There's a tonne of different styles of punching bags out there, designed for a whole range of striking exercises.
In this article, we're going to be taking a look at the different types of punching bags, who they're meant for and whether or not they're suitable for your needs.
Having the right punching bag at home allows you to get in some crucial extra hours of training without having to go down to the gym. Although most gyms I've been to tend to have open matt hours, nothing beats drilling your favourite techniques without leaving the house.
Alternatively, if for what ever reason you were unable to make it down to the gym, having a punching bag at home will allow you to make up for any lost hours.
It's worth noting that we're not going to be taking a look at any specific bags, just comparing the different types of punching bags that you can get.
Different Types of Punching Bags
These are by far one the most common types of punching bags out there. Walk into any gym across the country or planet, and the chances are you're going to see a heavy bag hanging up somewhere.
Their long design means that you can practice throwing a variety of different strikes, targeting all over the body of your opponent. Once struck, they tend to swing from side to side, which allows you to practice both your timing and footwork as you circle the bag and slip out of the way.
Heavy bags can be filled with a range of different materials including water, sand and textile fabrics. Be aware that lighter filling will mean that the bag will swing far move. Alternatively, harder filling such as sand will feel extremely hard when hit, although this is great for conditioning your shins.
Basically, heavy bags allow you to hone in your technique, whilst at the same time developing both your power and your cardiovascular endurance.
When shopping around for a heavy bag, you'll most likely come across two different types that I'll discuss below.
Which ever type of heavy bag you go for, you're going to need a pair of gloves. Head over to our article on the best heavy bag gloves for a full breakdown.
Hanging Heavy Bag
Hanging bags tend to be the preferred type heavy bag due to the fact that their swing allows for a more authentic training experience.
These require you to either mount the heavy bag to the ceiling, or hang the bag up using a heavy bag stand.
Because they swing from side to side much more than free standing bags, they tend to take up far more room, which for a lot of people is a pretty big issue.
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Free Standing Heavy Bag
Free standing heavy bags require much less effort to set up than their hanging counter parts. Simply fill the base up with either water or sand, attach the bag and you're ready to go.
One of the main down sides to free standing bags is that they tend to topple over when struck with enough force. If you're looking to work on your explosive power, than they may not be the best option for you.
That being said, some of the top free standing punching bags feature a spring loaded design that helps to prevent them from toppling over.
This is another extremely popular type of punching bag and is mainly suited towards boxers who are looking to develop their reflexes and timing.
In order to keep the bag swinging back and forth, you must hit the speed bag at the exact right time. This helps you to build up a sense of rhythm as well as develop your ability to time your strikes.
Setting up a speed bag at home requires a few components such as a speed bag swivel and a speed bag platform (such as these). Although this requires a fair amount of effort, the benefits are well worth it.
Not only do speed bags provide an invaluable training exercise, they're extremely fun and satisfying to use.
So much so, that a community of speed bag enthusiasts has formed, with there being a number of different forums around online where people discuss their favourite set ups.
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Double End Bag
A double end bag is essentially a bag that hangs mid air that can be struck from any direction. The ball is attached to both the floor and the ceiling, hence the name double end, and is able to swing back and forth when struck.
Double end bag are available in a number of different shapes and sizes are are great for developing your timing, reflexes and movement. Beginners using a double ended bag should start on larger bags as they provide a larger surface area and are easier to strike.
As you become more comfortable and skilled are hitting the bag, you can then start to use smaller mofrld, which will further enhance your accuracy and reflexes as they tend to be much harder to strike.
Typically, there are two different types of double end bags, which I'll discuss below.
Traditional Double End Bags
The traditional double end bag is a ball attached by two ropes to the ceiling and floor. These are by far the most common type of double end bag and are a frequent site in many gyms across the country.
There are a tonne of different brands that offer some great quality double end bags for some pretty reasonable prices.
You can often adjust the ropes tension in order to make the bag swing faster, which as you would expect makes things a lot harder, but is a fantastic way to improve reflexes.
Mexican Style Double End Bags
The Mexican style double ended bag is far less common than the traditional double end bag, however still offers just as good of a training experience.
