T Nation

Heavy Bag for HIIT

I’d like to start this by saying I know very little to nothing about boxing or organized fighting. So if I seem like I don’t know what I’m talking about thats why, I would appreciate not giving me shit if I ask a dumb quesiton which I intend to do. Anyways…

I’m entertaining the idea of using the heavy bag for intervals as my HIIT at the end of my workouts. I am limited in my options due to health issues, and the heavy bag and the rower are about it (I could prlly figure out a few more.) Anwyays here are my questions

  1. Most importantly will this cause any issues down the line (fucked up wrists, etc) that will interfere with my training? LIke I said I’m doing this for interval training, not to get better at boxing so if it hurts my lifting it defeats the purpose.

  2. This is the dumb one. How much is the bag supposed to move when you hit it? I mean I’ve seen videos of guys wailing on a bag and it barely moves, and I’m doing a 4 punch combo and the last hit is sending it a couple feet away. ANyways this fucks up the rythm I’m trying to get in for the purpose of HIIT. Could it just be a light bag? Or is there a way to avoid this?

  3. I’m an idiot and just wrapped my hands/wrists with athletic tape today to try out the bag. I don’t have gloves and obviously will need them if I am going to use this. ANy advice on which ones to get or things to look for? Like I said I’m not trying to get into boxing or anything so cheap is good as long as it doesn’t tear up right away

Thanks alot

There are many guys with more boxing experience than me on here. Hopefully one of them will speak up and give you better advice than me. For now I would say that if you haven’t had any proper coaching on how to hit a bag properly the likelihood of hurting your hands/wrists is pretty darn high. It’s not rocket surgery or anything, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.

If you just start unloading on a bag without knowing what’s what you are asking for trouble. This becomes even more likely if you are trying to do it HIIT style as your pace will likely be frantic and your form sloppy at best. You may be able to mitigate this by hitting the bag with palm heel strikes as opposed to closed fists. This will protect the bones in your hand and wrist and is generally more idiot proof than making a proper fist.

Failing this proper hand wraps and bag gloves are advisable and are not very expensive. You will still need to hit the bag with proper hand/wrist alignment though.

If the bag is swinging around a lot you are not hitting the bag, you are pushing it. You should hear a quick, sharp smack when you hit the bag as opposed to a dull thud. You still want to hit “through” the bag as opposed to slapping the surface, but not so far through that you turn it into a push. This is to do with hand speed, “snap” and proper distancing among other things.

Lots of guys push their punches when they are think they are hitting hard. This is all stuff you cannot really teach over the internet, so I’m not going to try even if I were qualified, which I’m not. There are books and online resources available of course, but they don’t really replace a coach, IMO, especially if you have any interest in including footwork, head movement and other cool, important boxing things that would really enhance your bag work. I realize that you’re not into boxing per se so you’re not going to pay for instruction.

Not much info there, but I hope you find something of use.

That was def enough info for me. Yeah lifting is my thing so I don’t want to get an instructor. I did notice when my hands or wrists were out of alignment and thats why I asked that first question. If I sprain my wrist doing it I’ll be pissed. Kinda seems like its not really or me, which is a shame cause that’s the first time I enjoyed “cardio” in a long time. Besides beating on the bag was def a good stress reliever… If anyone else has any other advice I would def like to hear it though

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:

  1. Most importantly will this cause any issues down the line (fucked up wrists, etc) that will interfere with my training? LIke I said I’m doing this for interval training, not to get better at boxing so if it hurts my lifting it defeats the purpose.
    [/quote]

If you hit the bag wrong and sprain your wrist or break your metacarpal then yea, it will. If you wrap your hands properly and use 16 oz. gloves, you’ll be fine.

Like the chicks that do cardio kickboxing. Same shit.

It’s either a really light bag or you’re pushing your punches. If it’s a 70 - 100 lber. you shouldn’t be having that problem, so you’re likely pushing your punches. Explaining how to snap your punches over the internet to someone not really interested in learning to box is a waste of time, so I’ll just say “Don’t worry about it.”

[quote]
3) I’m an idiot and just wrapped my hands/wrists with athletic tape today to try out the bag. I don’t have gloves and obviously will need them if I am going to use this. ANy advice on which ones to get or things to look for? Like I said I’m not trying to get into boxing or anything so cheap is good as long as it doesn’t tear up right away

Thanks alot [/quote]

Don’t use athletic tape. Get yourself a 180" pair of Title Mexican-style handwraps and have someone who knows how show you how to wrap them up right.

Then buy these:
http://store.titleboxing.com/title-super-bag-gloves.html

No more expensive than the Everlast pieces of shit you’ll find in Sports Authority but they’ll last you a million times longer and protect your hands far better.

I actually get what you guys mean when you say not to push the punhes and the snap that you’re talking about. Atleast I’m pretty sure I do haha. Thanks for the links to the gloves btw. If this isn’t that risky or bad on my wrists I am def gonna consider using this as my HIIT for the time being. Also a pretty damn good stress reliever haha

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I actually get what you guys mean when you say not to push the punhes and the snap that you’re talking about. Atleast I’m pretty sure I do haha. Thanks for the links to the gloves btw. If this isn’t that risky or bad on my wrists I am def gonna consider using this as my HIIT for the time being. Also a pretty damn good stress reliever haha [/quote]

Just try to hit fast, not hard. Your wrists will thank you.

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I actually get what you guys mean when you say not to push the punhes and the snap that you’re talking about. Atleast I’m pretty sure I do haha. Thanks for the links to the gloves btw. If this isn’t that risky or bad on my wrists I am def gonna consider using this as my HIIT for the time being. Also a pretty damn good stress reliever haha [/quote]

Hitting shit is awesome. I highly recommend it to anyone.

