The Best Punching bag – The Ultimate Guide

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The Most Important Information

The best punching bag will offer you the possibility to increase your striking power and put together some serious HIIT routines. A heavy bag can be a great addition to your workout regime – if you get the right one.

In this article, I cover everything you need to know to buy the best heavy bags for home use personal training style. 

You should only consider buying a heavy bag if you:

  • Intend to train your striking power
  • Are an intermediate or advanced level athlete
  • Can free up 9×9 feet
  • Aren’t concerned about making noise
  • Are willing to pay several hundred dollars for a high-quality bag.

If the above apply to you, you may want to jump straight to exploring your options. If this is the case, you can take a look at my suggestions here. Otherwise, feel free to continue reading to better understand the reasons behind my recommendations.

Quick Navigation

Exterior

The most popular outer materials are leather, vinyl, and canvas. The outer material is a tremendous contributor to the price tag but also the quality.

Leather

Leather and synthetic leather will usually have reasonable durability. These can also have a great look if you go for a vintage heavy bag. Some companies make their own heavy-duty exteriors which are just as good if not better than leather.

Vinyl

Vinyl is the middle ground between price and quality. If you chose to go with vinyl, make it a heavy-duty vinyl. Most people who pay for cheap vinyl punching bags regret it. The vinyl heavy bags found in commercial gyms usually tear after a few years of use.

Canvas

Canvas will last about as long as vinyl. The main issue with canvas is texture. At one of my old gyms canvas bags were called blood bags, and for good reason too. If you get a canvas bag you’ll get cut up.

You’ll definitely have to invest in some hand wraps if you get one of these. An unfilled canvas bag is a good option if you’re strapped for cash.

Interior

Compressed fabric, fiber, sand, and water. You’ll have to choose from the latter inner materials. Some bags come without any filling, be aware of this. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll want to order a pre-filled heavy bag.

Fabric & Fiber

Compressed fabric and fiber provide an even resistance which is ideal no matter what you use it for. You should only avoid a pure fabric and fiber filling if it makes the heavy bag you’re purchasing too light. Make sure you have the right weight.

Sand

Sand-filled bags are quite common. Sand is heavy which helps keep the bag in place. The downside to using sand as the only filling is it will settle at the bottom. This causes the lower end of the bag to become a rock and the upper end to be empty. 

Don’t get a pure sand filling unless you really need to. If you must get a pure sand filling, be sure to buy an empty heavy bag. Fill it with sand purchased separately. 

Water

If you use a water-filled bag you had better be in the great outdoors. The last thing you want is for a small tear to turn into a huge mess. Water provides even resistance and some nice cushioning. Contrary to popular belief, water doesn’t offer a realistic feel, it offers a comfortable feel. When you’re hitting a person they aren’t soft all over.

If you want to condition your body realistically, get a tougher inner material. This way you’ll condition your limbs to be okay with smashing against hard bones. If you’re a sensitive person, water is a good choice.

Weight

Most people out there say that you should get a bag that’s half your weight, but depending on your size that can be a bad idea. Bare in mind that heavy bags are meant to help you train for power. If you get a bag that’s too light, it won’t serve its purpose.

Lightweight

A 50-100 pound (22.68-45.36 kilogram) bag is good for kids or anyone that weighs under 100 pounds. Unless you’re a gym owner who offers kids classes, I don’t recommend this weight. It’s worth noting that even if you do offer kids classes, the kids will not have a problem hitting heavier bags.

Middleweight

Middleweight bags range from 100-150 pounds (45.36-68.04 kilograms). These will cover pretty much anyone weighing 125-180 pounds (56.7-81.65 kilograms). Choose a heavier weight in this range based on the weight of the person that will be hitting it. These bags are good for anyone. You may want to get one that comes with a D-ring on the bottom. This way you’ll have the option to strap it down. 150 pounds (68.04 kilograms) is overall, the best weight for a versatile heavy bag.

Heavyweight

Bags weighing 200 pounds (90.72 kilograms) or more are for heavy hitters and for those who have a strong 200 pound+ (90.72 kilogram+) physique. This weight may be suitable for you if you’re a high-level fighter and/or if you’ve got any high-level fighters training in your gym.

Length

The length of your heavy bag depends on what martial art(s) you practice. If your training doesn’t involve low kicks, you’ll be happy with a standard heavy bag. Standard heavy bags have an average length of 4 feet.

If you do plan on using low kicks or if you train Muay Thai I recommend a banana bag. Banana bags are the same shape as a standard heavy bag but are generally 5-6 feet long. Make sure you have at least an 8-foot high space if you want to hang a banana bag.

Shape

For a home gym, I’d stick with either a standard bag or a banana bag. If you’re a gym owner, angled and teardrop punching bags may be of interest.

Angled

The angled heavy bag is supposed to offer a better surface for angled strikes. Uppercuts and knees are a pleasure to practice because of the optimal angle (if it’s adjusted properly). That said, I never train straight punches or straight kicks on one of these because they land awkwardly.

This bag should not be your only heavy bag. An angled bag tends to be more bothersome than helpful for most. 

Teardrop

These improve your ability to strike with knees. If you’re a gym owner or if you have some extra cash and you want some variety, this bag is for you.

Hanging vs Free-Standing

If you can afford to hang a heavy bag without using a stand, hang it without a stand. Hanging heavy bags are much nicer to use. You don’t have to worry about them falling over or having a big stand get in the way of your training.

That said, if you don’t have somewhere to hang a heavy bag or you don’t want to drill holes in your ceiling, a free-standing heavy bag will do.

Checklist

  • High-quality leather or heavy-duty exterior
  • Hybrid interior
  • Usually 100-200 pounds (45.36-90.72 kilograms)
  • 4 feet long & standard shape with a D-ring for boxing
  • 5 feet long & standard shape for MMA
  • 6 feet long & standard shape for Muay Thai

Recommendations

Rival Boxing Gear

If you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can browse the options available to you on Rival’s American website or their Canadian website depending on where you live.

Advantages

Rival Boxing Gear has some of the best heavy bags on the market for fantastic prices. Rival’s bags have outstanding interior and exterior quality.

Drawbacks

None of Rival’s heavy bags have a D-ring.

Outslayer Heavy Bag (U.S. only)

If you want your punching bags to match the general aesthetic of your gym, the Outslayer bag is certainly an option. This is a 6-foot long 130-pound (58.97-kilogram) heavy bag.

Advatages

Outslayer bags have high-quality interiors and exteriors and are backed by a 10-year warranty. You have the option to choose from a few color schemes.

Drawbacks

In my opinion, this bag is overpriced and of a lower quality than Rival’s selection. That said, this is still an excellent investment. Filled Outslayer heavy bags are only sold in the United States.

Check the details here.

Last Words

Non-DIY heavy bags aren’t for anyone on a budget. If you have the cash and choose to go with any of my recommendations for the reasons described above, I am confident that you will be satisfied with your choice.

I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you feel like something was missed or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in the near future. 

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