While fighters may make punching a bag seem like a piece of cake, it’s actually an extremely exhausting workout. Depending on your age and weight, you can burn between 115 – 125 calories every 15 minutes. Punching bags aren’t just for weight loss, though: punching a bag is a compound exercise that works multiple muscles and relieves stress and tension.
What better way is there to get those daily frustrations sorted? The sheer variety of punching bags on the market means that there’s something for every level. If you have limited space at home and are a beginner, a speed bag is a smaller piece of equipment that is a fantastic way to get into the game. If you’ve levelled up, try a heavy bag instead. If you’re an MMA junkie, longer, thinner MMA bags that mimic an opponent are the way to go.
Looking for ideas? Try our punching bag workouts to feel the burn. Here’s 5 punching bag workout moves that make a mean circuit, and a bonus warm-up thrown in:
- To begin, it is vital to first do a 10–15-minute warm-up exercise, to wake up your muscles and activate your nervous system to better perform during the actual workout. Here we will start by stretching and skipping in place for 30 seconds. This warm-up prevents you from getting injured or muscle sprains and makes the muscles and joints warmed up for the actual workout.
- After this, move into jumping jacks and shadow boxing (light boxing in the air, alternating arms as you jump lightly from foot to foot).
- To complete it our warm-up, go from a high plank position to a downward dog. Start with a high plank and press your hips up towards the ceiling as you extend your shoulders and reach your heels with your hands. Repeat this again for 30 seconds and you are done. Don’t stop yet, though. There’s more to come!
- To start our punching bag work out, we will initially begin with a boxing-inspired jab, cross and squat. Positioning your body right is essential: your feet should be shoulder-distance apart from each other with your legs slightly bent, and arms raised up close to the body. Angle your feet at 45 degrees to the punching bag. Throw two punches into the punching bag, first jabbing with your left arm, then crossing with your right. To finish, drop down into a squat. Redo the whole combination for 45 seconds then take a 15-second rest before going to the next exercise.
- Your next step is crossing with your dominant side. If your right hand is your dominant side, then keep your left foot forward, putting your body weight on the back foot. Position your body sideways with your left arm protecting your face. Before going for the punch, think of your punching bags as a real-life boxer. Compress all your power and strength on your dominant arm and shift your weight forward to deliver a blow. Move back into position and repeat the whole workout for 45 seconds with a 15-second break.
- Cross punches with your non-dominant arm come next. This is the opposite of the step before, so just switch sides. Its important not to favour one side; this will ensure you improve your weaker side on the punching bag. This workout will continue for 45 seconds with a 15-second break.
- Our fourth exercise is a side kick and punch combo. To get started, stand a leg’s length away from the punching bag and position your body sideways so your right side faces the punching bag. Keep your left fist in front of your face, protecting it, and place your right fist slight below your chin. Turn your hip while your right foot pivots above to deliver the blow with your heel. Bring your foot and knee back and get back into your starting position, and repeat. After 10 straight kicks, deliver 30 punches with your right arm. After this shift your body so your left side faces the MMA punching bag and repeat the procedure with your left foot and arm for 90 seconds and then take a 30-second break.
- A front kick and punch combo will be the fifth exercise. Move one leg’s space away from the punching bag, position your body the same way as you had done in the previous drill, and lift your right knee up into a front kick with your heel having first contact before the whole foot. Then bring your right foot down into a boxing stance and deliver four punches, alternating between the hands. Get back into position and continue the drill for 45 seconds with a 15-second break.
These moves are fantastic for conditioning, and can also be customized according to your needs. Make circuits out of whichever of these exercises you prefer for a custom bag workout that’s sure to make an impact.