Best Punching Bag Alternatives – What to Do & Hit Instead?

A punching bag is a great way to hone your hand-to-hand combat skills and improve your condition. But what can you do if you can’t have one at home for some reason?

Well, the fact is that you can practice boxing without a punching bag. Boxing is a complex sport with many different types of activities, plus there are a few punching bag substitutes.

I tried many alternatives when I first started my home boxing training. I tried some DIY projects on how to make a punching bag. Obviously, these alternatives won’t be as good as real punching bags, but they’re better than nothing. But, as I got better at hitting the heavy bag, I knew I should invest in a “real” bag to keep going.

Ok, let’s see the best punching bag alternatives.

punching bag alternatives

What to do instead if you don’t have a heavy bag?

A boxing program provides several benefits to the body, including full-body development. Most people believe that a heavy bag or speed bag is essential for practice. In truth, we can do many exercises at home without the use of equipment.


For many martial arts, shadowboxing is an integral part of the training regime to prepare the practitioner for a real fight. Shadowboxing is also used as a warm-up exercise to condition the body for a real fight.

To get the best results, you should work on basic boxing moves, progressing to shadowboxing combos that you can also practice on the heavy bag. The purpose of shadow boxing is to practice your punches, range, movements, and defensive strategies by mimicking an opponent with your shadow. One of the best ways to gain progress is to shadowbox in front of a mirror.

Shadowboxing might seem like a warm-up instead of an exercise, but it’s a great full-body workout. These rounds strengthen your arm, leg, chest, and shoulders. Beginners can build muscles and burn calories while exercising.


A sparring session isn’t to determine a winner. It’s to train skills and fitness. If you’re sparring, wear a mouthguard, head guard, and groin guard. A sparring glove is much thicker than boxing gloves. In sparring sessions, partners may agree on a specific punching pattern or defense move to focus their training.

What are the benefits of sparring?

  • Increase your endurance and stamina. By sparring regularly, you will have more stamina, which translates to less fatigue. The cardiovascular system will function better. In addition to physical fitness, building confidence will improve your mental fitness as well.
  • Improvements in timing. With better timing, you can make better decisions. We all know that hitting a moving target is much more complicated than hitting a static target since both you and your opponent are constantly moving. A faster reaction time is another benefit you will see.
  • A better sense of space. Your attention will be focused on a particular point on your opponent when sparring. Being aware of your surroundings is a critical component of sparring. As you practice, you will become more adept at judging your opponent’s distance.
  • This is good practice for the real thing. There is no better way to practice fighting than sparring. Sparring regularly helps you learn to fight better from your performance in a real fight.

Can a boxing bag replace a sparring partner?

I don’t think so. You can learn, practice, and improve your punching techniques by using punch bags, but they do not move and do not fight back. A real fight consists of defensive strategies as well, which is what sparring is all about.

These are the best cheap heavy bags you should buy

The punching bag is a versatile piece of equipment that is great for home or commercial use. It’s also durable, holds up over time, and can be used for more than just punching.

Use a boxing application that calls out punches

Precision Boxing Coach is an app made by an ex-professional boxer named JT Van V, who has an excellent box training YouTube channel. When it comes to virtual boxing coaches for home workouts, this app is the best. I have a written a detailed review about this boxing app here.

How can you substitute a punching bag?

There are many benefits to working out with a heavy punching bag. You will gain upper-body strength, coordination, and stamina, as well as improve your self-esteem. It’s the best option for boxing workouts because it’s perfectly balanced and designed.

If you’re looking for something other than a punching bag, there are several options available. You can substitute a punching bag with several things. These will not be as effective as punching bags, but they are an excellent alternative.

Focus Mitts

Boxers and other combat athletes train with focus mitts, which are padded targets attached to a glove. A person must hold the pads and change their position, and you must hit them accurately. You will increase your focus and speed by doing so. Practicing uppercuts, straight punches, and other moves while hitting the pad is possible. The punching pads provide a more realistic punching feeling than striking only air.

Freestanding bags

Free standing punching bags are simply bags mounted on a stand. They differ from heavy bags in that they are stationary. A floor bag allows you to practice your moves (blows and kicks) on the bag by holding it down with sand, water, or gravel. Compared to the hanging bags, they don’t need installation and mobile.

Slip bag

Slip bags are valuable tools for training your head movements. To work on head movement, we need to have something coming at us continuously to learn how to move our heads.

Making and installing a slip bag is easy and cheap, but it’s an excellent tool for practicing important boxing moves.

Grappling dummies

grappling dummy

Grappling dummies are the best training partners in MMA, wrestlers, Jiu-Jitsu, and submission techniques. However, you can also use it for practicing boxing punches. Contact sport dummies allow you to engage in full-throttle training without the risk of hurting your training partner. We can easily practice takedowns, throws, submissions, and strikes on a life-size dummy.

Doorway punching bag

Doorway punching bags are made to maximize limited training spaces, to train at home, in an apartment, or almost anywhere with a doorway. Bags like this are excellent for punching accuracy and speed. But, we can’t practice power punches with it due to the lack of resistance. Find a heavy bag alternative for an apartment here.

DIY punching bag ideas

The purpose of punching bags is to improve a person’s strength and stamina. Martial arts and boxing practitioners utilize them to enhance their technique. The cost of punching bags, however, can be prohibitive for someone on a tight budget. You can solve this problem by making your own punching bag.

How to make a heavy bag from tires?

You can make a heavy bag in many ways. People often use large bags filled with sand and hung up on hooks. There’s a good chance you’re not going to like that bag. It will be rock hard, and you will have sand all over the place as soon as the bag tears, rips, or deteriorates.

The tire heavy bag is a cheaper and better option.

It’s free to get old rubber tires from your nearest dump. They’ll be bolted together, attached to brackets, and hung. You can easily make it taller or shorter by removing or adding tires. Four tire sizes (23′′ diameter) will weigh you about 80-90 pounds. In fact, this tire-heavy bag may be even better than some of the top brand bags. These are the best heavy bag alternatives, in my opinion.

How to make a punching bag at home easily?

Make a punching bag out of clothes, rope, duct tape, and duffel bags.

You’ll need to put in some effort and time. In addition, some DIY knowledge and skills might be required, depending on the design. A homemade martial arts equipment won’t exactly look like a professionally made piece. With the right amount of time and resources, however, you can build a practical heavy bag for your training.

Our recommendation, however, is to invest in either a heavy bag or a free-standing bag for best results and long-term use.

To sum up

I’ll post more punching bag substitutes later, but right now, I have these ideas. If you can’t afford to get a bag yet, don’t worry about it! There are so many activities you can do without it. Just do it. Anyway, please suggest punching bag alternatives and I will add them to the list.

About us

There is no better fitness system than boxing. Your muscles grow, your endurance improves, your heart gets stronger and you're more energetic. Since boxing uses practically your entire body, you'll burn tons of calories. Because I love boxing so much, I started this blog to help others get started.

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