Everybody loves to workout on a heavy bag and nearly all fitness buffs would like to have one in their homes. If you are lucky enough to have access to one in a commercial gym, it can be a great way to get an intensive full body workout in, increase your fitness, burn calories, blast fat and improve your overall boxing skills and conditioning.
Learning a few good combos is one of the first things you need to do to make sure you are getting an effective workout and practicing techniques that will be effective once you move into sparring and drills with a partner.
The Basic Beginner Combos For Shadow Boxing
While the jab is only one punch and not a combo, it is the most important one in boxing and almost all of your combos will start with a stiff jab.
The jab controls the distance between you and your opponent and when you can land a jab on their gloves, there is a good chance you are in range to follow up with another punch.
If your opponent is trying to move closer to you to land their shots, a nice stiff jab to the nose can make them think twice about their strategy and make them more reluctant to try and close the gap on you.
Turn your foot and power through your hips for a nice heavy one and remember to bring your hand straight back to your head as quickly as it went out.
Also remember the heavy bag is great for building power so you can hit it with a nice hard jab too and make it swing.
Jab – Cross
Once you are comfortable with the jab, it’s time the add the cross in straight afterwards.
The Jab finds the range and then the right hand does the damage.
Think of the jab as your rangefinder when you are moving forward, once your jab lands on the bag, your right hand will know exactly where to go to hit the target flush.
The 1-2 is one of the basic combos and it is particularly effective for taller fighters who want to keep the fight at distance.
Jab – Cross – Left hook
The third most basic yet effective combo you can throw is the 1 – 2 – 3. The problem with the simple jab – cross is that the punches both come from the same angle so it is much easier to block for an opponent in real life.
If you opponent has their gloves dug into their cheek bones, the punches won’t hurt them as much unless you have power like Deontay Wilder.
If you dip slightly to the left after you throw the 1-2, you should be able to follow it up with a heavy left hook.
Your opponent can’t block the front of their head and the side of it at the same time so the goal is that the 1-2 takes away your opponents vision as he is blocking leaving room around the side to land the left hook and do some damage.
Jab – Jab – Cross
The jab is such an important punch for setting the range you can even throw 2 of them in a row to close the distance and land a devastating cross to finish off a perfect combo.
The first jab in this combo can be used to get you closer to the bag as inch forward and the second two punches should be hard and fast.
If you land you do some damage but your opponent will still feel the punches and your power through their guard.
As a taller fighter, this is one of my favorite combos and it is perfect when your opponent is on the back foot and moving away from you.
Left Hook – Cross
The 3-2 is a decent combination as the hook forces your opponents guard around the side of their head and leaves an opening for the right cross to break the guard, straight down the middle.
The lead left hook is one of the hardest punches to master as a beginner. Practice just the left hook on its own on the bag for a round if you want to get more comfortable and make sure you turn your hip into the punch to generate more power.
Another thing beginners will struggle with is dropping the right hand when you throw the left hook, if you can catch yourself doing it and cut it out early, it’s a great habit to cut out for your boxing.
Jab – Left Hook – Cross
The 1 – 3 – 2 combination works is kind of the same way as the 1-2-3 although it is more of an advanced beginners technique.
The thinking behind the 1-3-2 is that the jab will bring your opponents card to their face, the left cross will slightly surprise them and make them move their hand to the side of their head to block the hook leaving and opening for the cross straight down the middle.
This is a slightly more awkward one to throw on the heavy bag. Most beginner combos will involve the left hand followed by the right but this one has two lefts followed by a right.
Navigate this by throwing a soft jab, bring your hand half way back to your face and swing it around the side for a hook, you should be able to comfortably throw the right cross after the lead hook to complete the combo.
Cross – Left Hook – Cross
You don’t always have to start a combo with a Jab. If your opponent is trying to close the distance on you quickly, you might have chances to throw a cross as the first punch once they are in range and easy to hit with the cross.
The 2-3-2 works because the first punch will cause your opponent to block down the middle and the left hook will open up a gap down the middle for the right hand to land.
Practice this combo with the first 2 punches light and land hard with the third cross down the middle.
Jab – Right Uppercut – Left Hook
Similar to the 1-2-3 except you are giving your opponent more to think about by throwing a right uppercut instead of a cross.
An opponent will need a more narrow guard to block the right uppercut coming through the middle and it can open extra space for the left hook to land well and do some damage.
If you throw this combo well, you could land flush with the uppercut and the hook but just remember to keep you guard and bring you hands back to the face quickly after each punch.
Jab – Cross – Left Hook – Cross
The first four punch combo on the list and this is a great one to work on with the heavy bag as it will increase your stamina and give you a good cardio workout.
The main thinking behind this combo is that the first two punches get you opponent on the defensive with the protecting hands in a central position the hook can land and cause your opponent to bring their hands around to the side of their head and you can really hit home with the right hand.
This should be a nice combo to work on for the heavy bag as well as it is left right left right. Try to develop some rhythm in your punches, turn your hips into the shots and keep your hands up to your face.
Jab – Jab – Jab
We started the list with the jab and we are going to end it with three of them. The job is such an important punch as it can close the distance between you and your opponent, you can keep them behind a closed guard so they can’t attack and it can keep them off you if they’re moving forward aggressively.
Almost every combo will start with the jab so you really need to get used to practicing this punch on the bag.
Throw a nice hard strong jab, Bring your hand back to your chin and throw another one and do it again once more.
If you can practice a full two or three minute round just throwing a jab, a double jab or a triple job, you will be learning the most important punch in boxing, building up your arm and shoulder endurance coming a step closer being a better boxer.
Tips to keep in mind for a better heavy bag workout
#1 Get Organized
The first thing you need to get for a heavy bag workout is a good timing app on your phone if there isn’t a round timer in your gym.
Don’t make the mistake of just walking the bag until you get tired and then taking a breather, you won’t get an effective workout.
Work in two or three minute rounds within minutes break in between and you can even do some active recovery like head slipping and head rolls in the minute break.
#2 Use Foot Work And Head Movement
Don’t just stand straight in front of the bag throwing a barrage of punches, use your heavy bag workout to develop some footwork as well. Move in and out from the bag to change the range and land your punches And move side to side to create angles where your punches could land in sparring or a fight.
You can also learn how to move your head. pretend your opponent is throwing a job and slip to the right before countering I’m pretend he is throwing a cross so you can slip to the left encounter with our left hook, right cross combo.
#3 Work The Body
As you get better after combos don’t forget to start adding in some body shots. If you are doing the 1-2-3, try throwing the jab to the head, the cross to the body and left hook to the head. Throw a couple of jabs to the body, throw a 1-2 and add a left hook to the body.
Remember to have fun, focus more on your proper technique before you start hitting the bag as hard as you can and work hard for the entire round so you can build up some good stamina and endurance in your arms.
Let us know how you get on in the comments below.