Working out on the heavy bag is an excellent way to get a great workout, improve your boxing skills and let off some steam. We get tons of questions about hitting the bags and one of the most common is whether hitting the punching bag will make you hit harder.
Working out on the heavy bag as a beginner will definitely help you to hit harder as you develop your punching technique and learn how to sit down on your shots, turn your hips and transfer your force into the bag. By improving your punching technique, you will be hitting with more power. Also, as a beginner, your body will quickly adapt to new stimulus and punching is no different. As the body gets used to the movement of punching, the muscles involved will break down and come back stronger but as you advance in boxing, the stimulus provided by hitting the heavy bag will not significantly increase your punching power and you will probably need to turn to strength training with weights.
As an advanced boxer, increasing punching power is not something that is going to come easily. Hitting the bag will very gradually increase how hard you hit and it will maintain your punching power, but it might be time to hit the weights room, and even then you need to be careful not to pack on useless muscle that will slow you down.
Always remember, punching power is great but speed kills.
What will hitting a heavy bag do for you?
Boxing is well known for its excellent levels of fitness and those that stick with boxing long enough develop a newfound confidence and this might be partly down to the excellent shape that fighters are often in with bulging muscles and low body fat percentages.
We get tons of questions about hitting the heavy bag so we are going to answer as many as possible before getting into the best combos and workouts to build strength, technique and getting in the best shape of your life.
Will Hitting the heavy bag build muscle?
Hitting the heavy bag will build muscles especially for those new to the sport. If you are in the gym lifting weights 5 days a week then hitting the punching bag is probably the last you want to be doing if adding more muscles is your goal.
Hitting a punching bag really works the muscles and if you are not used to the movements, the muscle will tear and when it repairs with the nutrients you put into your body post-workout, the muscle will come back bigger and stronger and better able to handle working out on the punch bag.
Truth be told, if you want to build muscle, hitting the weights gym and doing compound lifts is your best bet. To build muscle and increase your weight, you need to be in a caloric surplus. That means you need to be eating more food than you are burning and boxing burns a lot of fuel. A good heavy bag workout will burn upwards of 500 calories so you would need to increase your calorie intake considerably to make muscle gains in boxing. The heavy bag is much better for torching fat and revealing the muscles you have built in the weights gym.
The Heavy Bag Will Help You improve Your Punching Technique
If you are new to boxing and you have access to a heavy bag, consider yourself lucky. The heavy bag is a consistent training partner, always ready to workout and never gets bored. No matter how hard or often you hit it, it will always be ready for more and it will never complain.
You might have a coach or a partner available for an hour a day but when you want to improve, repetition and consistency are the keys.
I fear not the man who has practiced 1000 different kicks, but the man who has practiced 1 kick 1000 times – Bruce Lee
Boxing is a relatively simple sport when you consider that there are only a handful of different shots you can throw. The jab and the cross are your bread and butter, especially if you are a beginner. If you are starting out and want to improve, this is a good starting point.
The Jab is boxing 101: Other than footwork, it is probably the most important aspect of the sport. Practice your jab as much as you can and make sure to turn your hip into the punch to get extra distance and power. If you want to increase punching power, don’t be afraid to hit it hard. Make sure your hands are wrapped and you are wearing your boxing gloves. Don’t be afraid to work just the jab for a full round. Double & Triple it up as well.
The Cross: This is going to be the punch you want to land on your opponent’s chin, especially if you are a taller fighter so it makes sense to put the work into developing your technique and power with the right hand. If you dip down to the left after your right hand, you are in the perfect position to throw your left hook (Sorry Southpaws, just switch left to right if you are a leftie). Practice throwing the 1-2 and the 1-2-3 with force to increase your punching power. Try throwing the 2-3 as well with the lean to the left after the right cross.
Improve Your Footwork and Create Angles
Footwork is the key to high-level boxing along with speed and technique. Practice moving in and out from the bag with the correct footwork. Start with just the jab and then add the cross when are comfortable.
Heavy bags swing and this is to your advantage when it comes to footwork. Practice avoiding the bag when it swings back towards you and also moving to the side to create angles and letting your shots go. Creating angles isn’t easy and its learning how to fight takes time. Work on the basics and build up your skills.
It’s A Massive Stamina Builder
The heavy bag is great for building stamina and endurance. Even when you are working out on your own, hitting something as hard as you can really take it out of you and whacking the bag for 5-10, 3-minute rounds is a great way to get fitter and burn plenty of calories. If you bring some drills into the equation, it can be an amazing full body HIIT workout.
Best Heavy Bag Combos For Beginners
Remember to turn your hips into the punches to generate extra power and try these heavy bag combos. Keep The other arm on your chin and bring the punching arm back to the chin as quick as you can
Left Hook(body) – Left Hook(Head)
Jab To The Body – Jab To The Head – Cross
Jab To The Body – Cross To The Head
Jab – Right Hook
Left Hook(Body) – Right Hook(body)
Jab – Cross – Cross – Hook
Jab – Left Hook-Cross
Heavy Bag Workout FAQ
Will Hitting A Heavy Back Strengthen My knuckles and Wrists
A common complaint for beginners to boxing is that their wrists & knuckles hurt when they are punching and I must admit to having a hard time with my wrists when starting out as well.
