Have you bought an empty punching bag? From this guide, you will learn how to fill it properly and in various ways to get a bag for the home that will be comfortable and safe for training.
There are many types of punching bag filling you can use, such as old clothes, sand, sawdust, rubber mulch, or you can buy special filling. But the best is if you combine them.
Here we are only talking about the no-cost methods.
- Why is the filling material important?
- Different ways to fill the punching bag
- What size heavy bag do you need?
- Is it worth filling the bag on your own?
Why is the filling material important?
When I purchased mine, I thought I only need to throw some clothes into it, and it is ready to use, but it is far from that. A poorly filled heavy punching bag gives an awful training experience, plus it can be dangerous to your knuckles and wrist. Also, it does not swing pleasantly, which is essential as well.
Typically, the biggest problem with a badly-filled bag is that the filling sinks to the bottom. This way, the top will be soft and the bottom rock-hard. Hence, you cannot place punches correctly on it, and the bottom will kill your knuckles.
Furthermore, a too softly filled punching bag will not provide correct resistance, while a too hard one might cause injuries in your wrist and knuckles.
To solve the problems above, I mix the various punch bag filler. I use clothes and sand for weight and firmness and flexible materials such as rubber mulch to tweak the bag’s softness.
What to fill in a punching bag?
Here are some typical fillings and their benefits:
- Clothes/rag: With clothes, we can quickly fill the bag and tweak the density. The downside is that with time it sinks to the bottom. Also, it’s better to use small pieces of clothes to get a homogeneous hitting surface. And, don’t forget to remove the buttons, it’s annoying when they pop out and destroy the leather shell.
- Sawdust: Lightweight material for making the bag softer and lighter. Don’t pour it right into the bag. Use trash bags.
- Sand: Good to increase the weight of the bag. Don’t use it alone.
- Rice: The rice alone gives a light bag. Use it with other materials to customize your bag.
- Rubber mulch: Great material to avoid the sinking of clothes and makes the bag flexible and fist friendly.
- Foam: It lightens the bag and makes it softer. Plus, it stops the settling of cloth if we put it in couple of layers.
- Ready to use stuffing material. Frankly, I don’t know much about it. I prefer no-cost stuffing.
- Insulation: I don’t recommend it. I think it isn’t healthy.
Different ways to fill the punching bag
1. The sawdust filling for a lightweight boxing bag
When you punch a lighter bag, it will sway more, so you won’t have to exert much effort to control it.
With this filling process, you can get a lightweight punching bag that is not so hard and heavy.
- You will need a few pieces of old cloths, a sturdy rubble sack, and sawdust, depending on your heavy bag’s sizes for this method.
- Firstly, place the clothing into the bottom of the bag tightly maximum of 1/3 of the bag.
- Then, put the rubble sack and start filling it with the sawdust until it reaches the sides of the heavy boxing bag. If it is required, use more than one rubble sack to fill it entirely. And don’t forget to tightly close the mouth of the rubble sack(s).
- Do not put sawdust directly into the heavy bag to avoid outflow and settling.
- Organize and press sawdust bags to form the bag.
2. Clothes Filling for a medium boxing bag
This heavy bag filling is perfect if you prefer to feel less body shock and implement fast and accurate boxing combinations rather than concentrated forceful strikes.
For fabric filling, you will only need old clothes. It is essential to place the pieces of clothes very tightly with each other. There should not be empty places, so the best is if you fold them before. If the cloths sink, add more clothes into the bag.
Even if you use clothes for this filling, if you do it right, you will have medium-heavy and hard equipment. To make it softer, you can place sawdust or rubber mulch between the layers. Since the clothes are willing to sink, I recommend a combination of fillings.
This bag is suitable for stronger punches. Boxers with high-performance skills usually train on softer (maintenance bags) stuffing bags, like bags with fabric fillings or water cores, whereas power training is best done on hard bags.
3. Sand filling for additional weight
The sand filling option does not mean we fill the entire punching bag with sand. It would be hefty and hard. And I think no model in the world can handle such a huge weight.
Instead, we use it to make it heavier and firm. The following video will teach you how to fill a heavy bag correctly to get a classic boxing bag with a perfect shape and structure.
Keep in mind, that this is a heavy filling so you must use hand wraps and boxing gloves as well to protect your joints. It’s is to get wrists or hand injury.
Note: You should use bags of sand instead of pouring it straight into the bag. In this way, the sand won’t go through the exterior and will never sink to the bottom.
The best is if you fill a punching bag with various materials above. This way you can have a boxing heavy bag that will suit your need. If you require more weight and hardness, use more sand. In case you need lighter equipment, then use more sawdust. And, if it is necessary, refill it regularly. In case you require equipment for kicks, it is better to choose one from the standing punching bags.
I don’t think we need to buy anything, common fillings will do.
What size heavy bag do you need?
When we choose a heavy punching bag, the rule is to get one that is half of the user’s weight. For example, I’m 200 pounds, so a 100 pounds bag will do for regular boxing training. It gives enough resistance but still swings well to develop the various boxing skills.
However, for different purposes and martial arts, we need other size punching bags.
For increasing punching power and kicking, we need a heavier bag that provides more resistance. In this case, you need to fill your bag with heavier materials.
On the other hand, for fitness goals, lighter bags are better since they swing more, pushing us to move more intensely.
Also, there are different types of punching bags that require other filling.
The long, MMA, and Muay Thai bags are suitable for kicking, knee, and elbow strikes. Therefore, they are much heavier and denser than standard boxing bags.
Wracking ball bags are great for practicing uppercuts, and because of the upward punch, they are usually heavy and firm.
Is it worth filling the bag on your own?
If we look around the market, we can choose from a 🛒 wide range of pre-filled heavy bags for a home gym. Of course, a pre-filled bag costs more than non-filled ones, but they are made by manufacturers who know how to create a bag with optimal density. These boxing bags are made with shock absorption, which means they protect the hands from injury. Also, they may have foam padding for comfort.
In case you aren’t satisfied with the filling, you can add or remove the stuff to customize the punching bag for your needs since they come with zippers.
If I need to rebuy a heavy bag, I’m sure I’ll pick a filled one.
But, that’s your choice. If you are on a budget and want to save on shipping costs, get an unfilled bag. If you follow the tips above, you can make your own easily.
What is the best exterior?
Of course, the genuine leather shell is the top, but it’s expensive and requires maintenance. Vinyl is an excellent alternative since it’s durable and easy to clean. Canvas is the least durable.
To sum up
If you do not fill your punching bag with the right kind of filling, it will only offer you incorrect resistance. The right kind of resistance is key for a fruitful punching exercise. It can result in severe injuries if there are holes or air pockets in the loose filling.
To make the bag heavier use layers of sand. To make it lighter add foam. To avoid dense compaction add flexible and more rigid fillings layer by layer.
I hope you now know how to fill your punching bag, but if you still have questions, please ask below. Mix the materials to find the optimal density and weight. Using only one filling isn’t right, I think.
Related: How to keep heavy bag clean?