What Is The Best Boxing Equipment To Train With?

What Is The Best Boxing Equipment To Train With?

Just like with any sport, you need to train for boxing in different ways to improve your skills and technique effectively. You cannot just train for a month and expect to become a master. For that goal, you need to deliberately practice different skills, but ideally with different pieces of equipment.

This article aims to guide you on what to consider and how it will help you.

While most of the things on the list are not mandatory and you can become a better boxer without most of them. Each comes with its benefits and improves different aspects of your game. Some types of bags have been used since the earliest days of boxing, while others are relatively new inventions, more geared towards those who train at home.

Even if some of these options don’t offer distinctly different benefits, having variety is a good thing because it makes things more interesting and fresh.

Without further introductions, let’s go over all of the boxing equipment you can train with and see how each helps you hone your ring skills. 

1. Shadowboxing

Shadowboxing |
Credit: Boxraw

Yes…I know that shadowboxing is not a piece of boxing training equipment. But this type of training is arguably the most fundamental way of improving your skills.

Each new technique, setup, tactic, and sequence must first be practiced against thin air. This is the best way to focus on your technique and fix errors. However, it cannot be the only thing you do if you hope to become good at boxing, but it is also something you cannot go without.

As a beginner, shadowboxing will go a long way, and you can solidify your basics before moving on to hitting solid objects. Eventually, you will need to use other types of equipment and even spar.

But it’s important to note that shadowboxing never leaves a boxer’s training regimen from the moment they start to. So that is why you should start with it

Shadowboxing can also be enhanced with resistance equipment that can change the focus of the workout to a specific area. 

Find out more benefits on why you should shadowbox.

2. Jump rope

jump rope

Jumping rope has been a staple of boxing training for a very long time. This seemingly simple exercise, which is by no means unique to boxers, lends itself perfectly to them.

It has several benefits that translate into the ring. First, it’s a great way to improve aerobic capacity by exercising for extended periods. While you build up your cardio, the rope also works footwork, strengthens the calves, and improves rhythm between hands and feet.

Jumping rope is also a low-intensity plyometric exercise that puts low stress and overall fatigue on the body. This means it can be done often and longer without impeding other types of training. It’s quite often used as a warm-up and warm-down tool.

When we consider that jump ropes are very cheap, easily accessible, and require very little space to train with. It’s easy to see why they’ve stood the test of time. Don’t get carried away though – learn the basics first.

Check out my full jump rope guide here for more information on the basics. Or if you want a jump rope that will survive the test of time why not consider Boxraw’s Sokudo Speed Rope or Crossrope’s options?

3. Heavy bag

heavy bag
Credit: Boxraw

The almighty heavy bag was created so that boxers could hit something with full power without hurting their hands or breaking an object. While similar punching devices can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The modern heavy bag was created in the late 19th century and has been a primary way of training boxers ever since.

The heavy bag is indispensable for building punching power. It helps you to learn to activate the whole body creating a kinetic chain from the ground to the fist. There is no better piece of equipment to do that than a heavy bag.

Of course, a heavy bag can be used for far more and is in fact, very versatile with the correct routines. Muscle endurance is another area it helps improve with the repetition of powerful punches. The bag can be used for improving aerobic capacity by punching for a long time at a steady pace or by going for short bursts to full power combos. The possibilities on a heavy bag are limited only by your knowledge and imagination.

Heavy bags nowadays come in a lot of shapes and forms, weights, and lengths. Some, like the uppercut bag. As it let you work on other techniques such as angled hooks and uppercuts, but generally, all serve the same purpose. If you have the space for a hanging heavy bag in your home gym, backyard, or garage, it will become a trusted friend and training partner. 

I recommend you check out my top 10 heavy bag options here.

4. Free-standing Punchbag

what is a free standing punch bag
Century Wavemaster bag

Free-standing bags are for those who do not have enough space or the capacity for a traditional hanging heavy bag. While not quite the real thing, good-quality ones can still offer a hell of a workout.

Standing bags usually sit on a heavy base, and their biggest pro is that they require limited installation and can be easily moved somewhere else after the workout. The downside of this portability is that freestanding bags are lighter and cannot be hit with as much force as hanging bags. They also don’t allow the same amount of footwork, and on top of that, are much more expensive.

Standing bags also come in different sizes and weights. Smaller and cheaper ones are good only for kids and absolute beginners, but higher-end models are pretty good and can be used effectively by more experienced boxers. The portability and the fact that they can be stored away make free-standing bags much preferred for smaller living spaces. 

Check out my top 16 free-standing bags or check out my article on the differences between hanging and free-standing bags.

5. Wall-mounted punching bag

wall mounted bag

Wall-mounted punching bags offer a great stationary target to practice punching. They may seem a bit boring compared to a heavy bag, but they are an excellent option to practice hooks and uppercuts both to the head and body due to the specific shape they come in.

Another thing the wall-mounted bag is perfect for is working on your angles, meaning using footwork to change the angle in relation to the opponent. This is a bit more advanced concept, but a very important one once you move past the beginner stages of your boxing training.

