Random Training Notes 16: Heavy Bag Tips

  • Move the bag where you want it to go, don’t stay flat-footed or let it move you
  • Hit it as it approaches and as it moves away
  • Karate etc. folks: forget the stances and think about mobility, forget the pull back unless there is something to actually grab
  • Work the bag at different ranges and heights. Think about 3-5 strike combinations that move up and down the bag at face and torso heights
  • Explore close range hooks, uppercuts, elbows and knees. Your vocabulary can include more than straight punches or swings
  • Avoid throwing swings- get close enough for hooks to stay tight, or be far enough that you can extend the arm 3/4 before impact
  • Explore hitting the bag at non-optimal ranges and angles to simulate non-optimal conditions
  • After each strike return to a guard that allows you to protect your face. Be watchful of the tendency to drop the hands after strikes
  • Strike ballistically. Let the shoulders move faster than the hips. Motivate the strike from the shoulder, don’t tie it to the slower movement of the torso
  • When going for impact, a higher-pitched ‘smack’ is a good sign, dull thuds are a sign of lower velocity
  • Follow through is important, but do not adopt the habit of pushing into the bag
  • A good round kick should fold the bag, not just bump into it
  • Front kicks may land with more force if you use the heel instead of the ball of the foot
  • If you train with a group that questions the need to ever hit things, spend some time hitting the bag and see how you do. All the air-punching in the world doesn’t do much for teaching one how to hit hard. Somewhere along the way this became a controversial idea in some circles
  • If you train on the bag hard and heavy quite frequently, consider giving your arms and shoulders a break by incorporating 1-2 week recovery periods and investing time into regular stretching for the pectorals, biceps, triceps, lats, trapezius, rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles

Related posts and info:

Getting More Out of Your Heavy Bag

Power Hitting Training Tips

Rotator Cuff Injury Prevention Tips


6 responses to “Random Training Notes 16: Heavy Bag Tips

  1. I like this.

  2. Pingback: Stretching for Strikers « TKRIblog

  3. Pingback: Heavy Bag Tips | Zanshin Kai Scotland

  4. Pingback: Great Training Tips « martialartsequipmentandgi

  5. Would you have any advice on buying a bag? I came across this site but just wanted to check your opinion: Heavybag HQ

    • Hi Terrance,

      The various types of bag listed on that link all look good to me. Think about what your goals for training with the bag are and purchase accordingly. If you want to work on speed, reactivity and anticipation, go with the double end and speed bags. The hanging heavy bag is good general striking use, although pay attention to the covering- cheap vinyl tears quickly, cheap canvas can tear your skin up with a quickness. the various angle and tear drop bags are good for close range uppercuts, shovel hooks, etc. The long “banana” bags are ideal for working on lower limb strikes and increasing overall resistance to your strikes. I’m not personally a big fan of the “wave master” type bags on a stand, although they are excellent to use for clinching and kneeing drills (pull them onto one side). Good luck!

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