The 10 Best Punching Bags
October 11, 2018: Added more customizable options and the popular mannequin-type simulated opponent. Noted the importance of using appropriate protective gear, some of which is included with kits like the RDX MMA Training Set.
The Health Benefits Of Boxing
Nowadays, there isn’t as much of an impetus on us to stay in shape.
There are a lot of things that we do to try to get in shape and stay healthy. Some of these techniques have developed over millennia, the result of dedicated fitness experts from the ancient world to today who’ve used themselves as guinea pigs for new moves and programs. Back then, fitness was largely associated with military prowess, as the side with the stronger individual soldiers had a distinct advantage.
Nowadays, there isn’t as much of an impetus on us to stay in shape. A tiny fraction of us fight in wars, and those wars have come to rely on predominantly technological means of combat. We certainly don’t need to hunt or forage for our meals, and more and more of us are finding work in sectors that require little more than sitting in front of a computer all day.
Some health and fitness experts have taken a look at this epidemic of laziness and sought a solution to it in those bygone days of martial strength training, with some looking even farther back in search of dietary solutions. That’s where fads like the Paleo diet and movement training** come from. But there’s one form of training that has proven successful and burning fat and building strength throughout the ages, and that’s fight training.
Boxing, in particular, offers one of the most thorough total body workouts imaginable. Fighters need to lift for strength building, while also maintaining an absurdly high level of cardiovascular fitness that demands tremendous muscle coordination and balance. As a result, boxers tend to be some of the most capable athletes on the planet, able to defend themselves, to be sure, but also able to jump into other sports and perform impressively.
Boxing is also a strategy sport. Its participants must be able to see several moves ahead and to create tactics that are capable of putting their opponent where they want them when they want them there. That makes it one of the most mentally engaging sports both to watch and to play.
So, whether you’re looking for something to help extend you time here on Earth, or you’re looking to get as buff and shredded as possible, training as a boxer can offer that to you. Even if all you do is incorporate a few elements of that regimen into your fitness routine — like attacking a punching bag or a speed bag — you’re bound to see positive results.
How To Choose The Right Punching Bag
Punching bags generally fall into one of three categories, and depending on the kind of training you're doing and the space you have available to you, one may be better suited to your needs than another.
It also isn’t dependent on the placement of your cross beams for stability.
The most common type of punching bag is the long heavy bag designed to hang from above. This is what most people think of when they think of punching bags, as these are the kinds installed in most boxing gyms. If you own a gym that trains serious fighters, this is certainly your best bet. If you want to get a bag like this hung up in your home, you’re going to need to make sure it can be supported properly. If you simply jam a ceiling anchor up there and try to hang a heavy bag from it there’s a good chance you’ll bring the house down. Make sure you find a sturdy cross beam from which you can hang the bag, or invest in a punching bag stand, which will add some mobility to your setup.
Another popular style of punching bag is the floor-standing model. These utilize weighted bases that allow you to pummel the bag without it ever tipping over. Of course, that would make them very expensive to ship and difficult to move, which is why most models come with bases that are hollow, and that are designed to be filled with either water or sand.
One of the main advantages of a floor-standing punching bag is its mobility. If you want to rearrange your training area to accommodate new pieces of equipment, you don’t need to uninstall your bag chains and find a new place to hang it up. It also isn’t dependent on the placement of your cross beams for stability. On the downside, the stiffness of a floor-standing model — especially when compared to the movement of a heavy bag — inspires a little less footwork in the trainee. Floor-standing models also require the purchase of sand, or at least the hassle of filling up their bases.
Then, of course there is the speed bag. This presents boxers with a totally different workout, putting additional stress on the shoulder muscles and building up that all-important sense of timing. These hang from the ceiling, and are light enough to do so with simple anchors, regardless of the placement of cross beams. It is advisable to use a beam if you can, however, just in case.
Other Essential Boxing Accessories
Once you’ve got your punching bag or bags all set up and ready for you to start training, you can’t just pummel them with your bare fists. Boxing is a sport that requires a fair amount of accessories to be performed properly, and both tape and gloves are essential. These tools will help protect your fingers, hands, and wrists from unwanted jams and breaks that result from your hits against a bag or opponent. In the case of the gloves, they also minimize a little bit of the structural damage that a bare fist would cause to your opponent's face.
In order to build up your cardio health and prepare you for the intense legwork that boxing requires, you’re going to want a good jump rope. This is the classic tool of the training boxer, and for good reason. Like the sport itself, jump rope demands speed, endurance, timing, and coordination.
Of course, if all else fails, you could always do what Rocky did and befriend a butcher who will let you tenderize enormous sides of beef in a downtown Philadelphia refrigerator.