While a heavy bag workout is de rigueur for boxers to improve hitting technique and power as well as to build stamina, it can really be useful even for non-boxers.
Typically the heavy bag is constructed out of leather or vinyl, and weighs about 40 to 100 pounds; an uncomplicated item that can be hugely useful – a heavy bag workout can be a comprehensive and demanding full body workout that offers increased body strength, sharper self defense, and muscle definition and endurance.
Consider the many reasons to incorporate a heavy bag workout into your fitness regimen:
- It can enhance aerobic fitness.
- The heavy bag workout works the entire body – not just the arms and shoulders and chest but also the waist and legs get a workout.
- Using the heavy bag can help improve punching power and hence strength. There is also the reassurance that the bag never hits back and you can do your worst.
- Core strength improves with heavy bag workouts.
- Coordination and balance improve – you develop a certain graceful economy of movement and even improve the posture.
- Muscle strength and definition improve as a result of working out with a heavy bag.
- One of the many reasons why a heavy bag workout is a great idea is that it can help you de-stress and channel aggression in a constructive way.
- Buying a heavy bag is a low cost, onetime expense that will last for years. Once it is set up, it is practically zero maintenance. The only other things you are likely to need for working on the heavy bag, are gloves, and some wraps and perhaps some quality shoes.
To get the best out of your workout with a heavy bag, keep the following in mind:
- Prepare well before starting a workout – this will help greatly to prevent injury. The wrist and knuckles should be properly wrapped to reduce impact. Use light gloves if you are a beginner and once you develop some strength and skill you can move on to heavier gloves.
- Warm up before starting a heavy bag workout by doing some joint relaxation exercises and shadow boxing (punch the air). And when you start out on the bag, use lighter punches to begin with.
- Developing and using a correct technique for a heavy bag is the key to reducing and preventing injury. It is never a good idea to sacrifice technique in order to hit harder.
- Use a fighting stance while punching the bag and avoid what is known as telegraphing your punches. This will use up energy quicker.
- Pay attention to breathing as well when you work the heavy bag. This prevents the risk of an injury resulting from thoracic pressure and also helps in increasing your power output.
- For your heavy bag workout, distance yourself optimally from the bag – standing too far means inadequate contact with the bag, and standing too near means that you are pushing the bag rather than punching it.
- Don’t forget the importance of proper nutrition and adequate rest.