Boxing bags come in all different shapes and sizes and allow us to focus on different aspects of our game. Two of the most popular bags are the heavy bag and the double end bag when it comes to improving as a fighter.
Truth be told, it is not just fighters who can benefit from having these bags to work with. anybody who wants to maintain a fit lifestyle, lose weight or improve their boxing skills on the skills will love to have these bags around. Bodybuilders who want to cut fat and get shredded, will use punching bags as one of the best and most fun ways to do that. Having a good boxing bag set up in your weights gym can increase sign ups and everybody dreams of having punching bags in their home.
I personally like both of these types of bags as part of the same workout and if you have to pick one on the other it can be a difficult choice, so if you are thinking about one of these bags for your home gym, this article will look at the pros and cons of each type of bag and which type will suit who.
The Heavy Bag
The bag is the traditional cylindrical bag that is the most common bag used in boxing gyms, it is usually filled with sand or cloth and it is built to withstand full force shots from the person using it. The bag swings back and forth which allows us to develop a nice rhythm and if you can pick one bag for getting fit, this will be it.
The Double End Bag
The Double End bag is a small circular ball representing a head connected to the roof and the ceiling by an elasticated string. This causes the bag to swing around rapidly when you hit it and it offers a different type of workout that is equally challenging and fun.
The double end bag comes in the traditional style with one ball and the Mexican style which has the two balls representing the body and head and allows more different types of punches.
Benefits Of The Heavy Bag
The heavy bag is the more popular of the two and it has a number of benefits
It Allows You To Hit Full Force
The beauty of the heavy bag is that you can hit it full force and it will come right back for more. Whacking a heavy bag full force can be great for reducing stress after a long day in the office and it is a perfect solution for any body, whether or not they have a lot of experience in boxing.
Any Body Can Use It
It doesn’t matter what your skill levels are like, anybody can hit the bag hard and get a good workout. You don’t have to be a Floyd Mayweather to get a decent workout on the heavy bag.
Any one can throw at least a good 1 – 2 and that is all you need for any intense cardio workout.
Once you get into the habit of hitting the heavy bag it can become fun and addictive. Just one session can have you searching on Youtube for different combos and punch techniques so you can get better and improve your boxing game along with your fitness, stamina and conditioning.
Great For Increasing Punching Power
The heavy bag is great for building up your punching power, especially for beginners. As you learn to punch with better and better technique, generating the power form your feet and turning it through the hips, you will also start to hit with more power and force.
Hitting the heavy bag will also cause the muscle fibres in the shoulders and arms to rip and when this happens, muscle and strength will be developed. Hitting the bag won’t make you bulky but it will help to build strong, lean shoulders to deal with working out on the heavy bag.
Get Toned And Lean
A Heavy bag workout is for the full body but it puts a huge emphasis on the arms. The constant work from the heavy bag causes all the fat stored in them to be burned as fuel for exercise, revealing toned, ripped and muscular arms.
You Can Set One Up Anywhere
There are a ton of ways to set up a heavy bag, you can use a wall mount, ceiling mount or a heavy bag stand and you don’t need a ton of space to keep a heavy bag in your house. A good heavy bag will last forever and you can just pop it into storage when you are not using it.
If you can drill into the wall, you can get a heavy bag stand like the cornerman or you can even get a freestanding bag as a last resort. Heavy bags are so easy to set up and use, I strongly believe that every gym should have one whether they are for weights or boxing and with a bit of study, you can easily set one up in your home too.
Benefits Of The Double End Bag
The Double End Bag is more elusive than the heavy bag and it offers a different workout.
Provides A Moving Target
The heavy bag is great for power and conditioning but you can’t miss it. The double end bag will move around wildly, just like a real opponent would.
If you are going to use a double end bag then you need to be prepared to miss the target without getting all out of line and open for a counter punch.
Learning how to miss and still keep your defense is a crucial part of improving at boxing.
More Suited To Boxing Improvers
If you just want a solid cardio workout, the heavy bag is the one for you. If you want a workout to improve your boxing game, the double end bag is going to prepare you better for a real fight or spar in the ring.
With the heavy bag, you can just blast away care free but with the double end bag you can also practice blocking and slipping oncoming punches much more effectively.
Develops Hand Eye Coordination & Accuracy
It is one thing being able to see the target in front of you but actually having the hand eye coordination to land a blow on the target is another thing.
The double end bag is the perfect way to get your hands and your eyes in sync to anticipate where the bag is going to land and still hit it with a solid punch or combo.
Develops Speed And Reflexes
If you can get the bag moving consistently with straight 1-2 punches you can increase your speed as you have to move fast to keep the bag moving and the exercises flowing freely.
You can also get into a rhythm with a 1-2 and a slip to increase your reflexes as the ball comes flying bag towards you and you can learn to not slip too much but to just move enough to get out of the way of the oncoming target.
You Can Adjust The Tightness
It is quite to figure out a double end bag after some time so that you get used to how fast it moves and it can hit it easily with combos on demand. If this does happen, you can adjust the tightness of the elastic ropes, make it move faster and you will find yourself missing again.
Cons Of The Heavy Bag
The heavy bag is great for cardio and power but it does have a downside too.
The Heavy Bag Doesn’t Teach Good Technique
You can bang away on the heavy bag all day and not get any better at boxing. If you don’t have someone to correct you, you can keep going with the incorrect technique indefinitely without even realising your are punching wrong.
Teaches Bad Habits
Even seasoned fighters can fall into bad habits on the heavy bag by dropping their hands and drilling combos where they leave themselves open to being hit with punches.
It is important when you are working on the heavy bag to keep your hands up, your chin down and maintain a good defence.
You Need To Protect Your Hands
You shouldn’t be letting lose on the heavy bag without the proper protective equipment like hand wraps and at least some bag gloves.
Some advanced fighters can hit the bag without gloves but as a beginner you can suffer injuries like a broken bones in the hand or at the least a sore wrist.
Always use the proper protective equipment.
Cons Of The Double End Bag
The double end bag doesn’t have too many downsides but possible negatives include:
You Can’t Work On Power:
Double End Bags aren’t as durable as their heavy bag counter parts. If you hit a double end bag too hard it will end wearing down a lot quicker than a heavy bag will and even if you don’t hit it too hard it will break down quicker.
The ball that you hit is filled with air and it will become deflated overtime just like a football and it will need to be pumped up needs a lot more care and attention than a heavy bag.
It’s Not As Good For Cardio
You can get a decent cardio workout with a double end bag but you can get a much better workout with a heavy bag becasue you can hit it harder and it requires you to put more force in every punch which will burn more calories and allow you to build your stamina and endurance.
The ideal set up is to have both of these bags available in the same place but if I had to pick one it would be the heavy bag. You can throw harder punches at it, it lasts longer, you can work on your footwork with it and you can throw a lot more combinations of different punches with the heavy bag.
The double end bag is perfect for speed, reflexes and hand eye coordination and is a really fun and progressive bag to work on. The double end bag is probably my favourite but the Heavy bag is more useful overall.
What you prefer will come down to your personal preferences but aim for both if you can.