T Nation

Any Good Heavy Bag Workouts


I recently got a heavy bag, and am not really sure of what types of punching/kicking workouts to do.

Any sample workouts would be much appreciated.


I'm assuming that you already have some training in how to punch/kick correctly. If you don't, I highly recommend taking a couple classes so you don't inadvertently hurt yourself. Make sure you wear proper hand protection, etc.

For working on endurance, I recommend taking the last 30 seconds of the round and going as many strikes as you can of jab/cross.

Sometimes these are hard to do withough a banana bag (long, Thai-style bag):

Thai kicks, same leg for as many reps as you can (if you can't do many, I like to switch 5 right, 5 left, etc.). The higher, the harder.

One that really gets you working is to throw three kicks, one low, one waist and one head height, same leg, as quickly as you can.

If you have a banana bag (long one that you can throw low-kicks to), I like to grab the bag and throw 30s of knees. I don't recommend this with a regular bag as the sand often settles on the bottom and really packs itself in.


For skill work... Thai Pads, focus mitts, and sparring are what you should stick to.

For conditioning and power

Something I do from time to time...

1 min- Punches
1 min- Kicks
1 min- elbows
1 min- knees

Repeat that 3x no rest. This will not only raise your endurance but it will allow you to practice your techniques at FULL power while still maintaining proper form (if you already have a fairly decent level of endurance and aren't a complete newbie).

Thats only 12 min though

I take another 6-7 rounds of 3min each with Bas Rutten's fighting cd's... he calls out combinations and various calisthenics during the 3 min. During my 1 min rest between rounds I will do one of the following:

  • pullups (1-3, rest, 1-3, rest)
  • sledgehammer strikes
  • short sandbag carries
  • sled drags
  • Hill sprint (if I take a longer rest)
  • Full rest if I need it

I usually quit, when I complete the set # of rounds I'd like to train for or if I'm just run down and my body says no more... I push myself to my limit and then stop at that edge right before my technique goes to COMPLETE shit.

Then I like to take 5lb dumbbell or plates and hold them out in front of me or laterally in static positions and hold that for 2-3min in each position.

or take 50lb dumbbells and hold them in a shrugged position for a few sets of 1-2min.

I find that when I repeat my bagwork I can keep my arms up longer.

My legs are never really tired, I haven't had that issue yet, if that was the issue though, I would do something like 30s free squats, 30s jumprope... Use conditioning exercises that you don't neccessarily care about your motor patterns getting sloppy to raise your conditioning...

Mind you all of this is INTENSE and LONG, and I built up to it from 1min rounds with rest...then 2min rounds with 2min rest... then eventually cut down.

Start a level you KNOW you can finish with moderate difficulty, then progressively make it harder. Challenge yourself but don't break yourself. If you're discouraged and stay out of the gym for a week because of it...thats a week you can NEVER get back.

I would only really do this once or twice a week, the rest of the time I'd work on technique or do my conditioning via other mechanisms (bodyweight, sandbag, etc).

Good luck... when you can fully perform this you'll have a gas tank thats not to be f'd with.


Our coach puts us on a timer for 10, 3 minute rounds with a 45 second rest period between rounds. The first two and a half minutes being controlled combinations and the last thirty seconds of every round being rapid succession. It will get you sweating.


I agree with this our trainer does the same except with 30 sec rest intervals and more rounds... Do 3 minutes of just left hand punches and then rest, then 3 minutes of right hand punches, rest and then both hands... WILL KILL your arms!!!! if to easy do another set!!!


You could also buy Bas Rutten's workout tapes. They rule.



Someone mentioned knees. My instructor used to have us grab the chains that the bag is hanging from (this all depends on your height) and fire away with your knees to the sides of the bag. This doesn't completely simulate a clinch, but it's close enough with a heavy bag.

Also elbows, an extremely effective close range tool. Jab, cross, elbow. Jab, cross, hook, elbow. Just change it up and remember to go with the flow, do what feels natural, because in a fight-you're going to be relying on instinct and impulse, not some long drawn out combos. That being said, effective combos can BECOME second nature


Also, you can

1) take the bag off the chain and go outside. Bear hug it, run, do squats, hold it like a baby, run, lunges, etc. (if you can do this with a 150-200+ lb. bag you are my hero)

2) drop the bag on the ground and work on GnP tactics.

3) suplex the bag, etc.

A heavy bag can be a very handy training tool for multiple disciplines.


I'll have to second the Bas Rutten cd recommendation. We sometimes use them for heavy bag work and shadow boxing as well.




The second link is really good.


What kind of bag? Long, for Muay Thai? Or a shorter one?

I used to do workouts for technique and workouts for comditioning.

Practice throwing each individual kick or punch, then combinations. Then movement with technique and combinations.

Also if you got a Thai Bag then just practive throwing kick after kick, to condition and make sure you get throw with perfect technique. I remember when I was a child I had to kick a very hard 100 kg thai bag several hundred times with each leg. Also those hanging sand bags 500 each leg. Used to have purple shins. Ha ha ha good memories.