How to Pick a Heavy Bag for Martial Art

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what heavy bag should i buy
How to buy a punching bag

Have you just started martial arts and want to practice the kicks and punches at home? Well, the most useful home workout equipment for you is without a doubt the heavy bag.

A heavy punching bag is a fair substitute for a real sparring partner. It helps you develop your skills such as timing, rhythm, speed and of course your punching power. (It is also a beneficial home exercise equipment for those who want to develop endurance or burn fat.)

You may have already looked around for a boxing bag. But, how do you know which is the most suitable for you? There are various types, sizes, brands, etc.

Here I would like to help you. Just follow the tips below.

How heavy should my heavy bag be?

punching bag weight guide
Credit: Boxing bag sizes

Maybe this is the most important feature to check out. You can find punching bag weight from 30 lb to 200 lb (there is even 300 lb equipment).

How to pick the right heavy bag weight for you?

Simple! Divide your weight by half and get a bag about that weight.

For example, I’m a 200 lb guy, so I need one which is about 100 lb.

If you pick a bag this way, you can have a workout which helps to improve all your skills. The bag will be neither too static, nor too mobile.

What if you already have significant punching power? Or you kicks are already destroyers? Or you want to focus on developing your hitting power?

Well, if that is the case, you need a more substantial bag to avoid too much swinging. I say, get one which is about 70% of your bodyweight.

And what size heavy bag you need if your primarily want to use the bag for cardio workouts?

Then, you can have a lighter bag which is about 40% of your weight. This way the bag will swing more, but with that, it pushes you to move faster and more.

Learn more about punching bag sizes here

What kind of shell (covering material) is the best?

cover material
Leather – vinyl – canvas

The second important feature you should check out while buying a heavy punching bag is the material of the cover. Basically, there are 3 types: leather, vinyl, and canvas.

The leather is the “king of the covers.” It provides an excellent hitting surface for both punches and kicks. It is also the most knuckle-friendly material. It is durable and has a vintage look making the bag an outstanding piece in the area. Without a doubt, leather heavy bags are premium quality equipment. Although, they are more expensive.

Vinyl cover is the middle path. It is a durable material that still provides a good feeling while you punch or kick it. It stands moisture and lasts for long. Mid-range bags typically come with this cover. And, I believe it is the best choice for most people.

Canvas is a terrible choice. It tears quickly, and impossible to fill it with heavy filling. Only get such a punching bag if you cannot afford a more expensive one, or you throw really light punches. Maybe for kids is OK.

Hanging or freestanding heavy bag? That is the question!

standing vs hanging heavy bag

A hanging heavy bag is the traditional martial arts equipment that you need to hang from the ceiling with a chain or straps. Alternatively, you can use a heavy bag stand if ceiling installation is not possible. A freestanding bag has a base, so mounting is not needed.

Both versions have their benefits and cons.

When you hit a hanging punching bag, it moves which helps to develop your footwork, accuracy, timing and other skills. Also, it is an excellent tool to stimulate a real person thanks to its weight and the center of gravity.

On the other hand, its installation is not easy for a non-techie person, and you need a ceiling that can securely hold a heavy moving object. Plus, once it is mounted, it is hard to relocate. You can get a stand instead, but it still needs space, and it is not mobile.

A freestanding bag is easy to move around, and no installation is required. You just fill the base with water or sand, and it is ready.

However, compared to hanging bags, it does not behave like a real opponent. The center of the gravity is different, and the swinging is not as significant. Although, the rebounding is quicker.

Because of these features, I think it is not as useful for practicing techniques as hanging.

Which is the best choice for you?

I believe, if you are serious about martial arts, get a hanging bag. For moderate training, and if you really cannot install a bag nowhere, standing one will do.

Where can you buy a punching bag?

Well, I have checked a lot of sites, and Amazon seems to be the cheapest with the free shipping. You can also choose from a lot of equipment.


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