Heavy Bag Vs Speed Bag – Which Is The Better Workout

The Heavy Bag and the Speed Bag are both synonymous with boxing gyms and two enjoyable bags to hit for different reasons.

The main difference between the heavy bag and the speed bag is that you usually hit the heavy bag hard and the speed bag fast.

The heavy bag is probably the one that will help you to improve the most as a fighter but speed bag also offers a good workout and allows us the build up our arm endurance.

If you have to make a choice between getting one of these as a heavy bag for your house it would depend on a number of factors like, whether or not you have space for a heavy bag, can you drill in the wall or have a good spot on a ceiling and will the noise effect your housemates.

You have 3 choices for mounting a heavy bag and they include A Heavy Bag Stand, Wall Or Ceiling Mount or a Free Standing Punching Bag, depending on your situation and with a Speed Bag you will need to mount it to the wall or you can even get one to hang in between the door frame but for a gym you will looking and mounting


What Muscles Do Does Each Bag Work?

The Speed Bag

The Speed Bag works the shoulders mostly which is main muscle used in punching and it significantly improves you shoulder endurance once you get into a ryhtm it can be a good exercise for anaerobic  arm and cardiovascular conditioning. It will also slightly bring in the triceps, the traps and the upper bag.

The Heavy Bag

The Heavy Bag will also work your shoulders and triceps extensively and the biceps will be used for any uppercuts. The will use your legs to move around the bag and dip down to throw shots to the body. You will power through your glutes, hamstrings and hips for your punches and you can add power to those muscles by working out consistently on the heavy bags and by working out smart, pushing yourself to the limit and incorporating drills.

Hitting the Heavy bag is a full impact consideration that will also engage the core and cause you to add muscle in your upper back and shoulders while getting lean and shredded.

Mayweather Heavy Bag

As with anything, how far you go with the heavy bag to getting in the shape will depend on how frequently you work out on the heavy bag and how organized you are.


Get A Good Timing App For Your Rounds

Whether you are on the speed bag or the heavy bag, you should get a good timing app on your phone and time your rounds unless you want to invest in a better timer for your home or gym.

Work in rounds of three minutes and you can do 5 – 12 rounds with a minute rest in between where you need to do 20 push ups, Squats, Lunges, Mountain Climbers, Burpees Or 20 seconds plank to make it a solid workout where you can add some intensity and all round conditioning.

You don’t really want to take the same approach on the speed bag, use all of your energy for hitting the speed bag with as much speed and rhythm as you can for a rounds of 2-3 minutes with a minute rest in between rounds.


What Are The Benefits Of Hitting The Speed Bag

The Speed Bag is a crucial bag for becoming a quality boxer because of all the benefits it provides to the fighter once they can begin to master it.


Improves Hand Eye Coordination

The coordination between the eyes and the hands is fundamental to the sport of boxer, you need to see you opponents movements and throw your punches to land on them and it is a fundamental part of excelling in the sport.


The name of the game is to hit and not get hit and you can achieve that with a combination of what your eyes can see and what your hands can land on successfully. Working on the speed bag consistently will allow you to develop how your eyes and hands work together in unison.


Great For Arm Endurance

When you are working the heavy bag, you can get little breaks between your punches to actively recover but on the speed bag it is constant action. This will cause lactic acid to build up in your arms and shoulders. By pushing through this feeling of discomfort and continuing to hit the bag fast and consistently, we are training our arms to have more endurance and to be able to remain fast when we get tired in sparring and in a fight.

Increasing arm endurance is a great way to improve your effectiveness as a boxer.


Increases Hand Speed

Once you master the speed bag you’ll be able to hit it with speed and precision. This will allow you to potentialize and increase your speed to highly levels your body is capable of.


Defines The Shoulders

The Speed is particular intense on your shoulders and will help to craft muscular and lean muscle that is full of fast twitch fibres and ready to punches instantly with precision. Boxing is great for building solid and strong shoulder muscles.



Con Of The Speed Bag


Doesn’t Represent A Real Fight

It’s good for anaerobic condition and chiselling the arms but the heavy bag is much better for simulating a fight, practice new combos or drilling new techniques and combos that you have been learning.

That’s one of the main reasons why I’d recommend the heavy bag to a beginner over a speed bag but they are both very different styles of training.


Benefits Of Heavy Bag Training

You Can Throw Any Combo At A Heavy Bag

Having a heavy bag allows you to sharpen your offensive arsenal by throwing any type of combo you can imagine. If you learned a new combo with your coach on the pads or you have been thinking about one in your head, the heavy bag is the best place to try them out as well as shadow boxing.


Increase Punching Power

Working heavy shots on the bag is as good a way as any for increasing your punching power. You can hit the bag as hard as possible over and over again to train you arms and body to throw with more power.

Incorporating strength training into your routine can be another great way to increase your punching power over time.


Focus On Your Footwork

A heavy bag is basically a sitting target for you to have a fight with, so you can either slug it out with the bag or you can box and move around the bag utilising and improving your foot work.

Footwork is going to help you offensively, when you can use your footwork to create angles where you can land your punches effectively, you will have more success in the long run.

You want to learn how to pivot of your lead hook and follow up with punches.


You Can Work At Different Tempos

You can use the heavy bag for slower more aerobic workouts and fast high tempo anaerobic workouts. You can easily switch between one tempo and another from round to round but still be getting a quality workout overall.


You Can Get A Hit Workout

This is where you couple fast intense exercise with slower aerobic work in the same round.

A good example of this would be to throw straight punches as fast as you can against the bag for 30 seconds and then move onto 30 seconds of slow deliberate hooks where you can get active recovery for a round of three minutes.

Hiit is one of the best way to burn fat and get in great shape.


You Don’t Need A Partner To Hit It

One of the best things about the heavy bag is that you can workout with it any time you want. You want have to wait for a class to start or for someone to hold pads for you. You can get a full workout on the heavy bag without having any partner to consider.

Not needing a partner means you can get a good session in when you miss a class or you can workout in the comfort of you own home.


Full Body Workout

At the end of every three minute round you can incorporate 20 of one of the following ( Burpees, Push Ups, Squats, Lunges, Plank, Sit Ups, Mountain Climbers. Do a different one each time and work for 10-12 rounds for a huge calory burning, full body workout.



Cons Of The Heavy Bag

It can teach bad habbits, like keeping your hands too low. The heavy bag doesn’t hit back so it is of the most importance to remember to keep a good defense when you are hitting the bags.

If you throw your jab and cross make sure the hand comes straight back to your chin and keep you chin tucked in when you throw.

Keep everything short and compact with an emphasis on protecting yourself.


Best Situation Is To Have Both Bags Available

If you have both of these bags and even a couple more bags you can have a much more varied workout by moving from bag to bag for an hour of three minute rounds.

There is nothing like consistent workouts on the bags to get fighting fit and stay at the top of your game.



These bags are vastly different but the most important bag is the Heavybag for boxing, by a long way as it is a better bag for overall boxing conditioning and technique but the Speed also provides a worth second place allowing you to improve hand speed and eye coordination to attack more successfully n the ring.










Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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