Wall-mounted bags are also unique in that they take up the least amount of space of all heavy bags, making them ideal for smaller gyms or garages.  

6. Double-end bag

Double end bag
Hayabusa: Double end bag

The bags we’ve covered until now are primarily for striking with power. However, the double-end bag is all about precision and accuracy. First of all, the double-end bag is fast-moving, which greatly helps improve your reaction speed and timing. In my opinion, the moving target is more realistic than a heavy one and resembles a head both in size and movement.

The size and qualities of the double-end bag make it primarily an exercise for accuracy and timing. As these two things are of crucial importance in the ring, and the right timing and accuracy can overcome large deficits in speed or power.

Setting up a double-end bag is relatively easy to do, and it does not take up a lot of space or make a lot of noise like the above hanging and freestanding bags.

You can also adjust the speed the bag is moving by increasing or decreasing the tension of the holding ropes—the tighter the ropes, the faster the bag, and vice versa. As I’ve just said, the double-end bag is not for power, there are more than enough other pieces of equipment perfectly suited for that. So don’t hit it too hard, focus on accuracy with every shot.

Check out my top 12 double-end bag options here for more detail.

7. Cobra bag

cobra bag
Credit: Ringside

The reflex cobra bag serves a similar purpose as the double-end bag. I do see some people say it is inferior. But this is not necessarily true, though. The cobra bag still works primarily with timing and accuracy, but it can and must be hit with a bit more power, which also gives it a more satisfying and realistic feel. Check out more differences between Cobra and double-end bags here.

The downside of that is that the cobra bag is much more expensive. But the greater cost comes with the benefit that you don’t need much to any setup and can move the reflex bag around easily.

Cobra bags come back with significant speed and force after being hit, which makes them very good for practicing defense to counterattacks.  

Check out my top 10 Cobra bag options here.

8. Speedbag

Anthony Joshua speed bag

The speed bag is another staple of all boxing gyms and a favorite exercise of boxers from all eras. The speed bag may look a bit complicated to get going. But once you’ve got the rhythm, it’s actually quite easy to do. The speed bag, as the name implies, focuses on hand speed, rhythm, and hand-eye coordination. To obtain those, you must always keep the bag in motion, increasing the speed as you get better.

Aside from these qualities, the speed bag improves shoulder and arm endurance. To keep the bag moving, you must hit it constantly with at least moderate speed. The height at which speed bags are mounted guarantees you will keep your hands up the entire time, which will also help teach this important habit and burn your shoulders.

The speed bag is another thing you can mount at your garage gym that wouldn’t take up too much space. The downside of this piece of gear is that it’s not very versatile and is more of a supplementary piece of equipment. But the speed bag is also one of the most satisfying things you can hit in the boxing gym!

9. Mitts


Punch mitts or pads have been around for quite some time but did not gain traction in the boxing world until the late 1970s. However, today, they are usually considered one of the most important pieces of equipment for high-level boxers. The problem with mitts is that, unlike all the other things we’ve listed, they can’t be used alone and need a partner. And the quality of the workout is only as good as the pad holder.

Mitts are used for drilling everything: speed, accuracy, power, and technique. At the same time, they are used to exercise defense, tactics, combinations, specific sequences, and everything else that can happen in the ring. Coaches use them to teach boxers certain moves, work on counters and tactics, and try out the game plan—the list can go on forever. Mitt drills are the most versatile form of training and second only to sparring in being a realistic simulation of fight scenarios.

While the quality of the pad holder is crucial, for beginners, the skill required to properly hold pads is not very high. With a couple of instructions found online, everyone can quickly learn to hold pads for basic combinations. If you find a willing partner to hold pads for each other, you can have a lot of fun while meaningfully improving your boxing skills. 

Check out my top boxing coaching equipment options here.

10. Reaction bar bags

reaction bar

Reaction bar bags, similar to the sparbar, are a recent invention in boxing equipment. The main goal is to improve your defense and reaction time for counterattacks. Most iterations of this device are basically a cobra reflex bag with a bar attached to it parallel to the ground that can spin around the base of the bag.

Hitting the bar makes it move, and you must always defend it by blocking, ducking, or moving away. The harder you hit the bar, the faster it comes back to bite you.

Reaction bars are a neat piece of equipment, especially for home gyms, and can substitute for a partner even if only by a little bit. Is it necessary? I’d say no, but if you have the money and space for it, it can spice up your home training sessions. 

Find out other ways to work on your reactions here.

Final thoughts

If I had to recommend some of the above I would always recommend one piece of equipment that allows you to practice power while one that works on timing speed. E.g. heavy bag + double-end bag. Everything else can just be considered a bonus to help with your training or spice things up.

However, for a lot of people, it may come down to your workout space and how you are able to fit it in. Make sure to know how much space you are working with and the size of each item you may buy.

If you want more information on boxing equipment I highly recommend you check out more of my most popular articles:

Jamie - Boxing Life

I'm a boxing analyst, amateur boxer, and blogger looking to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be gear reviews, fighter analysis, news, training tips, or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on 'Boxing Life'.

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