The lower 'ball' of the bag is designed to resemble an oponenets body, and allows you to throw more of a range of strikes than traditional heavy bags.
On the other hand, these tend to be larger and heavier, which in turn means that they rebound slower and are much easier to strike.
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If you're unable to set up a double end bag, then a reflex bag is a good alternative. We've got an in-depth list of the best reflex bags you can check out for more information.
Slip Bag/ Maize Ball
This is nifty little bag that is perfect for fighters looking to work on both their head movement, deffence, reflexes and footwork.
The basic idea is you swing the bag forward, and when it swings back towards you, you slip out of the way.
You continue to slip just as the bag swings back and forth, falling into a rhythm and keeping your hands up.
This will get you used to slipping your opponents strikes and feeling comfortable with an object hurling towards you face.
I'm not going to lie, if it's the first time you're using this bag, there's a good chance that it's going to hit you in the head. Learn from it, practice and you'll be a pro in no time.
To sum it up, this is the perfect bag for those of you who are looking to develop your head movement without having to be on the receiving end of a punch.
Uppercut Bag - Mounted & Hanging
This is a pretty uncommon type of punching bag, purely due to the fact that it's so specialised.
The bag is designed specifically for training uppercuts and allows you to simulate being close up with an opponent, perhaps in the clinch, and throwing an uppercut.
An uppercut is a highly effective strike to throw on the break of a clinch and as such, makes this an incredibly useful bag.
These can come in either wall mounted or hanging variations, with both having their pros and cons.
Mounting an uppercut bag is a fairly difficult task and requires you to manually attach it to your wall, which can often cause a bit of damage to the wall itself.
Unlike the traditional heavy bag we discussed earlier, the design of the mounted uppecut bag is slanted, allowing you to simulate throwing an uppercut from the waste to the chin.
A hanging uppercut bags are much better suited if you've got some form of beam that you can hang them from. These allow you to practice throwing an uppercut from close proximity to your opponent.
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Best Punching Bag Brands
Below I will list some of the best punching bag brands that are renowned for releasing some of the best bags on the market.
Ringside are a well known brand in the boxing world, producing some of the highest quality products on the market.
Their products tend to be fairly expensive when compared to some other brands out there.
This may be a turn off for beginners looking to shop on a budget, but if you're looking for a long lasting punching bag, you really can't go wrong with Ringside.
Title are another extremely reputable brand, supplying all sorts of of boxing and MMA equipment.
Similarly to Ringside, their equipment is on the pricer side of things, however the quality of their products far exceeds any expectations and they often last for years on end.
They offer a wide range of punching bags from free standing to speed bags, and everything in between.
The name Evrerlast is synonymous with boxing. They are by far the most well known brand in boxing and for good reason.
Although their products may not be the best out there, the price that they offer their goods it second to none.
Recently, they've branched out into the MMA space and have started to release some of the best MMA equipment out there.
In terms of bags, they offer a whole range, catering for different techniques and style of fighter.
How To Choose A Punching Bag
When you're looking to get a punching bag, there are a few different aspects that need to be taken into consideration, that I'll list below.
The material used to construct the punching bag is going to directly effect both its' price and its' quality. Different types of punching bags tend to use different materials, however you will mainly come across three types.
There are a couple of reasons as to why the size of the bag is important. Firstly, the size of the person using the bag will determine which weight and height is appropriate. For example, children's punching bags are going to be both smaller and lighter (around 70-100lb), than a punching bag designed for a 6'5" man.
Secondly, the area that you're planning on using the punching bag will also determine the size of the bag you're able to buy. If space is an issue for you, smaller bags are by far the better option, or if it's a heavy bag you're after, a free standing design would be the better option.
As I mentioned earlier, this is going to tie in pretty closely to the materials used to construct the bag and the bag's overall quality. Personally, I like to invest that little bit more in a brand I am comfortable with and for a bag I know is going to last me for years.
Different Types Of Punching Bags: Final Thoughts
Thanks for having a read of our look at the different types of punching bags. I hope that you've got what you needed and feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Also, comment below your favourite type of punching bag and why!