The best punching bags from a certified personal trainer
To choose the right punching bag, you should use the Goldilocks rule: not too heavy and not too light. You don’t want a heavy bag to be too light; when you hit him, he’ll bounce too far and won’t resist,” Olajide Jr. explains.
You also don’t want a bag that’s too hard, as Olajide Jr. says a hard bag will be too traumatic for your knuckles, although you can counter a bag that’s too hard by using larger gloves, such as 14- or 16-ounce soft-knuckle gloves. Still, he adds, you won’t get the same quality of training as you would with a bag that has the right stiffness.
Next, consider what type of training you will be doing with the punching bag. Niemann says it’s important to first identify the cause, then determine which punching bag will help you achieve your goal.
According to Nieman, traditional heavy bags are great for working with different punching techniques. In contrast, water punching bags (which Nieman and his team use at Rumble Boxing) are great for a more traditional boxing approach to heavy bag training.
Finally, you have to choose between a free-standing or a hanging bag (attached to the wall or on a stand). Olajide Jr. prefers hanging bags for the most realistic training results.
Hanging bags move and oscillate, allowing you to practice footwork, timing, rhythm, and hitting technique in defense and attack in response to movement that freestanding bags can’t match.
For regular bags, stick to heavier options. Olajide Jr. says anything under 125 pounds is too light, although some lighter boxers or beginners can get away with 100 pounds. “Make sure it’s not filled with sand, and if it’s filled with material rather than sand, make sure the material isn’t compressed too tightly, as that hurts the knuckles,” he advises.
Finally, when learning to punch a water bag or regular heavy bag, the most important thing to remember is to wrap your arms.
According to Olajide Jr. (and research), it is easy to injure hands1, chafe the skin on your knuckles and even break your wrist if your hands are not wrapped properly. “Thick gloves will help ease the impact on the knuckles, but only an armband can protect the wrist from injury,” he warns.