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How to hit a punching bag for beginners

If you are into boxing, then you are probably also into the use of the punching bag. However, to use it properly, you have to have the correct technique. If not, your heavy bag workout can result in injuries and lose its effectiveness. This blog is meant to help beginners learn how to use the punching bag properly. It will also give you the fundamental technique for hitting a heavy punching bag.


1. Always Keep The Boxing Stance 👣

We can’t overemphasize the importance of a good boxing stance. As you move, your stance gives you stability while at the same time allowing you to move smoothly. Actually, the stance is the basis for every action you take because you generate power from the proper foot placement.

You will achieve solid power with each hand if you adopt the correct boxing stance. You will be able to throw broader types of punches. Last but not least, the correct boxing stance will let you stand on your ground and move effectively.

Related guide: Beginner’s Guide to Boxing Stance

Here’s a review of the best punching bags for beginners that are durable, effective, and affordable


2. Keep Your Hands Up 🥊

Every boxing coach in the world always tells you to keep your hands up. By having your hands up, you are guaranteed against getting countered, keep yourself ready to block any punches that come your way, and are relatively safe from getting hit cleanly.

It’s common for beginners to concentrate too much on offense, forgetting to cover up. This often leaves them wide open and tagging with sharp counters.

In this case, even though you’re not fighting a real opponent, you shouldn’t let your guard down. It’s a basic rule in boxing. To be successful, you should develop the habit of keeping your hands up on defense. A crucial part of your defensive repertoire is incorporating this into your muscle memory.

Here is a video tutorial.


3. Do Footwork – Don’t Stay at the Same Place 🦵️

Balance, controlling placement, and creating additional momentum are essential aspects of foot movement.

A fighter’s footwork helps them maintain their balance, just like their stance. Additionally, boxers must execute effective combinations of punches, increase accuracy with every hit, and set themselves up for offensive moves.

When hitting the punching bag, beginners tend to forget their footwork. They stay at the same place, and they just throw punches. Following an attack, you should move away from the area.

Related: How does footwork affect boxing?


4. Throw Light Punches – Few Power Hits are Enough 👊

beginner man hitting heavy punching bag

Your aim should be to punch with roughly 60-70% of your total power and snap your strike back. Typically, beginners hit with too much power, ruining the proper form of their various punches. Plus, the risk of injuries is much higher since the body isn’t used to the impact.

Make jabs quick and less powerful when you throw them. Some bag punches such as hooks or crosses can be more powerful, though.

Just think about a real fighter in the ring. Does he always punch with full power? Of course not! If that was the case, he would stop the match after two rounds.

Related training ideas: Punching bag workouts for beginners


5. Include Various Punches In Your Boxing Bag Workouts 🥊

Learn the basic boxing punches first if you do not know them yet. Beginning punchers tend to use power punches, such as right hooks or crosses to strike the punching bag. Sure, they’re the easiest to do, but have you ever seen a boxer just throwing one type of punch?

As if you were fighting a human opponent, handle the heavy bag accordingly. Use it as a sparring partner. Hence, utilize all the basic punches.

And once you are comfortable with the fundamental punching techniques, the next step is to throw combos. To begin, simple boxing combinations with 2-3 explosive punches are enough. As you get better, you can turn to more complex combos.

Read this: Boxing Combinations: Basic to Advanced


6. Correct Breathing Technique 🫁

Beginner boxers may notice how quickly they tire when they work the heavy bag. No matter how flawless your footwork, defense, and combinations are, perfecting your breathing is paramount. That is why it’s not enough to learn how to hit a heavy bag but also how to breathe correctly.

Every time a boxer throws a punch, they should exhale sharply through the nose. Upon retraction of the punch, this sudden release of oxygen causes air to rush into the muscles, bringing oxygen back. Plus, this breathing technique tightens the muscles and gives more power to the punches.

When boxing, remember to breathe slowly. While that might seem counterintuitive since you’re constantly moving, controlling your breathing will help. Beginners tend to hold their breath or breathe too fast. You’ll get tired more quickly this way.

Here is a helpful tutorial video.


7. Snap Your Punches 👊

The bag should not be pushed. It should be hit. You don’t need to swing the bag all over the place. Fast snap punches will make a loud smack sound and jolt the bag back into position. Snapping punches carry more power and speed, thus increasing their chances of success. They can also retract more quickly, protecting your defenses and allowing you to punch again more rapidly.

Be relaxed as you throw the punches. Do your best to exert power, but do not keep your fist on the bag for too long. You should return your fist immediately after making contact and then follow it up with another punch. Whenever your arms get tired quickly, you’re pushing.


8. Be proactive and don’t wait too much ⚡️

You should still throw a few easy punches, even if you are resting. When you watch a boxer, you will probably notice that they almost always hit the heavy bags. After resting only a few seconds, they immediately throw their next punch or start a new combo.

Beginners tend to rest for 8–10 seconds. In a real fight, you don’t have much rest time. When you stop punching, your opponent starts attacking.

Don’t give up. Keep hitting the bag. However, you don’t need to punch it repeatedly in full force.


9. Protect Your Hands Before Training 🥊

In addition to protecting the small bones in your hand, hand wraps prevent skin from tearing off your knuckles as you punch. They also keep you from spraining your wrists. First-time heavy bag users often have these problems.

Don’t forget to get a pair of boxing gloves. Heavy bag gloves usually have a wrap-around closure, making them easy to put on and take off. They are generally constructed with thicker, more dense foam (additional padding), so you won’t break your fists as you hit a harder heavy bag.

You can reduce the risk of injury drastically with this double protection.

Related reading: How to wrap your hands


FAQ

What do you need for beginner heavy bag workouts?

Of course, you need a beginner boxing bag which can be either a hanging or a free-standing punching bag. You can find good heavy punching bags for beginners here. Your home or workplace should have an area where you can suspend a bag from the ceiling. The space where you will be able to move in a circle around a bag comfortably should be approximately six feet by six feet.

You will also need bag gloves and hand wraps to protect your hands. And a timer to set up the number of rounds for your boxing workouts.


What is the ideal length of time to work out on a punching bag?

If you are a beginner, a punching bag workout usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. But the length depends on your level of fitness. I recommend starting with 5×2-3 minutes rounds with 1-minute rest between. And, as you get better, you can increase the length, numbers, and intensity of the rounds.


Should I hit the punching bag every day?

It’s hard to determine how often a person should use a heavy bag. Everyone hits the bag at a different intensity, people recover at different rates, and our bodies are all different.

Your body will give you feedback on how it is responding to the heavy bag training. You should be aware of any niggling pains or aches you might have. You may experience these symptoms if you are training too frequently or too intensely.

You don’t have to hit the bag as hard as you can every single time you train. It’s okay to cycle your intensity, like some days using less force and others using more. Focus on your technique and accuracy on these lighter days.

Don’t forget the strength training as well. I recommend doing bodyweight exercises for the entire body. Cardio workout such as running or jogging is also recommended.


How heavy should a punching bag be for beginners?

The heavy punching bag should be about half your body weight. An 80-pound bag would fit a 170-pound person. Most adults should use hanging bags weighing 80 pounds or less.

Beginners should use a 20-30% lighter beginner bag. In the beginning, it’s best to learn punching forms, footwork, and other boxing moves than to work on punching power. Moving around more and practicing more techniques will be necessary if your bag is lighter. You’ll also be safer with more lightweight bags.

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Bucko Imre

Hi there, I'm Imre. I started boxing when I was 15, but nowadays I hit my old, dirty heavy bag at home (you know, family, business, etc.) I love boxing so much, so I made this blog to help people get started with it (at home).