The punching bag mainly referred to in the sport of boxing as the heavy bag is considered one of the most important fundamental tools for a budding fighter.
It has stood the test of time in boxing gyms the world over despite all the improvements in sports science over the years.
It has been an essential staple of the sweet science in the beginning as it surely will be at the end.
The reasons for this are ten fold.
American boxing trainer Pat Barry of Barry’s Boxing Las Vegas explains why:
(Hat tip Fit Builders YouTube)
Solid information there from coach Barry.
Let’s go over it again.
Let’s focus on 12 key takeaways from the above on the benefits of hitting the punching bag.
Repetition of form over a sustained period of time on the heavy bag will develop a boxer’s hand speed.
As time goes by you won’t notice it at first but as the weeks go by you’ll notice you’ll have much faster hands.
Whether your coach is observing to point out mistakes as you work the heavy bag or not, you can improve your technique.
Sometimes practicing your punches and body movement simultaneously in slow motion can be advantageous on the heavy bag before bringing the moves into a faster motion or into a live combat situation.
Practice of the correct drills is everything.
Every punch you throw will add up in the end and repeating correct technique on the heavy bag will ultimately result in more correct punching, incidentally creating more punching power as a by-product.
Hitting the heavy bag full speed for a few rounds is tough. No doubt about it.
Trying to take a break in between rounds should be timed to a minute.
A real cardio gem of a workout for sure.
The explosive workout resulting in dispersing of energy from many areas of the body will inevitably build muscle and bring out muscles that you didn’t know you had.
Whether orthodox or southpaw the heavy bag simulates a body in front of you that you can measure distance of against.
Your stance can be adjusted accordingly and appropriately as you practice your combinations and single punches.
Consistency is key on the heavy bag.
Going to the gym day after day, working the heavy bag will also create a consistent work ethic for a budding young fighter from a mental standpoint.
Routine is everything.
I just have not been able to access it as much for technical reasons for a long time which I will be investing in from an IT perspective soon to put right.
A young fighter most know where his hands, head, legs, feet are at all times in relation to what is in front of him.
Coordinating defense and offence can be worked on all at the same time on the heavy bag.
The idea being the muscle memory will then carry through into a live combat situation.
Leg Work and Foot Work
Circling the bag and shifting one’s weight ever so slightly onto either leg can help defensive moves like head movement and parrying punches for example.
Footwork being one of the most important things in boxing can obviously be worked on during this motion too.
Try to switch up the pace and rhythm from time to time.
As per this fundamental 5 basics of defense in boxing video, defense we know is extremely important.
Besides the leg and foot movement aspect to defense maybe after throwing the left heck instead of following up with a right hand over the shoulder one can use the heavy bag to roll directly after throwing the left hook.
You can practice this and coil out of it with a right hook for example.
Rolling with the punches something no doubt a useful exercise.
Even though not an opponent, important to imagine the bag as something live in front of you to switch on mentally.
As coach Barry points out the heavy bag strengthens hands, wrists, forearms and many joints that need strengthening in the body consummately important with the sweet science.
The turning of the hands at the moment of impact, locking of the wrists and having strong forearms all benefits of the punching bag workout to be practiced.
As Muhammad Ali said the man who has no imagination has no wings. Indeed one of God’s favorite angels was right.
Practicing different punches, moves, combinations and more will give a fighter more imagination.
You never want to become predictable as a fighter.
Be purposeful in that.
Just remember, God’s in control my friend.