Fitness

Try these Best Punching Bag Workouts to Boost Your Fitness

Whether boxing is your favorite go-to type of exercise or you just like to put on your gloves and do a few rounds of jabs and hooks every so often at the gym, chances are you’re well-acquainted with a punching bag, or heavy bag. Punching bag workouts are certainly a staple for any boxer, but even everyday athletes and guys just looking to get fit can benefit from a good heavy bag workout.

However, unless you have training in boxing, have taken boxing classes, or use guided boxing workouts, it can be hard to know what to do besides throwing a few stiff punches and quick jabs at the punching bag. How do you put together a whole punching bag workout? What sorts of boxing moves and drills can you string together to make you a better boxer, burn calories, or improve your fitness? What is the best punching bag workout for beginners? Below, you’ll find answers to these questions with several of the best punching bag workouts so you can step up to the heavy bag with confidence that you’re going to break and sweat and look like you’re well on your way to becoming a champion fighter.

What Is a Punching Bag?

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Punching bags and heavy bags may refer to slightly different things, but they are similar. A heavy bag is typically a 50-150-pound cylindrical bag that hangs from the ceiling used for punching, kicking, and practicing boxing moves. A punching bag is a broader term that can encompass heavy bags as well as free-standing weighted punching bags. Both provide resistance when you strike it, in proportion to their weight and construction. For this reason, punching bag workouts for strengthening and technique are beneficial over shadowboxing.

Benefits of Punching Bag Workouts

Man up close with punching bag.
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Punching bag workouts aren’t just reserved for professional boxers and guys who are hooked on boxing. Even beginners can reap plenty of fitness benefits by giving a punching bag workout a go. The benefits of punching bag workouts go far beyond just strengthening your arms, and include the following:

  • Burning calories and improving overall fitness
  • Improving boxing technique
  • Practicing combos and moves
  • Practicing defense
  • Increasing core stability
  • Building cardiovascular endurance
  • Increasing muscular strength and power
  • Improving coordination and balance
  • Improving agility
  • Practicing footwork
  • Reducing stress and aggression

Best Punching Bag Workouts

man hitting punching bag.
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Ultimately, you can create an infinite number of great punching bag workouts by altering the combos and rounds you string together. The best punching bag workouts usually are aimed at one specific goal, such as practicing new combos for beginners, building endurance, or improving fitness in a HIIT-style workout. Below, we share one of each.

Best Punching Bag Workout for Beginners

This 30-minute workout is a perfect way for beginner boxers to practice different punches, work on technique and accuracy, develop coordination, and improve overall fitness.

  • Warm-up (5 minutes): 2 minutes of jumping rope, 1 minute of jumping jacks, 2 minutes of jumping rope. Then complete two rounds of the following:
  • Round 1 Around-the-World Jabs (3 minutes): Move back and forth all the way around the bag as you throw alternating right and left jabs.
  • Round 2 Build-Ups (3 minutes): Cycle through right and left rounds of the following:
    • Jab
    • Jab, cross
    • Jab, cross, hook
    • Jab, cross, hook, cross
  • Round 3 Alternating Combos (3 minutes): The first combo should be completed with your rear hand:
  • The second combo should be performed with your lead hand:
    • Jab
    • Lead hook
    • Cross (this is the exception; use your rear hand to cross)
  • Round 4 Speedy Straight Punches (2 minutes): Get your heart rate up by alternating fast, straight punches at the bag.
  • Cooldown: 3 minutes of stretching

Best Endurance Punching Bag Workout

man boxing with a punching bag.
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This 30-minute punching bag workout will build your stamina while honing your boxing technique and improving your overall fitness. After the warm-up, all rounds are two minutes.

  • Warm-up (5 minutes): 2 minutes of jumping rope, 1 minute high knees, 2 minutes of jumping rope. Then complete two rounds of the following:
  • Round 1: Cycles of 10 cross punches with your dominant side, 10 cross punches with your non-dominant side.
  • Round 2: Dominant side cycles of
    • Lunge
    • Jab and kick
    • Jab, jab, power punch
  • Round 3: Non-dominant side cycles of
    • Lunge
    • Jab and kick
    • Jab, jab, power punch
  • Round 4: Cycles of
    • 10 burpees
    • Right uppercut, jab, jab, hook, cross
    • Bob and weave
    • Left uppercut, jab, jab, hook, cross
  • Round 5: Cycles of 
    • 10 reps of right side-kicks]
    • 30 straight punches
    • 10 reps of left side-kicks
    • 30 straight punches
  • Round 6: All-out alternating power punches
  • Cooldown stretch.

Best HIIT Punching Bag Workout

This 20-minute metabolic-conditioning workout will torch calories and get your heart pounding.

  • Warm-up: 2 minutes of jumping rope.

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, and then rest 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Complete five rounds of the circuit.

  • Round 1: Straight, powerful punches using a right-left-left-right combo.
  • Round 2: Burpees
  • Round 3: Cycles of one right kick, one left kick, three right kicks, three left kicks.
  • Round 4: High knees sprinting
  • Round 5: Cycles of:
    • Jab, cross
    • Uppercut
    • Cross, hook
    • Uppercut
    • Hook, cross
    • Uppercut
  • Round 6: Push-ups with alternate shoulder taps
  • Cooldown stretch.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Punching Bag Workouts

man kneeing a punching bag.
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  1. Properly wrap your hands to protect your knuckles.
  2. Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after each workout.
  3. Practice your footwork by moving around the bag with each drill rather than standing in the same relative area.
  4. Focus on form, speed, and accuracy when striking the punching bag.
  5. Remember to breathe, fighting the tendency to hold your breath.

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