There are 10 major punching bag types, thousands of models, and hundreds of brands that are manufacturing them.
In this article we will explain what punching bag types exist, the major differences between them, their advantages and disadvantages, and what kind of workout or martial art is recommended or best suited for them.
Of course, you know that a heavy bag workout is an important part of every training. No matter do you sport MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai or other martial art, the benefits of bag training are limitless.
Depending on these punching bag types, you may work for your technique, drilling skills, head or body defense, punching power, coordination, and speed.
Each type of heavy bag has its differences regarding size, mounting, and shape. Choosing the right one is essential for achieving your goals.
Are you interested? Let’s begin then!
Punching bag types:
- Traditional hanging heavy bag
- Muay Thai “Banana” long heavy bag
- Freestanding heavy bag
- Speedball heavy bag
- Double-ended speed bag
- Uppercut heavy bags
- Teardrop heavy bag
- Wrecking ball punching bag
- Maize heavy bag
- Angled heavy bag
The most popular type of heavy bag in every boxing or fitness club. If you like chess, consider the traditional hanging boxing bag as the queen on the board.
Even if you do not use the other types of boxing bags, the traditional bag will cover eighty percent of your needs for a quality workout. It is essential for every beginner practitioner and is necessary for any advanced boxer.
Most often they are mounted to the ceiling by a chain and, in rare cases, by a rope. Their standard length is between 120-150 centimeters (4-5 feet). There needs to be more space around them because this type of hanging allows you to walk around the bag throwing powerful blows.
Depending on the filler used, they can be very hard and durable (sand), or softer which kickbacks better and makes less damage to the hands (water).
Withstanding-This bag is designed to withstand impacts. If you buy a quality boxing bag, be sure that she will be with you for at least a few years.
- Power workout-Improves the punching and kicking power.
- Swinging- allows you to improve your footwork in addition to a power punching workout.
- The best choice for developing strength and improving the muscles.
- Not so good for uppercuts.
- Require more space for swing and quality training
- Need a solid base for hanging, mounting kit, and good skills for mounting.
- Muay Thai
Тhis type of heavy bags can be used for both hand and leg training, especially low and high kicks. They are usually 180 centimeters long (6 feet) and thinner in comparison to classic heavy bags.
Many of them have a bottom ring for better hanging to the floor in case you want to limit swinging to the maximum.
They are used by Muay Thai fighters for training mainly on their elbows, knees and low kicks so they tend to be filled with harder materials.
Because of their longer length and hard materials used, they swing a less compared to classic heavy bags, which sometimes hinders active footwork.
The disadvantage is that over time the filling falls (as with all heavy bags) and because of the bigger length when you hit in the middle they curve.
Apart from this little inconvenience, they are ideal for any workout, especially if you work more with your low kicks.
- Excellent for a combination of punches involving low kicks.
- Perfect for “entire body attacking” techniques
- Good for elbow and knee hits.
- Good for Clinching Knees.
- Excellent for strengthening the shins.
- Don’t swing as much as a traditional heavy bag.
- With time they become very hard at the bottom.
- With time they become less usable for kicks and blows in the middle.
- Kung Fu
- Muay Thai
If you do not have a lot of free space or you prefer to change the position of your training gear often, this type of heavy bag is definitely for you.
Unlike hanging heavy bags, free-standing heavy bags are attached to a stable base and most often are connected to it by a mobile “neck”.Тhe base is filled with water or sand, which prevents the bag from being knocked over … if you do not hit too hard.
You should understand that these bags are ideal for beginners, for women and children but are not suitable for heavy punchers.
If you hit hard, you can easily knock down this type of heavy bag so they are not suitable for Muay Thai practitioners or professional boxers.
Free-standing heavy bags are a preferred choice for traditional martial arts where the focus is mainly on precise impact, speed, and coordination.
They are a very good solution if you just want to have an excellent cardio workout that focuses on burning calories.
A model I like very much is the B.O.B. (body opponent bag) who simulates a human body. For many years I have been practicing traditional martial arts, and especially this type of free-standing bag allows me to practice karate and Wing Chung techniques with open hands without risking injury to my hands.
Very useful device especially if you want to be prepared to protect yourself or your family on the street. There are no rules and gloves for protection.
- Easy to set. No hanging for ceiling or wall is required. Some of them come fully assembled and ready for work.
- Softer (compared to traditional heavy bags) which protects your hands from injuries.
- Require a little space and can be easily moved.
- Wide variety of models and shapes.
- Excellent for practicing fast and precise hits including an open hand (B.O.B. model)
- The height can be adjusted
- Excellent for kids, women, and beginners.
- Provides less impact resistance than traditional bags
- Bad for heavy punchers. A strong hit may knock it out.
- Unsuitable for Muyai Thai
- Bad for developing the power of the punches and muscle strength.
- Less durable compared with classic heavy bags( sometimes the adjustable “neck” may break)
- Traditional martial arts
- Wing Chung
- Amateur boxing
- Amateur kickboxing
- Muay Thai
- Professional boxing
- Professional kickboxing
The speed bags are small sacks filled with air and tied to the top of a platform parallel to the floor. They can go horizontally and vertically.
