A few years ago, when I decided to buy a heavy bag for my boxing gym, I hesitated for a long time between the hanging bags and free standing bags. After checking out many discussions and experts’ suggestions, I bought my hanging bag, and I could not be happier with it (though the installation was a pain in the butt for me.)
Why did I pick a hanging heavy bag? I’m a big guy with significant punching power. I have a dedicated space where I could hang the bag. Finally, I wanted to focus on pugilism, so I didn’t need a long bag.
If you are in the same situation now, I would like to help you decide by showing you the differences and factors. Here I’m going to show you the pros and cons of both. So, you’ll know which is the ideal option for you.
About the hanging heavy bags
What is a hanging punching bag?
The hanging heavy bag is the classic boxing equipment used for hundreds of years to substitute for the real opponent. The interior is made of leather, synthetic leather, canvas, or PU. We can use a wide range of filling such as clothes, sawdust, rice, sand, rubber, etc., depending on how firm the heavy bag we want is. We can hang the bag to the anchor with chains or nylon straps.
What types of hanging punching bags are there?
There are different types of hanging bags, depending on their length and design.
The traditional hanging boxing bag is about 3-5 feet long and is suitable for punching and high kicks. Professional boxers prefer this traditional heavy bag size.
Muay Thai style hanging heavy bags are longer than 6 feet. Some bags of this type are so long that they lie on the floor. These punching bags let the athletes practice low kicks, high kicks, head kicks, and knee strikes. Mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, Kickboxing fighters prefer this type since they are good for practicing powerful kicks.
Finally, there are the wrecking ball bags with round or teardrop shapes. These bags are great for practicing uppercuts and powerful strikes. But, fighters use wracking bags to improve various punching techniques as well.
Why use a hanging bag?
There is no training without a hanging bag if you want to be serious with any martial arts. It is the best equipment to boost your punching power, and develop your offensive and defensive techniques. Also, it is suitable for cardio workouts. The movement of the bag imitates well the movements of a real foe.
Want to buy a quality piece? Check out the best heavy bags here.
What are the benefits of hanging bags?
Swinging – Forcing you to move, practice footwork and other boxing techniques
While swinging seems to be a problem for a beginner, it is one of the main reasons this type is practical. Just think about it. If you fight with an antagonist, does he stay at the same place? Of course, not. When the bag swings, you have to coordinate yourself to throw a punch (range), which develops your offensive skills.
Also, when it comes to you, it is an excellent possibility to practice your defense skills such as stepping away, blocking, head movement, coordination, etc.
Hence, if you cannot spare someone, it is the most suitable to get a “real” combat situation. Hanging bags are perfect for any martial arts training.
The weight gives resistance
If you want to boost your punching or kicking strength, you should hit a target that has weight behind it. The problem with free-standing gear is that the bag is not heavy, just its basement.
So, if you want to improve your power punches, kicks, stamina, and muscle strength, use a hanging heavy punching bag. It will never fall over even if you hit it with enormous energy and is perfect for an intense workout. Almost every type of punch can be angled, and hitting this one will be fun. Straight punches, hooks, and combinations are great with the traditional style.
What are the hanging bag drawbacks?
- It needs a larger space to use. If you live in an apartment or lack space, it is not the best option. It needs room to swing. (Here are the best heavy bags for the apartment.)
- Installation to the ceiling or a support beam is not easy unless you are familiar with drilling, etc. (I’m not. I spent a day with it). Also, you need a massive base where you can hang it.
- Depending on the filling, some people may find them too hard for the knuckles and hands. But, wearing boxing gloves is always a must.
Tip: If you don’t have a beam or ceiling to hang the bag or you can’t, get a heavy bag stand instead.
Check out the heavy bag training video below. See how the boxer leans away from the moving bag, and how he moves to find the optimal distance to punch. He trains as if he was fighting with another boxer.
About the free standing punching bags
What is a free standing heavy bag?
These types of punching bags come with a vast base that we need to fill with sand or water to stabilize the equipment. The bag itself is attached to this base. Some standing bags are adjustable in multiple positions to find the optimal height and heavy bag experience. There are also different designs, sizes and bases.
Different types of free standing bags
Products with a “neck” connect the bag with the weighted base. Usually, these bags swing more and have a softer foam outer layer. Hence some people use it as a reflex bag, like a double end bag because of the quick motion. You can improve your timing, and rhythm. The downside is that these types of boxing bags are more willing to break and tip over. They aren’t suitable for powerful punches because of their low stability and with that for experienced boxers. The Everlast PowerCore is an example which compact enough for a room, perfect for a lighter punch boxing session and fitness workouts.
There are large free-standing heavy bags with a long-hitting surface and better durability. Some even come with spring support at the bottom for a better rebound. These bags are more professional and stable and made for professional fighters. Of course, they are more expensive options. Century Wavemaster XXL and Ringside Elite are two good examples.
Finally, the BOB bag, aka body opponent bag, with a human torso and head. These human body standing bags are excellent to practice the various targets (head and body shots). The Century BOB bag is the best stand-up bag ever for combat skill workouts.
Many people who want to work out at home prefer stand-up punching bags since they are out of the box, but a good choice for endurance training. But, if you need one for serious training that stands everything, you have to dig deep into your pocket.
Want to buy one? Check out the best free standing punching bag reviews.
What are the free standing bags benefits?
- No installation is required. You need to fill the stand with sand or water. It stands on the ground.
- Most of the bags are stuffed with high-density foam inside, so their surface is not so firm. Hence, it is more comfortable for your knuckles or legs when you kick it. That is useful if you want to use it only for cardio boxing drills or cardio kickboxing workouts and kids and beginners.
- It is suitable for practicing low kicks or head kicks, for example, for Muay Thai or MMA because they have a larger surface area. Bigger items can stand a huge force.
- It is easy to store since you can put it into the corner of the room after usage and requires less floor space. If portability is important, get this type.
The drawback of free standing bags
- The bag itself is light, so it has limits in case of developing punching and kicking power.
- Under intensive usage, it may break, especially on models that come with an adjustable “neck” and poor material.
- Since it stays in a static position, it does not provide as many possibilities as hanging ones for developing offensive and defensive skills for combat sports.
- Lighter products may fall over if being hit by stronger punches or kicks.
- Spring-loaded heavy bags are noisy.
Tip: If your free-standing punching bag moves, fill the base with both water and sand. Also, place a thick rubber mat under it.
Check out the free-standing heavy bag training below to understand the advantages.
Which is the ideal punching bag for you?
The first question to ask yourself is: For what will you use the punching bag?
If you want to improve punching power, fighting, and defensive skills for any martial arts, then a traditional hanging heavy bag is the only solution. You can get a free-standing bag, but it must be a professional piece made for combat sports.
If your goal is to use the heavy bag to improve your cardio and endurance, then standing punch bags will do. It’s excellent conditioning workout equipment.
Another question is how much space you have at home?
If you lack space or have nowhere to install a heavy hanging bag, a freestanding bag is better than nothing for your home gym.
If you have space, get a hanging heavy punch bag because it is more versatile and durable. Also, it is the best equipment to develop martial art skills at home. You can also have a standing or a wall mount heavy bag stand that substitutes ceiling mount.
Have you got any more questions about standing punching bag vs. hanging? Feel free to ask below.
Related: Double end bag vs. speed bag