Many people add a punching bag to their home gyms, but the task of seeking one out can be daunting. I’m going to try and break down the selection process for you and show you some shopping tips.
The first thing you should ask yourself is why do I need a punching bag? There’s quite a few reasons you’d buy one for your home gym:
- You don’t go to a gym or yours doesn’t have them available
- You run a suburban fight club out of your house
- You just like to hit stuff
Whatever your reason, there are a few considerations to take into account before you make your purchase. There are several styles of punching bags to accommodate your needs.
Hanging Heavy Bags – These are round bags suspended from the ceiling using chains and they are constructed to take hard blows and handle years of abuse. These are very universal and can be used for punching, kicking, knees, and elbows. Unfortunately a standard heavy bag has a huge downside and it comes from the required mounting method or stand. A stand limits your access to the bag and only allows you to rotate around 50-75% of it. A ceiling mount is also a problem because you need a solid joist to attach the bag to. This leaves out almost all renters and limits quite a few home owners as well.
Pedestal bags – Floorstanding punching bags have been gaining in popularity the last few years. I chose one for my home gym and I’ve been very happy with my decision. Many of the floorstanding ones offer you quite a few decisions before you purchase. You get to decide if you want adjustable height, the shape of the hitting surface (typical round or human shaped), and the amount of weight in the bag. The base of a free standing heavy bag usually comes empty and you have the option of filling it with sand or water. I highly recommend sand because the bases tend to leak after use. Another problem with free standing heavy bags is that they tend to “walk.” This means that when you punch or kick them repeatedly, they tend to start moving around your room. This is particularly true as you get better and develop more power. Hanging heavy bags do not have this problem. “Walking” is just something you will need to deal if you need to use a free standing bag. There does not appear to be any free standing bag on the market that does not “walk” if you hit it hard enough.
It’s important that you use proper hand protection during your training routines, especially if you’re just starting out on the heavy bag. I recommend a combination of handwrap + bag gloves as your best bet. Handwrap is an an inexpensive cloth roll that is used to protect your knuckles and skin from abrasion while securing the wrist for repeated impact. Bag gloves are designed with extra padding and support in order to disperse the impact of strikes and reduce the strain on your joints. Different bag gloves have different thicknesses, and the sturdier the heavy bag the more padding you might want in your gloves.
A heavy bag can really add an important element to your workouts. There is no substitute for being able to hit a target if you want to develop as a martial artist or boxer, and heavy bags can give you a great workout. Make sure to research what kind you need, or better yet give them a try if the store has them on display.