T Nation

Weight of punching bag?

I’m looking into getting a heavy bag, but didn’t realize there were different weights. Most common I see is 100lb, but there are also lighter and heavier. What’s a good one to go with for a novice?

It really depends upon what you are planning to work with it. Most guys will work with varying weight bags, with a bag in the 70-100 pound range getting the jest of the abuse. But I get the feeling these guys have a partner to work with to. If its your first bag you are not going to get a semi-pro or pro bag I am assuming, so you are pretty much relegated to a sub 120 pound bag. I purchased a 100 pound syn. leather Everlast bag awhile back for $150. I am more or less satisfied with my purchase, but because I have no one to work with its usefulness is limited. I am currently focusing on single straight blast from varying positions, and for the most part hitting the bag anywhere above waist level results in lifting it from the chains.

What ever you do don’t get too heavy or you’ll hurt your hands. You want something that isn’t so light it flies around.

You don’t need a partner just work the bag to kill the momentum of the swing. Bags are excellent for developing your punch power and for practicing your combinations as well as conditioning.

Don’t lose your defensive focus when working the bag, always treat it as though you would a ‘live’ opponent. This tends to happen when you start really hammering the shots in but it’ll lead you into bad habits.

If you want a bag size recommendation then you’ll need to give some stats on your size. The bigger you are, the bigger the bag.

But a hundred pound bag would do for most. If you can, get a water bag as these are better for your hands.

Do you study fighting or are you just hitting the bag for some exercise? Get a bag with a floor tether if you want it to stay put. Water and gel bags are more like hitting flesh. Downside to liquid bags is they are messy if they break (good luck doing that, I have only seen one person do it) Sand bags are good because they calcify your knuckles. A downside is if you have weak bones or a nutrient deficient diet, you can get some really bad bone splints. Foam filled, water based, tae-bo bags suck! Do not use them. I break one a weak at the gym I go to (they really love it when I go in to practice my punches) Many downsides to these. The foam dissintegrates when you hit it too many times. They are easy to push over and make a big mess when you do. Did I mention the plastic core snaps like a twig if you have a strong punch?
Don’t use bag gloves, they are for pansy, metrosexual, tae-bo people.

Is the bag mainly for punching or are you kicking a lot as well?

The few times I do some bagwork I mainly kick and I find it annoying if the bag is too light, it swings around way too much.

Well, I have no formal fight training. The furthest I plan on going is probably reading up on some techniques and trying them out. I’m 6’4 205lb at the moment. Bulking as hard as I can.

why would you tell someone not to use bag gloves? if their hands aren’t conditioned, they are going to fuck up their hands as well as their wrists if they don’t know to keep their arms straight while throwing hooks and jabs.

it’ll be much harder to calcify your knuckles after your hand has been in a cast for 6 weeks. Go to ringside.com-they have awesome reliable equipment, good information and good prices. if you want to toughen up your hands get something called an iron claw bag. Or grab a bucket fill it up with smooth pebbles and with gravity pushing only - land your fists (alternating) in the pebbles for 15 minutes a day.

That’s true, beAman, but you’ve gotta condition your hands somehow. Gloves weaken your actual punch. Plus if they are cheep gloves, you may be more at risk for injury. A suggestion to prevent hand/wrist damage would be to learn to punch before going postal on a bag.

What a load of crap!
You should always wear gloves on the bags. You only get one set of hands and you are going to be dishing out alot of punishment with them. People with ‘conditioned’ hands still break their hand just as easily as someone with no conditioning when they punch someone full power to the jaw.
One of the easiest most effective ways to protect your hands is with decent gloves.
Now a bag is more forgiving than someones head but can still cause you damage. Correct punching technique is vital, you should always aim to strike the target with your first two knuckles. This will ensure the force of the blow travels along your forearm and your wrist doesn’t hyperflex, which besides breaking the bones in your hand is the most common type of injury for a striker. Wrist wraps can help alot but don’t get over reliant on them, you need to strengthen up your forearms.