This allows you to maintain your hands, improving the coordination of the hands and eyes;
With this bag, you may learn how to change the weight between your legs when hit. The focus of the speed bags is on speed, rhythm, and coordination.
When you hit the bag it returns with bouncing speed, so if you do not hit the bag at the right time, you will lose the rhythm.
That is why the workout with a speed bag increase your hand-eye coordination, your reactions, and fast punching abilities.
- Ideal for achieving timing and skills for rhythm
- Forcing you to hold your hands up (which is a must for any boxer).
- Excellent for speed training and eye coordination.
- Improves the endurance of the arms and shoulders.
- BORING-I personally do not like working with this type of bag. The training is monotonous and boring.
I have never spent more than ten minutes. I’m sorry for the speed-bag fans. They’re perfect for boxers, but they’re boring to me.
Working with this type of speed bag is a bit more entertaining. Typically, they are about the size of a basketball ball which is stretched between the floor and the ceiling by two tight coils.
When you hit the Mexican speed bag, it returns like an opponent that repels you, which forces you to avoid and counter-attack.
This type of heavy bag can be adjusted according to the height and tightening of the ropes. If the ropes are more tightened, the speed bag will faster bounce back.
- Excellent to develop counter-attack skills
- Very good for eye-hand coordination and striking speed.
- Develop accuracy, foot working, turning and avoiding skills
- Head and body combo training
- Head defense
- Don’t develop the power of the hits
- Hard to set up
- Bad for kicks
- Not for beginners
- Kickboxing (hand and body workout)
- Kicking martial arts
Traditional heavy bags, despite their many advantages, are not suited to landing good uppercuts.
For this purpose, specially designed uppercut bags were created.
Their shape is such, that correct uppercuts are applied with maximum power which lands into the right place at the right angle.
These bags can be mounted on the wall or freely swinging.
- Ideal for a workout at home
- Little space needed
- Perfect for training uppercuts from close and long-distance.
- Ideal for practicing face-to-face short uppercuts
- Not suitable for kick training
- Practical just for training the uppercut punches.
- Kickboxing (hand workout)
As the name suggests, these are heavy bags that have the form of tears. The weight is distributed so that the heavy bottom creates more acceleration and momentum.
The teardrop bags are a few feet long and are lighter in comparison to classic heavy bags.
Therefore, thanks to the tear-shaped form and the lower weight they swing significantly faster.
The bottom may reach you very fast at the level of solar plexus, so it is a perfect tool for practicing close range punches, clinches, elbows and knee kicks.
Depending on your martial style the bag may be hanged at the level of the mid-chest plexus for boxing (uppercut drills) or at the waist level for MMA and Muay Thai (clinching knees).
- Perfect for practicing clinch techniques with knee and elbow hits.
- Allows to land strong close hooks and uppercuts.
- Develops timing, footwork, speed, accuracy and defensive head movements.
- Bad for middle and high kicks.
- Not so good for power training.
- Muay Thai
This type of heavy bag is designed mainly for the training of powerful punches in all directions. They are the perfect training device for every boxer who wants to work on the combination of hits on a short distance.
Some fighters use this bag for knee training but I think that it is best suited for pure punchers.
- Improves impact strength and footwork.
- Excellent for practicing a combination of close-range strikes in all directions.
- Develops the ability to deep diving when the punch
- Unsuitable for kicks
This special bag with a unique design is specially created for both hitting and slipping at the same time, so the maize bags are known as slip bags too.
the original maize bag is filled with maize so it’s easy to understand where the name comes from.
These types of heavy bags are similar to teardrop heavy bags with the same teardrop shape but are smaller and lighter.
Because of that, the maize bags swing faster even the teardrop bags which makes them perfect to avoid, slip and hit. They are extremely specialized in achieving this goal.
There is a standard maize bag (better for speed training) and a large maize bag(good for power training).
- Allows to move and hit at the same time
- Power or speed punching depending on the size
- Develop reflex and timing
- Excellent for slip techniques involving the head movement
- Good for Hooks and uppercuts
- Bad for practicing body hits
- Unsuitable for kicks
BEST SUITABLE WITH
This type of heavy bag is similar to traditional heavy bags, with the difference that part of the surface is angular to provide better impact from different angles.
the angled heavy bag is a combination of a traditional heavy bag and teardrop bag. So greatly offset both disadvantages (bad uppercut landing and less power punching workout)
This unique type of evolved heavy bag makes now possible to apply correct solid uppercuts at different angles with maximum force and power.
There are single angled and double-angled variations of that type heavy bag. Single angled models are best suited for MMA and Kicking Martial Artists as double angled are better for pure uppercuts and hooks respectively for Boxers.
- All around training
- Best for uppercuts
- Good for angled hooks
- Power workout
- Good for kicks (Single angled)
- They are more expensive
BEST SUITABLE WITH
- Muay Thai
Once you have become familiar with all the various types of heavy bags and their specific features, advantages, and disadvantages, I hope you can make the most appropriate choice according to your needs, desires, and goals.
I’m hoping I’ve been useful to you!