If you’ve ever wanted to work on your conditioning, get in shape, lose weight, or learn self-defense, then a punching bag can be well worth the investment. Going a few rounds with a punching bag is great cardio and can incinerate fat in addition to improving athleticism by increasing your hand speed, coordination, and even strength. There are several different styles of punching bag, which we’ll discuss in more detail in this article, as well as review a handpicked roundup of product options.
Best Punching Bags of 2018
|Contender Fight Sports Leather Boxing Bag|
|Heavy punching bag||Leather||70, 100, 150 lbs||14"x42"; 16"x48"||Black & White|
|Outslayer Vinyl Bag||Punching bag for muay thai, kick boxing, MMA||Vinyl||150 lbs||14"x6ft||Black|
|Century Original Wavemaster||Freestanding heavy punching bag for home||Vinyl||250 lbs||13"x47-68"||Black, Blue, Red|
|Ringside Double End Bag||End bag for agility training||Leather||-||9"||Black & White & Red|
|Tomasar Free Standing Speed Ball||Freestanding speed ball||Sponge, Metal and PU||-||7"x60"||Black|
|Cleto Reyes Platform Speed Bag||Speed bag||Leather||-||6"x9"||Black, Red|
|Century Kid Kick Wavemaster||Punching bag for kids and teenagers||Vinyl||170 lbs||10.5"x26"||Red|
1. Contender Fight Sports Leather Boxing Bag – Best Heavy Punching Bag
The first punching bag in our line up is the Contender Fight Sports leather heavy bag. Heavy bags are probably the most common form of punching bag and are what most people think of when they hear the term. This particular heavy bag is crafted from leather which lends it impressive durability.
The Contender heavy bag comes in three different weights, 70, 100, and 150 pounds. The 70 and 100-pound options are 14-inches in diameter and 42-inches in height, while the 150-pound version is 16-inches across and exactly four feet tall. All three come pre-filled with a dense foam that is very satisfying to hit. The 100 and 150-pound versions are slightly more dense than their 70-pound counterpart, which is nice since those using a 70-pound bag are normally less experienced and will appreciate having a slightly more forgiving surface to hit.
This bag comes with chains and a swivel which is designed to be mounted and hung from the ceiling. Some bags ship with flimsy chains which will then drop the bag after only a few months, but luckily the chains and swivel included with the Contender bag are of a high quality, meaning they’ll probably last at least as long as the tough leather on the bag. Ultimately this bag is a durable addition to any gym that will last for years and provide a good conditioning and strength training tool.
2. Outslayer Vinyl Bag – Best For Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, MMA
Muay Thai punching bags, unlike more common boxing heavy bags, typically extend from head level down to near the floor. This is because Muay Thai fighters need to practice an assortment of kicks in addition to punches, and many of these kicks can be aimed at an opponents thigh, shin, side, or even head. Boxers on the other hand only have to worry about punching, and only towards the torso and head. The Outslayer Muay Thai bag follows this formula and is a full 6 feet tall, and when filled measures 14-inches across.
This bag comes unfilled allowing it to be shipped weighing only 7 pounds. This brings down cost but adds some level of inconvenience to many users. The manufacturer recommends that you fill it with cotton or shreds of fabric. They point out that if you decide to fill your bag with pieces of fabric be sure that there are no buttons remaining in the fabric before putting it into the punching bag.
The advantage to receiving an unfilled punching bag is that it does give you some flexibility as to how heavy and how hard you want your punching bag to be. The bag is able to be filled with up to 150-pounds of material, but you can come short of that if you want a lighter and slightly softer bag.
This bag has a vinyl shell, which is less resilient than the leather of the Contender punching bag, but this isn’t too much of a problem as the build quality is very good. There are no obvious signs of corner cutting that some vinyl bags show like loose stitching. The bag also requires no chains to mount, as there are thick fabric straps on the top of the bag which can be hooked onto a swivel mount.
The final verdict on this one is murky. If you’re willing to take the time to stuff a heavy bag yourself, this is a high-quality punching bag that sports the height to allow you to practice a wide variety of kicks. If you just want something with minimal hassle and aren’t too concerned with throwing kicks, then the Contender bag might be more your speed.
