Boxing Tips

Heavy Bag Workouts Are One of the Best Ways To Relieve Stress (Because of All the Punching)

Allie Flinn

Photo: Stocksy / Daxiao Productions
A heavy bag workout is a boxing- or kickboxing-inspired workout performed with a punching bag, explains Kyle Shneider, vice president of product and programming at TITLE Boxing Club and master trainer at BoxUnion. "The workout consists of throwing punches and kicks on the bag," he says. "You can also mix in calisthenics, HIIT, and strength movements."

Heavy bag workouts come with a host of benefits. Shneider explains that this type of workout is a total body workout because a proper punch or kick engages your whole body, and is cardio and strength blended into one so you'll "break a killer sweat." He adds that it helps release stress, improve your mental clarity, and gives you a sense of catharsis. "There’s nothing like letting your hands fly and feeling your punches connect on the bag," he explains.

"When just getting started in anything, I always recommend lowering the bar in order to build a long-lasting habit," Shneider says. Start with once a week, and then build up to as many as four times a week from there. "However, if you love your first heavy bag workout, there’s no reason why you can’t jump right into it three-to-four times per week," he says.

Many of us aren't going to gyms at the moment—we are working out at home. Considering that, Shneider says you can purchase a heavy bag for your home, and prices range from about $100 to $1,000. BoxUnion offers a freestanding at-home heavy bag ($250) along with a premium bag that costs a little more. Other options: Everlast Powercore Punching Bag ($260) and Century Wavemaster ($180).

Shneider likes to warm up for a heavy bag workout by jumping rope and shadow boxing, along with dynamic stretching and light core work. A safety note: make sure to wrap your hands before getting started, and always punch the heavy bag with boxing gloves on. "I highly recommend taking some time beforehand to learn how to properly throw your punches and/or kicks. "This will enable you to get the most out of your workout and minimize the risk of injury," Shneider says. The biggest mistake he sees beginners make is that they throw their punches with only their arms and upper body. "In actuality, the power and pop on your punches comes from your legs—from the ground up. Every punch should be a full body movement," he says.

Try this beginner heavy bag workout

1. Skill + Drill Round x2

This is a time to focus on the fundamentals, Shneider says. So, really practicing your jab and working on simple combos.

2. Power HIIT Round x2

Lightly punch the bag nonstop for 30 seconds, and then throw nonstop power shots for 30 seconds.

3. Speed HIIT Round x2

Lightly punch the bag nonstop for 30 seconds, and then throw nonstop speed punches for 30 seconds.

4. Explosion Round x2

Work a medium-pace of nonstop punches, throwing in a one- or two-punch explosion power shot, and then go back to a medium-pace of nonstop punches.

Go through two rounds of each number before moving onto the next. There are eight total rounds, and each round is three minutes long. Take one minute of rest between rounds. "If you want the extra challenge, add some calisthenics, HIIT, or strength movements in during the minute of rest. Or, reduce the minute of rest to just 30 seconds," he says.

Beginner boxing moves

If you need to brush up on your boxing techniques (or you don't have a heavy bag yet but are ready to punch), this video will guide you through all the beginner boxing moves and teach you some simple combos.

Advanced boxing moves

And if you've got the basics down, this video will take you through some more challenging combos.

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