, but it has to be said not very often.

In principle, the idea is sensible, but what I’ve witnessed is that people constantly strike the target under the chin with uppercuts. On one memorable occasion, this focused assault led to a split in the neck of the dummy and ultimately a complete decapitation, generating the rather disconcerting situation of a mock human head bouncing across the floor of the gym.

My own view is that this piece of equipment is an expensive luxury that I feel may add little, if any, additional value to that provided by more conventional heavy bags.  If you are really pushed for space, then the fact that the device is free-standing is a positive.  It would be far less intrusive than some of the standing heavy bag hanging systems described below.

Free-Standing Systems (US):

Free-Standing Systems (UK):

 

Hanging Your Heavy Bag

There are 2 basic methods of suspending a heavy bag/maize bag/angled heavy bag:

  • Wall Brackets
  • Boxing Stands

The wall brackets are, as you would expect, secured to a suitably solid wall. When fixing the bracket to the wall, great care needs to be taken to ensure that the fixings are appropriate for the job. A heavy bag being smashed with punches is quite a load to consider. I can think of few things more embarrassing or indeed painful than to be knocked unconscious be a falling steel wall bracket, so make sure you read the instructions provided with the bracket.

The boxing stand comes in a range of designs. If you are unable or unwilling to use wall-mounted brackets, and a free-standing bag/boxing dummy is not for you, then the use of a boxing stand might be the way to go. The boxing stand is effectively a steel frame that provides the stability required to suspend the heavy bag. Again they are really a piece of equipment for the domestic/mainstream gym environment rather than a boxing gym. They can though be a tidy solution although I would try to go for a model that allowed a degree of movement around the bag without the risk of stumbling over the ‘feet’ of the stand.

My preference would be to use the wall-mounted bracket, for both reasons of price and of the stability. Some of the cheaper boxing stands look to me like you may need to add weight to the bottom to guarantee that the whole thing doesn’t go toppling over as you pound home the shots. As long as you fix a wall bracket properly, it will stand the test of time.
 

Wall Brackets (US):

Wall Brackets (UK):

Boxing Stands (US):

Boxing Stands (UK):

I hope that you have found this article useful. Why not head off now and find out a little about the boxing gloves that you might use to go with the heavy bag of your choice. By the way, the links on this page are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and subsequently make a purchase, then I get paid commission of 5%.  You need to be aware of this. Also, the links on this page represent what I would buy either to replace equipment in the gym or to use in the domestic environment. I have not tried the specific piece of equipment identified and as such cannot directly recommend it. However, if I were buying from the web, these are the selections I would make.

Cheers

Fran

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

svenjamin July 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

I encountered an intriguing home-made punching bag option while training in Thailand: a trio of car tires connected and suspended by chains running through the rims along three axes. I loved it! It can be hard on the knuckles if you don’t have sufficiently padded hands , but it also has a lot of give and lets you know what having serious snap on your punches feels like! I can’t find any images of this “bag”, so I will email my own photo for your viewing pleasure.

Reply

Benjamin July 27, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Hey Fran, first of all, the site Is very informative and has helped me immensely in starting to train. You have a great wealth of knowledge and information that has been a great help and motivation.

My question: what is your opinion on reflex bags? I just bought the everlast hyperflex bag in leu of a heavy bag do to space/hanging issues in my apartment and would just like a second opinion.

Reply

Fran July 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Hey Benjamin

Thank you for the comment, I’m glad that the site is helping on your way to boxing success.

If space is at a premium, then the Hyperflex Bag is in my opinion a suitable alternative to a heavy bag even though it’s quite different. There is a knack to using a piece of equipment like that, but I’m sure you’ll master it. One tip, keep the power shots down and go for speed.

Enjoy.

Reply

James Carr September 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

Hi Fran

We are looking at buying a stand up heavy bag for our gym here in the BVI. What is your opinion on those? I have seen mixed reviews, but unfortunately we do not have anywhere to hang a heavy bag.

Considering getting a Hyperflex one also for speed, so glad you endorse those.

BVI Boxing, still going strong!! Thanks for all your help!

James

Reply

Fran September 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hey James

I’m glad that the club is still going well, you’ve built something that will last!

If you don’t have anywhere to hang the bag, then a stand up one will do. Make sure there’s plenty of weight in the base, or alternatively you could go for the type that hangs on it’s own frame, although that might be a little too expensive. Truth is you need a bag, so go with what you can get.

Thanks James, nice to hear from you.

Reply

Chris December 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi Fran,

In this article you don’t mention hanging a heavy bag from a ceiling as an option. If we tap into a floor joist, isn’ this a viable option?

Reply

Fran December 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Hey Chris

Yes, absolutely the ceiling is an option, as long as the joist is available for use. In the gym we have a scaffold erected to the ceiling and the bags hang from that. When I researched the article though, I found only one purpose-developed hanging mechanism for the ceiling. I’m sure that that the more engineer-minded heavy bag user could come up with a useful solution!

Thanks Chris

Reply

Jenny April 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Hi Fran

I recently purchased a punch bag and bracket from ebay – the bag is exceptionally heavy – well it is for me :)

Once I have the bracket fixed to the brick wall of my Garage, is it ok to leave the bag suspended from the bracket? Im just concerned about the brick wall as it’s that heavy! I may have to sell it if it’s meant to be taken down after use as I just don’t have the strength to put it up and down each time I use it.

Many thanks

Jenny

Reply

Fran April 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi Jenny.

