There’s a wide range of punching bags available in the market, and if you’re into boxing, MMA, or martial arts, you know there’s no better piece of equipment for training. What punching bags essentially do is mimic an opponent through either their weight, their resistance or their rhythmic swinging. Different bags work for different kinds of training, and if you’re not familiar with their functions it can be difficult to understand which one is for you. We’re looking at two popular types, the double end bag and the speed bag, to see their respective benefits.
The first thing you might notice about speed bags and double end bags is how incredibly similar they seem. Both are on the smaller side of the punching bag spectrum. So what’s the difference? Speed bags are secured from the top and are a type of hanging bag. Double end bags are true to their name: they are secured on either side with elasticated cords. Because of this, the rate of motion of a double end bag is much higher and more erratic than that of a speed bag
The way a double end bag is suspended gives room to practice more types of boxing moves, such as jabs and crosses, which may become difficult with a speed bag. A double end bag hits back: it’s hard to compare to its range of motion. The benefit of this is it trains you for the kind of head movement and defensive strategies you’ll need in the ring, mimicking a fight much more closely than a speed bag does. This is highest on the list of double end bag benefits. Speed bags are more straightforward. They demand a head-on right-left-right series of punches.
Being straightforward is also a huge benefit of speed bags: it keeps your punches simpler so that you have room to practice and focus on footwork at the same time. This definitely isn’t the case with double end bags: all of your attention has to be on the bag, because you won’t know the next place it’ll go. Unless you’re at a very advanced level in your fighting training, a double end bag won’t be a lot of use for footwork as it takes a while to learn how to punch it properly. However, once you do, it can be a challenging way to up your game.
A double end bag definitely burns a lot of calories: its high rate of movement has you running around and missing punches, expending a lot of energy. This makes it ideal for a cardio focused workout, because it gets your heart rate going. However, a speed bag is definitely preferable if you’re looking to build muscle and improve your strength. For a speed bag, you have to keep the same movements and posture going: this keeps your shoulders and biceps tensed. The repetitive nature of the punches works the same as high reps due to the resistance from the bag. This in turn builds up your shoulders and arms while also helping perfect your stance.
If you want to learn how to miss a punch, use a double end bag. It definitely helps you understand how your body will feel in a real fight when missing punches and hence improve your conditioning. But to up your accuracy and land punches where you want them, there’s nothing better than a speed bag. Use speed bags to improve your hand-eye co-ordination and, of course, your speed. These are your best friend when it comes to making sure you land your punch where you want to, and as fast as you want to, every time.
As you can see, both double end bags and punching bags come with their own set of benefits. If you’re a beginning, you may want to start out with a speed bag until you build up a certain level of strength and accuracy. This will mean you’re not starting from scratch when you move onto double end bags, and you can reap the rewards accordingly.