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. Here I’m going to show you the pros and cons of both.
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 heavy bag we want. 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 boxing bag is about 3-5 feet long and suitable for punching and high kicks. 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.
Finally, there are the wrecking ball bags with round or teardrop shape. These bags are great for practicing uppercuts. But, fighters use wracking bags to improve various punching techniques as well.
Why use a hanging bag?
If you want to be serious with any martial art, there is no training without a hanging bag. It is the best equipment to boost your punching power, 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 one? 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 towards you, it is an excellent possibility to practice your defense skills such as stepping away, blocking, 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 a free standing gear is that the bag itself is not heavy, just its basement.
So, if you want to improve your punch, kick, and muscle strength, use a hanging heavy punching bag. It will never fall over even if you hit it with enormous energy.
What are the hanging bag drawbacks?
- It needs space to use. If you live in an apartment or you are lack space, it is not the best option. It needs room to swing.
- 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. 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 below. See how the boxer leans away from the moving bag, 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 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.
Different types of free standing bags
There are products with a “neck” that connects the bag with the base. Usually, these bags swing more. Hence some people use it as a reflex bag, like a double end bag. The downside is that these types of bags are more willing to break and tip over. They aren’t suitable for powerful punches because of the low stability. The Everlast PowerCore is an example which compact enough for a room.
There are large free standing heavy bags with a long hitting surface. Some of them even come with spring support at the bottom for a better rebound. These bags are more professional and stable made for professional fighters. Of course, they are more expensive. 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.
Many people who want to work out at home prefer free static heavy bags since they are out of the box. 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 bags.
What are the free standing bags benefits?
- No installation is required. You need to fill the stand with sand or water.
- Most of the bags are stuffed with high-density foam inside, so their surface is not so firm. Hence, it is more comfortable to your knuckles or legs when you kick it. That is useful if you want to use it only for cardio boxing or cardio kickboxing workout.
- It is suitable for practicing low kicks or head kicks, for example, for Muay Thai because they have a larger surface area.
- It is easy to store since you can put it into the corner of the room after usage.
Cons 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 models that come with an adjustable “neck.”
- 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.
Which one is for you?
The first question to ask yourself is: What are you using the heavy bag for?
If you want to improve punching power, fighting, and defensive skills for any martial arts, then a hanging heavy bag is the only solution. You can get a free standing bag, but it must a professional piece made for combat sports.
If your goal is to use the heavy bag to improve your cardio and endurance, then free standing punching bags will do. It’s excellent workout equipment.
Another question is how much space you have at home?
If you are lack space or have nowhere to install a hanging bag, a freestanding bag is better than nothing for your home gym.
If you have space, get a hanging heavy punching 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 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