I agree that hitting the heavy bag can be great fun and a great option for HIIT. I also agree that you should get yourself a pair of 180" hand wraps and learn how to wrap your hands properly (there are some good tutorials on youtube) and get yourself a decent pair of 16 oz gloves. That should solve the problem of potentially damaging your metacarpals).

However, I actually disagree about not wanting to push your punches (at least in the initial stages of learning) as pushing the heavy bag (in a punching motion) is one of the fastest ways to teach your body about the correct leverage and body positioning necessary for being able to punch effectively.

My suggestion would be:

  1. learn how to make a proper fist-open your hand all the way, then bring your fingers together (still open), then curl just your fingers (your third finger section should now to pressed against your first finger section), next curl your fingers completely down into your palm (the nail side of the third section should now be pressed firmly against your palm), and finally take the side of your thumb which is closest to your pointer finger and press it into the side of the second index finger joint (your thumb should form a roughly 45 degree angle to your fingers). This is the tightest fist you are going to be able to make and placing the thumb at an angle rather than straight across your fingers (usually stopping at your middle finger, like you see pictured in a lot of fist logos) activates the flexor pollicis and adductor pollicis which help to stabilize the wrist joint. In fact, if you do this right you should actually find it difficult to flex your wrist joint.

  2. Take your properly formed fist, place either the index and middle or middle and ring knuckles against the heavy bag. Now straighten your wrist (which again should be pretty easy if you made your fist correctly) and then attempt to press/push the heavy bag out to full arm’s extension. Not only will this force you to be right dead center of the bag (or else it will spin off either side), but it will also teach you how you have to position your legs, torso, and to what degree you need to rotate to maintain maximal leverage. This can be repeated for any punch theoretically (jab, straight right, hook, upper cut to the body, back fist, etc…). First try from somewhere around a half way extended punch and then right from your fighting stance. Once you understand the correct mechanics, then just add speed to the movement and you’ll be punching relatively well in a relatively short period of time.

Also, I disagree that the bag moving around means that you are pushing your punches. If you are going for quick “economy” punch combinations then yeah, it’s probably not gonna move much. If on the other hand you are throwing power punch combinations or throwing the occasional power punches into your combos then the bag should be moving around.

One fun drill that is also great for conditioning and learning to hit the bag squarely/accurately is to attempt to keep the bag elevated/on an angle for at least 2 of the 3 minutes of each round. Now, obviously this works best with straight punches, but it can be adapted to using hooks too (you’ll just have to throw multiple punches with one arm before letting the bag swing back to the other side and switching hands).

Good luck

First of all, I love heavy bag HIIT.
To answer your questions,

  1. Use the hand wraps every time you workout. It would suck to have your knuckles peel like potatoes and sprain your wrist with a bad punch. As long as you have wraps, your chances of injury should be low. Try to wrap for wrist stability more than knuckle protection once you get gloves.

  2. Like many of the people above has said, a punch should be light and sharp. Imagine one of those asian movies where they like dig their hands in hot sand and take it out to build speed. That should be the kind of punches you throw, hit and retract, hit and retract. The “rhythm” you’re talking about comes with practice. Try to move your feet and slightly sway your body back and forth to follow the bag. Don’t punch the bag on its way back because that’ll increase wrist injuries.

  3. First gloves I bought is the everlast heavy bag gloves. It was like 15 or 20 bucks and I still use them. It’s great gloves to start with.

Good luck

There is a lot of good advice in this thread.

Wrapping your hands:

Batman & Irish’s advice is spot on there. I disagree slightly with Younjs. He’s right about wrist stability being very important, but there are a lot of small bones in the hand, and how you wrap the portion of the hand between the bottom of your knuckles and the top of your wrist is the most important thing in my opinion. These bones are relatively fragile, and put under a lot of stress, particularly if you are a heavier guy. There is a reason they call a break of these bones a ‘boxer’s fracture’. Learn how to wrap to protect the WHOLE HAND.

Gloves:

Again, Irish is on the money. Title stuff is great quality and durable as hell.

Bag:

Don’t work it too much or too hard without wraps and gloves, you will hurt yourself.

As far as the swinging is concerned, I’m with Sento on this. Bag swinging is not necessarily a bad thing. As Irish and one or two others point out, snapping your punches is a big part of being an effective and efficient fighter. However, the technique changes a little when you are working body shots. You have to dig more to the body, because it is better protected by the surrounding muscles. The head is a target you are trying to snap back, to make the brain move about. With the body, I always thought about it as actually trying to hit into the body far enough to punch an actual organ. That means following through more with the shot than you would just by snapping punches. Punching like this will make the bag swing around a fair bit if it is less than 130lbs or so. That said, unless you’re Mexican, as a beginner, there is a pretty good chance that as Batman & Irish say, you are pushing your punches. If you’re not looking to be a passable fighter, then just don’t worry about it.

I also disagree that you shouldn’t hit the bag coming in. It is important to be able to catch an opponent coming in on an awkward angle, with momentum behind them. A swinging bag is not a bad way of practising. Ali used to deliberately swing the bag a lot.

As far as ‘cardio’ on the bag is concerned, try running on the spot and throwing short fast punches at the same time, trying to push the bag back and up through volume of punches. Aim for 100 punch bursts, with 10 seconds break after.

I read these before and the recent post by londondboxer reminded me I didn’t reply. Thanks for the great help guys, I’m gonna find a way to fit some heavy bag work in after I get a pair of decent gloves.