3. Century Original Wavemaster – Best For Home Use
Are you not too fond of the idea of having to drill holes in your ceiling in order to mount a heavy bag? There is another option, which comes in the form of free-standing punching bags. The Century Wavemaster heavy bag allows you to skip the mounting altogether and is simply held in place by a platform that is weighted with either sand or water.
The bag weighs about 250 pounds when completely filled, but this is not necessarily the same as a 250-pound hanging style heavy bag. The padding on the Waverunner is softer than the standing heavy bags and is very forgiving for people who are new to training with punching bags. The softness also allows novices to practice kicks, which is further enabled by the adjustable height of the padding on the base. There are 7 height increments in 3-inch intervals.
If you’re concerned about moving and storing the Waverunner, don’t be intimidated by the 250-pound weight. The base of the bag is round, which allows you to simply toss it on its side and roll it away. The base is sealed with a very tight cap that won’t allow any water or sand to spill out in the process. This bag is absolutely worth getting if you want to train your punching power but don’t want to have to deal with mounting a hanging punching bag to the ceiling.
4. Ringside Double End Bag – Best For Agility Training
If you’re more concerned with agility or hand-eye coordination than the strength of your punches, then you’re probably in search of a double end bag. A double end punching bag is a small sphere with loops on either end which are connected to the floor and the ceiling. These punching bags are light and are designed to move around much more than a heavy bag. This can simulate the bobbing and weaving of an opponent and forces you to learn how to aim your hits and move with an opponent.
The Ringside double end bag boasts a very high-quality leather construction and comes with a pair of bungee cables for mounting. These bags come in three different sizes ranging from 5 to 9-inches across. They all weigh about one pound as they are filled with air, but the smaller punching bags are more challenging to hit as they present a smaller target. Hitting a moving target is actually surprisingly hard so it’s a vital skill to practice if you’re interested in becoming a better fighter.
These kinds of punching bags also take up much less space than a heavy bag and can often be put up and taken down easily, meaning it doesn’t have to permanently occupy space in your gym. If you’re fairly new to boxing and want to improve your mechanics, or if you’re just interested in improving your conditioning and coordination then this bag is a very affordable option.
5. Tomasar Free Standing Speed Ball – Best Freestanding Bag For Kicks Like Bricks
Next in our punching bag roundup is a free standing bag that offers a nice balance between agility training and strength, while also being useful for throwing all manners of different strikes. The Tomasar free standing punching bag features a smaller spherical target much like the double end bag, but instead of needing two cables stretching from ceiling to floor, this bag is simply held in place by a plastic weighted base.
The base comes empty and can be filled with either sand or water. Once filled the base weighs about 80 pounds and is surprisingly difficult to topple during use. Most of these agility focused Muay Thai style targets feature a plastic support that holds the punching bag, but when adjusted to a considerable height and kicked full force many of these plastic pillars will bend or snap. The pillar of this model is actually made of steel leading it much greater structural integrity ensuring a lot of use. The steel beam also comes with a foam sheath so if you miss you won’t be slamming your knuckles or shins straight into a steel pole.
The pole connects to the base with a high tension spring which allows the target at the top of the pillar to sway around when hit very much like a bobbing opponent. The punching bag at the top of the metal beam is 7-inches across and can be adjusted in height from 56 to 61 inches. Much like the Wavemaster, this is a great product if you’re looking for something to use as a punching bag but don’t want to be mounting things into your ceiling. The Tomasar is ideal for those looking to improve coordination and get a brutal cardio workout in while doing it.
6. Cleto Reyes Platform Speed Bag – Best For Training Your Reflexes
Let’s say you’ve taught yourself how to throw punches on a heavy bag, then moved onto a double end bag that bobs like a real opponent, but now you’re looking for an even greater challenge. The next step for someone who has strong coordination skills and wants to push their cardio to the limit is a type of punching bag called a speed bag. These bags are common in the movies and are the small punching bags hanging at head level that slam back and forth against a platform above them when hit.
