Punching Bag Workout

Many of us are under the impression that a punching bag is used only by boxers, but this is incorrect. Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes use a punching bag workout in their exercise routine, it is one of the best ways of exercising your entire body.
FitnessVigil Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2018
Normally, most people are taken by surprise when they hear about a heavy punching bag workout being one of the best possible full body workouts. A proper heavy bag workout, as it is sometimes referred to, is basically punching a heavy bag with a combination of different types of punches, by means of which you end up exercising different muscle groups of your body. Some people prefer to focus only on the 'boxing' part of it, i.e. punching the heavy bag for a certain period of time using different types of 'punches'. Others employ a combination of both punching as well as kicking, which in turn, makes for a complete body workout. This unique yet effective workout is a good fitness option for both men and women.
Before you Start
The following are some equipment required for a punching bag workout session:
  • Good quality leather or vinyl punching bag
  • Pair of boxing gloves / Wrist tape /Hand wraps
Polycanvas heavy bag is ideal for beginners. Before you begin with your workout, it is important to ensure that the heavy bag is properly positioned. After you have hung the punching bag from the ceiling, make sure that it is secured properly to the swivel bracket and that it is at a comfortable height. Wear a pair of exercise shorts and a sleeveless vest (so that you are comfortable, and your hands have maximum freedom of movement). Wrap your hands using hand wraps or bandage strips. For added measure, utilize the wrist wraps or the wrist tape so that you do not accidentally sprain your wrist. Finally, put on the punching gloves and tie them securely.
How to Punch
Delivering a proper punch is very important in order to avoid wrist injuries. Thus, it is always a good idea to know how a punch is delivered.
  • Make a normal fist with all your fingers curled in and fingertips against the palm. Don't place your thumb within the fist, let it rest on your index and middle finger.
  • Hold your hands in a relaxed position when you throw the punch, tighten the fist at the precise moment of contact.
  • Relax your hand and fist as soon as you pull back the punch.
Clenching your fist only at the time of contact will conserve your energy. It is also important to know the stance when you are working out. Place your feet at shoulder-width distance from each other and place them along the toe-heel alignment line. You left toe should be pointing towards the bag and your right leg should be facing outward with the heel aligned to the toe line of the other leg. Your knee should be slightly bent in order to ground yourself.
Types of Punches
It is very important to learn different styles of punching before you start. Knowing these types will give you a better understanding about the workout.
Jab
Jab punch
A jab is straight line fast punch, it doesn't have to be executed with force. If you are right-handed then a jab punch is delivered with your left hand and vice versa.
Cross
Cross punch
Similar to the jab punch, a cross punch is executed with much force and is generally delivered with your strong hand (right if you are right-handed). It involves rotating of torso for maximum power.
Uppercut
Uppercut punch
This punch is delivered vertically. The punch starts low, picks momentum and makes its way to the top. One should be very careful with delivering this type of punch as there is a risk of wrist injury.
Hook
Hook punch
A hook involves turning of the hand in order to hit the side of the punching bag.
Using a combination of these punches will ensure that every muscle in your upper body is being exercised.
Workout Routine
Now that you know what you need for the work out, how to hang the bag, how to punch and the different styles of punches, it is finally time for the workout. Mentioned below are the steps you need to follow when you are doing a punching bag workout.
The Warmup
First and foremost comes the five-minute warmup. A warmup is essential for each and every form of workout, regardless of whether it is a punching bag workout or an aerobics workout or a weight training workout. A simple way of warming up is doing a couple of minutes of spot jogging followed by 50 step-ups (25 for each leg). Stretch all your body muscles to get them free and loose. You can also do some push-ups (5 sets of 5) and ab crunches (3 sets of 10) to loosen up your upper body. Do some joint rotations to reduce stiffness and improve blood circulation to the joints. Once you feel your body warmed up, you can then proceed to the actual workout.
The Workout
Ideally, you should divide your entire workout into multiple sessions or rounds. So, instead of punching away non-stop for a marathon session of 12 minutes, you should divide your workout into four, 3-minute sessions or six, 2-minute sessions. Have a breather for around 30 to 60 seconds after every round so that it gives you some time to recover and prepare yourself for the next round. Typically, a 2-minute round can consist of a combination of punches. Do 8-10 consecutive rounds.
The Cool down
Jog/walk for 5 to 10 minutes to decrease body temperature and relax the working muscles, and do 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching exercises. Once you're done with this, you should lie down on your back, close your eyes and relax as you wait for your body to cool down.
Combinations to Consider
  • Jab, jab, cross
  • Jab, cross, left hook
  • Jab, jab, cross, left hook
  • Cross, left hook
  • Cross, left hook, cross
  • Jab, right uppercut, left hook
  • Jab, left uppercut, left hook
  • Jab, cross, jab, cross
  • Jab, cross, jab, cross, left hook
The number of sets and their individual repetitions for each type of punch will depend on your strength, stamina and skill-set. Initially you can begin with 10 of each type and gradually increase the number as your stamina increases. With a variety of punch types, you can have various permutations and combinations when it comes to punching routines. Once you gain a certain amount of confidence with your punching workout, you can then think of taking it to a higher level by adding a bit of kicking or kick-boxing.
If you have the necessary equipment you can carry out a punching bag workout at home or you can choose to go to a gym. Considering the effectiveness and popularity of the punching bag workout, nowadays majority of the gyms have a punching bag. You can also hire an instructor for perfecting the work out. For a relatively simple piece of equipment, a punching bag delivers many amazing benefits. Whether it be a full-body workout, sharpened self-defense skills, a defined, muscular body or simply dissolving stress, the heavy bag is one of the best fitness workout options. Weight watchers will be thrilled to know that this sort of workout is a fantastic way of losing weight.
Disclaimer:
This article is for informative purpose only. Always consult a trainer or fitness expert before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce risk of injury.