Why use a free standing punch bag
Free standing punch bags are a popular piece of home exercise equipment. Their popularity stems from several factors, the great fitness workout potential, their practicality and the desire for specific combat training. We will cover these elements in more detail throughout this guide.
Free standing punch bag vs other punch bags
The weight of a heavy bag makes it suitable for practising throwing hard, powerful punches. These are absorbed by the weight, and do not cause excessive swing of the bag. Hitting a free standing bag this way would cause it swing further than it is designed for.
Where free standing bags have an advantage over heavy bags is in their practicality. They do not require any permanent fixtures, can be moved around and re-positioned, plus are easier to store away should you wish.
A speed bag is a small bag attached beneath a flat platform, and is positioned at around head height. They are either attached to a wall, the ceiling, or less frequently a free standing frame.
Speed balls are designed to work on your speed and coordination. The bag rebounds extremely quickly from the platform, forcing you to strike it again quickly. This takes a lot of practice, a lot of speed and good coordination. While free standing punch bags are a good way to work on speed, it is speed of combinations rather than the raw speed that speed bags work on. The larger size of a free standing punch bag means it takes less coordination to strike.
Where free standing punch bags have an advantage over speed bags is in their flexibility. You are able to throw a greater range of punches at a free standing bag. This is due to it’s far greater size, you can strike as if you are throwing body shots as well as at head height. It is also allows you to throw a greater range of punches types, jabs, straight shots, crosses, and hooks. The range of a speed bag is not so great.
An uppercut bag is similar to a heavy bag, as an uppercut is a powerful punch, they are on the heavy end of the scale. What distinguishes them from heavy bags is their shape, they are angled so that it feels more natural to land an upper cut than a flat sided heavy bag. The fixtures to which upper cut bags are attached are the same as heavy bags.
Where upper cut bags have the advantage over free standing punch bags is their designed to practice a specific punch. Nothing lets you practice uppercuts like an uppercut bag.
Conversely free standing punch bags have a significant edge in terms of flexibility, enabling a far greater variety of punches to be practised. They are also more practical in terms of manoeuvrability and storage potential.
Free standing punch bag quick buy table
|Martial Arts & Boxing||All-Rounder||Extra Durable|
|Brand||Bruce Lee Boxing||Boxing-Mad||Everlast|
|Model||Signature Free Standing||Free Standing Punch Bag||Everflex Free Standing|
|Average user rating||4.1 / 5||4.3 / 5||4.4 / 5|
|Weight when filled||100kg (sand)||118kg (water)||109kg (water) 169kg (sand)|
|Height||175cm||170cm||132cm to 173 cm adjustable|
|Bag material||Synthetic leather||Heavy duty vinyl||Synthetic leather|
|Price when Reviewed||£169.99||£170||£225.55|
|Feature of note||Long bag suitable for kicking||The bag "rebounds" on striking||Spring action response|
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How to use a free standing punch bag
Fitness is a really broad term. Combat sports training is a great way to work on a number of the components of fitness. This is one of the reasons for the massive increase in popularity of workouts such as Boxercise in recent years.
Throwing punches repetitively for an extended period of time builds stamina and endurance. Interval training is a great way to work out on a punch bag. Spend 30 seconds throwing punches non stop, take a 30 second break and then repeat the cycle. the longer you can spend doing this, the fitter you become.
This form of training really increases the heart rate. Over time the heart adapts and becomes better at pumping blood around the body. Resting heart rate and blood pressure will drop, two signs of improved health.
Interval training on a punch bag will also raise your breathing, after a few intervals you will be out of breath. Training like this increases lung capacity over time. It also makes the lungs more efficient at diffusing the oxygen in the air you breath, meaning more oxygen in the blood, which improves muscle endurance.
Free standing punch bags are a brilliant way to practice throwing combinations of punches. Shadow boxing is a traditional way of practising combinations, throwing punches into the air with out a target. Using the punch bag as a target is another good way to do this. It gives you a point of reference. If the bag has space around it you can move around it, changing up the angles you throw punches from. Remember the idea is to throw punches quickly, you are not aiming to throw hard knock out punches. It takes longer to recover your stance from these heavy punches and this slows down combinations.
If there are certain areas of technique that you are aware that you need to practice, it’s helpful to use the free standing punch bag as a target or point of reference.
Start by throwing the punch slowly so that you ensure the technique is correct. Gradually increase the speed of the punch, still maintaining correct form. This way you teach your subconscious correct technique, and you will naturally throw punches this way without thinking about it.
Again it is key not to try and throw full power, knock out punches when you are practising technique.
The great thing about free standing punch bags is that you can move them around easily. This means you can place them somewhere where you can have 360 degree access. An advantage over bags that are attached to a wall, where they only have 180 degree access.
Take advantage of this 360 degree access to punch and move, step in, strike and step out again. Move sideways and throw punches from different angles. This is where you float like a butterfly!
Free standing punch bags are perfect for practising speed. Naturally you will not be trying to throw really powerful punches as this is not what the equipment is designed for. Instead throw lots of jabs and work on the speed at which you can land them and return your hands to a defensive guard stance, always keep your hands up, do not let hem drop.
Pros and cons of training on a free standing punch bag
|Training considerations||Training considerations|
|Able to use footwork to throw punches from all angles||Not suitable for heavy punches|
|Can focus on speed and punch combinations||Other bags absorb punches better|
|Use for technique as not tempted to throw hardest punches|
|Practical Considerations||Practical Considerations|
|Can move 360 degrees around bag||Can scuff floor (recommend mat placed underneath)|
|Portable||Leaks of water from the base occasionaly reported|
|Easy to install||Can be knocked over|