The Cleto Reyes speed bag comes without a platform but can be easily attached to any adjustable platform. It’s inflatable and constructed out of a tough leather shell which is important because speed bags take a lot of punishment during their lives. The bag comes in four different color options, as well as four size options. The smaller speed bags will, naturally, be harder to hit as they move faster and have less area to actually hit. Getting a large or medium bag is a good bet for most people, as a small or mini bags are generally for very experienced fighters.
Speed bags are also renowned for their ability to improve people’s footwork as the continuous movement and tempo force you to keep your balance and plant your feet. If your aim is to get a devastating workout bouncing while hitting the bag and bobbing back and forth will get your lungs burning and your heart racing while developing great footwork. If you are serious about improving your fighting skills then a speed bag is a must.
7. Century Kid Kick Wavemaster – Best For Kids And Teenagers
The last punching bag in our lineup is one designed specifically for young martial arts enthusiasts. It’s a version of the aforementioned Waverunner free standing punching bag from Century, but scaled down and softened up a bit. Like the full-sized Waverunner, this one comes with a base that is empty but can be easily filled with either sand or water. When full the whole thing weighs around 170 pounds but has a smooth circular base so it can be rolled around easily.
The punching bag itself is made of nylon and is filled with a dense foam. This setup can easily withstand the hits from kids and offers enough padding to protect their hands, shins, and feet. The base is shorter than full-sized free standing bags which allows kids to throw low kicks on the bag in addition to punches and high kicks. The padding is height adjustable and can go up to 4 feet.
This freestanding bag is a great way to get your little on something to practice on and get some exercise without having to deal with any mounting at all. Just fill up the base with a hose and you’re good to go.
There are several different styles of punching bag, and each offers distinct advantages. Whether you’re trying to improve your cardio abilities, learn to hit harder, or are just trying to get the blood flowing and get some exercise there is a punching bag that fits your goals. First let’s go over the different types of punching bag, then talk about more general things to keep in mind.
Types of Punching Bags
- Heavy Bag
Heavy bags are more or less exactly what they sound like. Just huge bags filled with some kind of weighty and shock absorbent foam, fabric, or other material. These can provide a great workout that challenges both your cardio and your strength as heavy bags are meant to be hit hard. They also present the largest and most stationary target, making them ideal for novices or people focused on hitting harder.
- Double End Bag
Double End bags, unlike heavy bags, are designed to move and give the person using them some practice with hitting a moving target. As easy as it may sound at first hitting a moving object with any force is pretty hard and takes tons of practice.
- Speed Bag
Speed bags offer the fastest moving target and are designed to sharpen your reflexes, coordination, and hand speed. They don’t necessarily simulate punching though, so if you’re trying to get better at punching specifically this might not be what you’re looking for. For advanced fighters though, speed bags have actually been known to improve all around boxing mechanics as the quick movement and tempo require a fighter to use proper footwork or risk losing their balance and rhythm.
Mounting Heavy Bags
There are two types of heavy bags. Those that are freestanding and only need to be filled up in order to be ready for use, and those that have to be hung from the ceiling on a swivel mount. If you get a heavy bag that has to be mounted it is important to make sure when you mount the bag that it is on a stud and not just a ceiling tile or some other non-load bearing feature of the building. If the swivel is not mounted on a stud it is likely that the bag will come down during use damaging your ceiling and your heavy bag, not to mention possibly causing injury to the user.
What Weight of Heavy Bag to Get
Heavy bags often have different options for how heavy the bag you get will be. For less experienced users lighter bags are typically more forgiving as they push back less when hit than a heavier bag and are often slightly softer. The drawback to a lighter bag is that it will swing more when you hit it, but for most people, the small amount of sway that heavy bags get is not an issue. Ultimately you won’t hurt yourself on a heavier bag as long as you’re not careless so the choice is yours. Heavier bags will help train harder punches, but lighter bags are lower impact.
Whether you’re interested in getting a punching bag to supplement your existing martial arts or boxing training, or if you’re just in it for a good workout I highly encourage it. By putting in just 30 minutes of work a few times a week you can see your skill and cardio skyrocket. Punching bags can offer great exercise, stress relief, or practical training and any of the options on our hand-picked list is sure to please.