Punching the heavy bag puts a new kind of stress on the knuckles and wrists that they aren’t used to and this can cause micro fractures in the bones.
The best way to overcome this is to make sure you have the correct hand wraps on at you have put them on correctly. This will ensure your hands are protected and if you want extra protection you can always use 16 oz sparring gloves.
These will add weight, slow your punches down and provide more cushion for your knuckles and wrists so they don’t get too sore.
The microfractures will eventually heal and the bone will repair itself to be stronger after a while so if you stick with boxing, this is a problem that will probably go away on its own.
Will hitting the heavy bag help me win a fight
Yes, hitting the heavy bag is a good way to prepare for a fight. The power, technique and stamina improvements from hitting the heavy bag should you in good stead when you step into the ring.
The heavy bag should be used as part of a balanced diet of shadow boxing, pads & mitts, sparring, roadwork, and cardio, skipping & jumping rope, strength training, core exercises, good nutrition and most importantly rest.
Being a fighter is not easy and so much goes into becoming ready to step in the ring that few are willing to take it to that level but boxing is also a great and enjoyable form of exercise.
If you find lifting weights all the time to be boring, it might be time to give boxing a go and if you want to lose some weight and get toned, boxing is definitely a good option.
How Hard Should I Hit The Heavy bag?
You should hit the heavy bag pretty damn hard if you want to. If you want to work on power hit it as hard as you can, that is the beauty of the punching bag or if you want to work on speed aim for speed instead of power.
Remember when you are fighting, every punch doesn’t have to be hard. In a four-punch combo, the last punch should be the hardest. You could set up with a soft 1-2 and then whip the left hook in looking to do damage or you throw a soft jab to the body and come over the top with a hard right hand.
It really depends on what you want to do but it is always a good idea to mix it up with softer and harder shots.
10 Round Boxing Workout With Heavy Bag
If you want a solid home boxing workout out on your with a heavy bag, here it is. We are going to work for 10-3 minute rounds with a 1 minute rest in between rounds to recover.
Round 1 – Jumping Rope
Jumping rope or skipping is a great way to increase or heart rate and get the blood flowing. It also has huge benefits for boxing like improving stamina, arm endurance and most importantly, coordination between the hands and feet.
You can do 1 -3 minute round or 2, 2 minute rounds before moving onto shadow boxing.
Rounds 2,3 & 4 – Shadowboxing
Shadowboxing is a great way to improve the techniques you have been working on, visualize yourself in a fight, improve your stamina and get yourself nice and loose to hit the bag. Work on footwork, head movement, combos, pivots, rolling and creating angles.
Predominantly use your jab and left hook in the first round, focus on movement and keeping your opponent at bay with the jab, left hook and left uppercut.
In the second round bring the right hand into it. Use light dumbbells for the first minute or two but focus on straight punches and moving in and out from the target with your footwork. Don’t forget to roll and slip punches as you move around the ring.
In the third round use your full array of punches and movements and focus on throwing combos, 3,4 & 5 punches. Go to the body and come back to the head. Focus on your breathing and get into a rhythm.
Round 5 – Heavy Bag – Jab And Foot Work
Moving on to heavy bag now and use the first round to work on your jab. Nice strong jabs into the bag, use your footwork in and out and to avoid the bag. Don’t forget to move your head, slip and roll the punches.
Round 6 – Heavy Bag – 2 Punch Combos
Bring the right hand into the equation and focus on throwing 2 punch combos in this round and utilise your movement.
Round 7 – Heavy Bag – 3 Punch Combos
Throw the 1 – 2 left hook or any three-punch combinations on the bag. Throw the shots nice and hard to increase your body. Make sure you are relaxed and breathing correctly. Slip and roll with your head and use your footwork.
Round 8-9 Freestyle On The Heavy Bag
For Rounds 8 & 9 Work on anything you like. If you are an outside fighter work your straight shots with power. If you are a shorter fighter use the jab to get inside and throw powerful hooks. Learn to breath correctly, exhale on your shots, turn your hip into them and go for the knockout.
Round 10 – Conditioning Heavybag Drills
You should be quite tired at this stage and we need one last push to complete the workout. 3 minutes of intense exercise to burn that fat, increase your power, speed and endurance.
First 30 seconds – Hard punches, hard as you can with big hooks and straights. Every punch should be aiming for the knockout.
Second 30 seconds – Fast straight punches – Up on your toes and throwing straight punches as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Use a boxing app on your phone or buy a timer if you need one.
Repeat this for 3 minutes and then enjoy a good rest.
You might want to work your core now and then wind down with a round of light shadowboxing.