Using the heavy bag is probably one of the most common boxing workout routines you can do. For beginners who need some ideas and motivation, it’s important that you can get yourself familiar with some potential workout ideas for you to try out at the gym or your own home.
How do punching heavy bags help you?
First off it’s important to identify how the heavy bag will actually help you while training. I find it is a great piece of equipment for practicing your combinations and improving your overall punching power. I also feel it’s the closest you will get to simulating hitting an opponent while outside sparring and competition if you plan on fighting at that level.
The heavy bag as well can give you some real intense workouts the harder you try and can also really work on your cardio and muscle endurance if you spend a good 20-30 mins on the bag – interval style training.
A big con about the heavy bag however is that it can get quite repetitive at times and make technique sloppy. That’s why it’s so important to mix up your workout each time you use the heavy bag.
My simple heavy bag workout
So, here is a real easy heavy bag workout session for you to try out, you can do this in the gym or if you have a punching bag at home.
I like to simulate a real fight while training on the heavy bag so I usually do 6 to 8 x 3 mins rounds with a 1 min rest period. If you are a beginner getting used to these workouts, I would do this in 2 mins instead until you get your fitness and technique up to scratch. If you are intermediate/advanced this workout will work just as well for you too! This whole workout session will last 20 – 30 mins depending on how you do the rounds.
Round 1 – Feet first and the jab
To start off my heavy bag workout I always like to warm up my feet moving around the bag while using the most important punch in boxing – the jab. It’s vital you get the technique right for this so start off very light when throwing this punch.
Make sure to do things like the double jab, jab to the body, and throwing the punch from different angles – It’s only round 1 so don’t go too hard (you can throw the occasional right if you feel yourself getting tired).
Round 2 – Turn to Southpaw
Now, this might be quite alien for some people straight away, but I also like to swap around my stance to southpaw doing the exact same as the last round. (If you are a southpaw, turn to orthodox) It’s good to be able to throw punches from both stances as you never know when you will need to use it. You will also no doubt work muscles you didn’t know you had, but will definitely warm you up.
Round 3 – Combinations
Now for this round, I like to start bringing in more combinations into my punching on the bag. For example
(2) Jab – Cross
(3) Jab – Cross – Hook
(4) Jab – Cross – Hook – Cross
(5) Jab – Cross – Jab – Cross
As you advance and improve in your skillset you can introduce head movement, upper body rolls, and foot movement, just make sure you get your punching technique right first. These are some of the most fundamental combinations in boxing to learn.
Round 4 – Combinations x 2
I usually like to work on some different combinations in this round by mixing it up a bit more and being creative with what I throw. It keeps you thinking and it gets harder as the rounds go on. Here are some combinations you can try for yourself:
Jab – Jab – Cross
Cross – Jab – Cross
Jab – Right Uppercut – Left Hook – Cross
Jab – Jab – Hook – Cross
Left Hook – Right Hook – Left uppercut – Cross
Left Hook Body – Left Hook head (vice versa)
These can be quite hard to get used to compared to the last round so take your time with these and get used to the technique and sequence of them.
Round 5 – Light punches and fast bursts
Now you’ve put in a lot of work into the combinations in the previous rounds, but you still mix up the rest of the rounds.
Now for this round, I like to slow it down with some straight (jab/cross) light shots up close to the bag. I usually throw about 20 slower lighter punches then a fast burst for about 10 punches and then back again to the light punches. It doesn’t sound too hard now, but you’ll be feeling it by the end of this round in those fast bursts.
Round 6 – Power shots
Now we all love those big shots in boxing and everyone will try throwing those big bombs on the bag. The thing to remember with this round is to take your time with these punches – it’s about improving the technique of your power punches. You will already be tired from the previous rounds so think about how you are throwing the punches. Focusing on power and technique here is some ideas for you try:
Left Hook body – Right Hook Head – Left Hook Head – Right Hook Body (Be closer to bag for this one)
Light Jab – Right Cross (focus on turning your hips and twisting your shoulder while you throw right hand to maximize your power)
Remember power shots take a lot out of you physically – so take your time, but not too slow!
Round 7 – Inside fighting
By now you are probably really starting to feel it if you are a beginner, but this next round is something that often gets forgotten about if training on the heavy bag.
This round will be focused on fighting on the inside (up close) – now this may be something only for someone who wants to compete or spar might want to try out, but to enhance your heavy bag workout further this can be a great workout even for beginners.
You will want to get really up close to the bag in this round and want to throw short compact punches while leaning against the bag so its weight is up against you – hooks and uppercuts. The weight of the bag is something you will really start to feel on your legs as the round goes on. But it’s important you’re not leaning against the bag the whole time – try to come out of a clinch with the bag and re-engage from different angles or your other shoulder.
Round 8 – One last dance
You’ve made it to the last round! Now for this final round, it’s easy for the work rate and technique to drop here. But if you’re a beginner, this is a great step for you if you’ve managed to get through this which can be quite hard for some people to get through.
In the last round, I like to try a combination of all the previous rounds together – I also imagine you myself up against an opponent in this round to make my hardest so I really dig deep for this round to make an effort. you can always try one of the other suggested rounds again if this doesn’t pick your fancy.
That is my 6-8 round workout for beginners, it can be a tough workout for any beginner, but if you have to train by yourself or even at home – this is a great alternative workout I like to give myself that anyone can learn.
Another thing I recommend you try is downloading a free ‘boxing timer app’ (iOS) for this workout. I personally use this for most boxing-related training if I’m outside the boxing gym and can be really useful for simulating boxing rounds – you can also listen to music while using this.
I highly recommend also wearing hand wrap if you plan on doing a 20-30 min workout on the bag – it can be an intense workout and you don’t want to damage your hands or wrists – check out my helpful article on my recommended boxing equipment before you start training.
To help you out further, I’ve found some other good heavy bag workouts videos for beginners below on YouTube which you might find useful in your training.
Thanks for reading!
Precision Striking provides the most common beginner mistakes on the Heavy Bag and to fix them:
‘Fight your way fit’ gives a more basic workout than my own above, but this will help hone down your technique.
NateBowerFitness gives his take on a heavy bag workout which you might find useful to try out:
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