Have fun with your punching bag

Have fun while training with your punching bag


A preferred tool for training when you don't have a partner, a punching bag allows you to work on the various skills you need for combat sports (technique, power, endurance, speed, accuracy, etc.). If you don't know how to use it, if you feel limited in your practise, or if you are simply getting bored with your training sessions, these tips could give you a some possibilities to explore.

Have fun... but be safe!

It seems obvious, but it is always useful to say it. There are a few important safety principles to follow before any punching bag training session. First of all, be sure to warm up thoroughly, particularly your joints (wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles…). Then, be sure that you have the necessary protective equipment. A pair of boxing wraps and a pair of gloves or mitts that fit you is a minimum. If you plan on working on your leg technique, you may want shin guards (that will depend on the hardness of your bag as well as your level of training).


Finally, this type of exercise requires a certain level of technique, so we highly recommend getting coached at the beginning, to prevent injury. At the very least, be sure to close your fists at the moment of impact, in order to keep a good wrist alignment during your strike.

Structuring your workout

Hitting a bag with no particular goal can be quickly limiting, even boring. A good principle to adopt to motivate yourself and improve more quickly is to set goals.


Training with a punching bag always requires a certain amount of physical effort. However, it can also be interesting to sometimes focus on your technique, even if that means decreasing your intensity. By identifying your goals before you start your workout, you can more easily choose the exercises that help move you toward your objectives. There is nothing more gratifying than feeling improvement, and this dynamic helps keep you motivated over time.

Structuring your workout

Working on cardio

The bag is an excellent tool for working on your cardio while keeping closely connected to combat sports. The goal here is not to look for power, but rather for speed while trying to maintain a constant pace.


In guard position in front of the bag, the exercise involves striking as many times as possible in a given time. The techniques you use could be punches or kicks. Don't make things complicated - just use a single technique per round in order to optimise the number of strikes (e.g.: left/right jabs).


To build your speed, your movements should be done with a smaller reach, without necessarily engaging your entire body. Similarly, face the bag a bit more directly than if you were in a traditional guard position. Your technique will not be amazing, but that is not necessarily the goal here. Keep in mind that you should kind of "machine gun" your bag in a given period of time. However, try and keep the correct guard throughout the exercise and avoid dropping your arms. Last tip: keep breathing throughout your set, you'll need it!


One variant of the exercise is to place the bag on the ground and straddle it (“ground and pound” position). Similarly, the goal is to complete a set of left/right jabs as quickly as possible. The feelings will be different from this standing position, and that will provide some variety for your workouts.


If you want to make your workout even more complicated, add in some sets of burpees or mountain climbers for guaranteed results!

Work on power

A great way to let off steam, the bag can absorb your most powerful strikes without flinching. Start by identifying a few sequences that feel natural to you, then don't hold back. A little tip is not to focus on the surface of the bag, but rather to try to punch through it. Another important point: power is, above all, about good technique. Unlike exercises that are purely about cardio, this time you should engage your whole body. Move around the bag the same way you would with a partner. When you feel ready to spring into action, stabilise your stance and strike while being sure to get your guard back up as quickly as possible.


Power requires a good stance, which will make weight transfer and hip work easier. Repeat your sequences at your own pace, while remaining mobile and including a few dodges to get closer to a real combat scenario.

Work on accuracy

Some bags have visual markers that can be used as targets. If yours does not, some adhesive tape will do the job. The principle here is to clearly identify the zones to hit throughout the exercise. Be creative - you have a rich arsenal of techniques, so give yourself a way to use them wisely: jabs, hooks, and uppercuts can all be thrown at the head or the body. Place interesting targets on the bag just as if it were an opponent, and try to aim well while moving around it.


As much as possible, avoid single strikes and move towards sequences of several strikes, which is much closer to real combat.

Develop your technical arsenal

You might sometimes find yourself in front of the bag repeating the same old sequences. One interesting method involves starting a round with a single strike, then gradually adding a new technique at a given frequency (every 30 seconds, for example). Regularly try out new combinations, and identify the techniques that come naturally. When the time comes to add another strike, try to feel what flows naturally from the previous strike. Here, it's all about the feeling. If your technique is fluid and "snaps into place" perfectly with the rest of the sequence, you should be able to memorise it and use it in context without too much difficulty. In any case, do not work like a robot. Keep in constant motion around the bag, and add dodges and feints like you would in a match. At the end of the day, this is the essence: instinctively using what you've practised with a partner or opponent.

A few more tips to wrap up

Nothing beats a good timer for planning your exercises as well as your recovery periods. With the explosion of mobile apps, it is very easy to find one on any platform, including for free (that depends on your requirements in terms of features).


If you want to control the intensity of your workouts more closely, you can always equip yourself with a heart rate monitor during your session. Certain models can even alert you if you exceed a certain number of beats per minute, so that you can readjust the intensity to suit your goals.


The internet is overflowing content about using a punching bag. Feel free to check it out for inspiration and ideas on building your own workout programme. If you have doubts about the quality of the content, opt as much as possible for articles and videos by known practitioners.


Be sure to stretch well at the end of a session and keep hydrated throughout the workout.


And now, go and have fun with your punching bag!

Nicolas, OUTSHOCK Ambassador



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