Get as heavy as you can. This prevents sway. Go to ringside.com and get the super bag gloves. Adds almost the same amount of weight fight gloves will have and provides the best hand support. If you work a heavy bag long enough you WILL get some hand problems if you aren’t smart. Your hands have a shit-ton of very small bones and with every punch you put more stress on them.


I with Creed on this one.

I spent 8 years in structured MAs and have continued to work out with my heavy bag(s) the last 14 years as part of my fitness regimen.
Unless your training for some sort of bare knuckle insanity get some hand protection. At bare minimum get a set of hand wraps to help stabilize your wrist, knuckles and provide a little protection. There are even some lightweight sparring/bag gloves you can use if you wish.

Repeated boxing, no matter the bag weight, without gloves and/or wraps will quickly start you down the road to early arthritis in your hands, elbows and shoulders. I’ve even seen some folks with nerve damage from too much knuckle busting.

Professional and serious amateur boxers always train and hit with some sort of protection, the bare knuckle stuff is for HBO promos and drunken bar fights.

As for the weight of the bag, at your size I would say 100# is plenty. They are easy to find pretty cheap and all mine have been second hand through the classifieds and places like ‘play it again sports’ re-sellers. Why spend a ton on your first bag if it turns out to be too heavy or too light for you?

Take it easy at first and let your joints get used to it. Just cause you can slug away for 20 minutes your first day doesn’t mean you should. I’ve seen folks wreck themselves for weeks with sore shoulders and wrists 'cause the first time was “so easy”.

Take care and have fun with it.


I’m with the majority on gloves; I will start out with bareknuckle punching, work with gloves after a brief period of bareknuckle work, and eventually strike with an open hand. I find it alot easier to channel full force with an open hand. I would tie down the lower portion of my bag to prevent movement, but then my crap stand would fall over…stand pisses me off because of the way its supports are set-up; they are just enough in the way to discourage me from working roundhouses.

Anatomically you should be able to punch harder with a closed fist than you can with an open hand. You need to work your punch technique, maybe take up boxing.

creed’s dead on…use gloves. have you seen guys that have been boxing for several years…especially retired pros??? their hands and wrists for the most part are busted up. look it, there is no reason not to wear gloves when you hit the bag, it’s more specific to the ring. you don’t spar and you don’t fight bareknuckles so no use to train that way.

but even with gloves, your punching technique must be sound, you can still break bones through wraps and gloves if you aren’t paying attention…i have.

I’ve got the arthritis in my right middle finger to prove your point. Caught a guys shin bone with an uppercut (he was trying to do a roundhouse at the same time) and fractured the bone it two places. That was WITH sparring gloves on.

Not using glove is for morons.

And get one as heavy as you can afford and are able to hang.

I have encountered many bags that are too light, but never one too heavy.

I seem to pull my punches when striking below mid bag level with a closed fist. The bag has settled; more or less like punching a bag of sand at and below mid-bag level; hence the open hand strikes. Currently I am independent study in MMA; formal background in shoot wrestling, greco, and a few basic judo throws. I have been commuting for a few years now back and forth to OSU; engineering curriculum plus 30 hour work week plus approx. 6 hours physical training per week plus 10 hours weekly commute leaves little time for formal study. But in the fall I plan on taking up residence on campus and perhaps join a MMA group; the one I am most interested in focus on thai boxing and jujitso and then eventually free form, ie Jeet Kune Do. BTW, an open hand can actually be a very effective weapon. Check out Iron palm.

And for any Thai boxers, or knowledgable person I suppose, how would one go about a weight training regime to increase force production for the muscles utilized in knee techniques. I’m sure its primarily bag work. But, is it a good idea to selectively train hip flexors(psoas) and quadriceps(abduction, adduction)?

Hey creed it dosn’t work for me to hit with my first 2 knuckles. When I hit like that the punch isn’t as solid and it can twist my wrist. When I hit with the last 2 knuckles (little finger and ring finger) the punches are much more powerful and dosn’t hurt my hand. I think that way the force is in direct line with the elbow, hence more power.