Sounds to me like you need to leave it in-situ. Lifting on and off a heavy bag is no picnic (as you can testify). What really matters is the quality of the fixings. I recommend that you get a suitably qualified person to fix it. Heavy fixings are vital, so if you can get the services of a professional builder then that would be best. By the way, it’s not a big job, an hour’s work and minimal materials, so you should not be getting a big invoice!

Hope this helps.

Reply

sayantan April 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

This site has been of great help to me.. I have purchased an unfilled punching bag.. Should i fill it up with sand?? Also its 29 inches.. Is it a heavy bag?? I am planning to hang it from the ceiling with a 6 feet long chain but I’m afraid the bag will swing too much.. Will it affect my training??

Reply

Fran May 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hi there. Thank you for your comment, I’m happy that the site helps.

Don’t fill your bag with sand or it will be like hitting a brick wall. The ideal filling is old clothes/rags, tightly packed. This gives great resistance. To stop the bag swinging too much, check out the article “The Heavy Bag – 5 Rules to Hit by”, that will help.

Reply

Lynn May 8, 2013 at 2:46 am

I was just wondering how much weight is required to hold down a boxing stand with bag

Reply

Fran May 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

It varies Lynn. Most systems should not need it really.

Reply

Mark Buckley May 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Hi Fran

Very informative website without any jargon or BS!

Could you tell me if it is OK to suspend any of the above bags directly from the joists in my garage? My idea being that I could then work on the bag 360 degrees without being hindered by a wall or stand.

I am just worried about continually vibrating the joists leading to eventual structural damage of mine and my neighbours roof! Is such a system in use and could it be reinforced with anything to prevent structural damage? I have to say I would of thought a typical roof (angled joists) should be pretty sturdy right?

Cheers in advance for any help.

Mark
UK

Reply

Fran May 31, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Mark

Thanks for the kind words pal.

Hanging a heavy bag of solid roof joists is not something I’d be too worried about personally. The weight is important, for example a Maize Bag might make me a little more reluctant because they are so bloody heavy!

Just keep an eye out for any obvious signs of cracks etc. over the first few weeks. Any doubts, get a builder mate to have a look and make a judgement.

Hope this helps Mark.

Reply

nems August 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

what do u think about this one?
BBE PUNCHBAG STAND Unisex Adult Boxing Black

Reply

Micky Brennan October 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Hi Fran I use a heavy bag with a wall bracket, last year I replaced the canvas straps on the bag with chains as they were almost worn through at the ringlets. The chains have a swivel and ring at the top. Just recently I’ve noticed there’s quite a lot of wear on both the ring and the bracket hook due to them constantly rubbing together do you have any tips to slow this down? Thanks.

Reply

Fran November 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Hey Micky. Can’t really help on that one. If I were worried that the rate of wear on the hook was excessive, I’d probably look to get a longer chain and use the main bar of the bracket to bear the weight of the bag. That is, wrap the chain around the bar rather than on the hook. Bit Heath Robinson, but I’d give it a go before buying a new bracket.

Sorry my answer isn’t more helpful :-|

Reply

Micky Brennan November 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Thanks mate I’ll give it a go

Reply

philippa Soodeen November 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

dear Fran my ten year old son is keen on a boxing bag and found this set from RDX which seems like a good way to start. I appreciate you have already offered your own suggestions but do you think we’d be wasting our money on the attached? I found your website and comments really helpful, my sister found you by searching: how do I prevent a boxing bag from falling through my ceiling!
Authentic RDX 13PC Professional Boxing Set Punch Bag 4FT/5FT,Gloves,Bracket MMA AB
its £31 plus another £29 postage

Reply

Fran November 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Hey Philippa

Yes that bag and glove set will certainly do for a new starter, especially one as young as your boy. It terms of it not falling through your ceiling, it appears to come with a wall bracket so it will be a wall-mounted job. Make sure it’s a solid wall (not plasterboard) and that the fixing you use are appropriate. SHould be fine if fitted properly. If you want to hang it from the ceiling, you are going to have to get a ceiling hook/attachment and make sure it’s screwed into a joist.

Hope this helps and thanks for the question. Hope your son enjoys his new gear.

Reply

philippa Soodeen November 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

thank you vety much indeed cant wait to place the order and then have a go! if he lets us.

Reply

Bobbie December 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I am looking for advice on what to get my boyfriend and he asked for a punching bag for Christmas and he’s 6’1″ and weighs about 220# and is wanting a good quality punching bag to hang in his shop.. He has never boxed before but is wanting to get into it for fitness. Thank you for you help in advance!

Reply

Fran December 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hi Bobbie

I’d go for something heavy, maybe 60lb/100lb. You’re also going to need a wall mounted bracket (see above) and some gloves and wraps. Your man can then spend some time working through the videos on the site to get some tips on how to get the most out of his punch bag. Hope this helps Bobbie. Merry Christmas.

Reply

Asad September 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

Dear Sir,

We are interested to do work with your Company. Our company deal in Boxing Equipments, Martial
Arts Equipment and Uniforms.
If you are interested to purchase High Quality products on Reasonable Prices then please visit our
Website: http://www.lionxsports.com and conform order for your interested articles.

We are sure, regarding the high quality products, our prices are lowest than other
Suppliers and also meet the Quality Standards like ISO,GMP,CE etc.

Build Long Lasting Customer Relationship, Get Customer Satisfaction, Meet Quality
and In Time delivery is our motto.

Give us chance for Fulfill your Requirements.

Looking forward for your kind co-operation.

Asad

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: