There are many different sizes and weights of Heavy bag you need to consider. There are pros and cons of each type of heavy bag.
This refers to the height of the punching bag. Typically this ranges from small bags around 3 foot in height to over 6 foot for the larger bags. When choosing the correct bag height you should consider a number of factors.
What will you use it for? Punches only or will you be kicking it? If you are kicking the bag then a 6-foot bag gives you a wider range of targets.
How much space do you have? A 6-foot bag takes up a lot more of the room and is much less portable than a smaller bag.
You need to consider what you will be using the bag for when purchasing. Martial artists who want to kick at a variety of heights will want to opt for either a 5 or 6-foot bag. Boxers may be OK with some of the smaller sizes.
The weight of the bag is extremely important. The heavier the bag the more resistance it will provide. It will take a much greater force to move it and start it swinging. When working on heavy bags you do want a small amount of swing (to stop you standing stationary when hitting it), but not so much that you are taking people out with a wildly swinging bag. The added resistance of a heavier bag will result in stronger punches and improve your overall power levels.
A good rule of thumb is that the bag should be approximately half your weight. If you weigh 80kg then you should be looking for a bag above 40kg. If you are a heavy hitter you will want to go even heavier. If you look at the guide in the picture it will help you determine what weight of bag you need based on your height and body weight.
The filling of the heavy bag makes a massive difference to the feel of the bag. For example, the feel of a 100lb bag filled with sand would be completely different from a 100lb bag filled with feathers.
There are typically three types of filling:
- Hard Fill - Shredded fibre with 1" of closed cell foam liner. These are very stiff and hold their shape extremely well. There will not be much 'give' and so will be hardest on your hands and joints.
- Soft Fill - A deeper 2" closed cell foam liner means a lot more 'give'. This lessens the impact on your joints and bones.
- Water Filled - A very different feel to your workouts. These are a bit easier on your joints but hold their shape in a similar way to the hard fill. Human bodies are mostly water so the vibration is very similar.
Ultimately the choice of filling is down to your personal preference with consideration to the limitations of your own body. For strengthening your joints and bones you will want a harder fill.
Covering - Canvas, Vinyl or Leather?
Leather is the gold standard for bag materials. It is durable, has a great look and feel, and will outlast you. If properly cared for it will not tear or crack.
Canvas bags are equally durable however I find they are punishing on the gloves. The bag may last forever but your gloves will be scuffed up in no time.
Vinyl is the cheapest material. Bag made of this will wear out with frequent use forcing you to buy again. "Buy cheap, buy twice" really does apply with vinyl bags.
Hanging Your Bag - How should you fix the bag?
The ultimate is to hang the bag from the ceiling however there is a lot to consider. Firstly, is your ceiling up to the job of having 100lbs+ of heavy bag hanging from it. Even if it can take the weight when static you must consider the extra force from you hitting it. Many a fighter has ripped a hole in their ceiling with an incorrectly hung bag.
If you have a garage or basement you could mount it to a wall mounted bag frame. Strong, sturdy anchors driven into the masonry should provide a good enough fixing for a heavy bag. I would recommend a heavy bag spring between the mount and chains. The vibration generated from hitting the heavy bag is massive and unless you want your whole house (and the neighbours) to vibrate, you will want the spring to damp out some of this vibration.
Hanging the bag is preferable to a wall mount. It will allow you to move around the bag 360 degrees which helps to improve your footwork. A heavy bag stand does not allow the same degree of movement. It is however still better than nothing.
You will need enough space around the bag so that you can move around it comfortably whilst it swings back and forth. You want to be just out of punching range when at the closet approach of its arc.
Chains or Straps
This does not matter so much as long as they are up to the job. Chains normally attach to a swivel and then onto the mount. This allows the bag to spin freely. With straps, you may need to wait for the bag to untwist after it has been spun in one direction.
Chains are normally standard for higher end bags and you will not be disappointed if you go for this option.
Filled or Unfilled
If you are buying the bag filled then you have a hassle-free experience but expensive shipping. If you buy an unfilled bag then you will save on shipping costs but you will need to fill it yourself.
Avoid using sand as it compresses down and eventually is like hitting a rock. Instead, you could use rubber mulch, foam, wood pellets, rice, rags pushed in around a PVC pipe filled with sand (for the added weight), beans, dry peas etc.. You will need a 2" foam to wrap around it. Some bags have zippers to allow easy filling.
Don't leave it hanging all the time. Eventually, the filler will settle and you will find your bag becomes harder at the bottom than the top. Take the bag down frequently and roll it around on the floor. This helps the filling to distribute evenly.
Don't leave the heavy bag outside all the time, damp could cause the bag to rot, heat will dry out the leather and cause it to crack. If you want to use it outside that's fine but make sure you take it down and store it inside.
First, determine what you will be using your bag for. Martial Arts require a larger bag than boxing due to the wider range of targets possible.
Your size, weight, and power will determine the weight of the bag you go for.
Your physical limitations and preference will determine the filling.
Then you need to consider if your placement and mounting will support the bag you want.
You can shop our range of Heavy Punchbags. If you use discount code HEAVYHITTERS at checkout you will get 10% off.