I’m sure you’ll agree that a heavy bag must have stability, pound capacity, and constructed of a durable material. That was our top criteria for selecting the best heavy bag. If you want to cut to the chase the Everlast traditional heavy bag scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. The bag weighs 100 pounds and includes a chain attachment which made it easy to hang from a stand or from a secure, reinforced beam.
Top 10 Heavy Bags
Heavy Bag Comparison
Heavy Bag Buying Guide
What is a Heavy Bag?
Boxing and martial arts have been popular in the health and fitness industry for some time now and shows no sign of falling off. Many people use boxing and kick boxing among other things to get into shape and lose weight. Many of the traditional forms of exercise have added elements of these forms of exercise to their routines and it’s not hard to find DVDs that have full boxing workouts.
If you’re just starting out with using boxing as part of your fitness routine, this heavy bag buyer’s guide will be very beneficial to help you understand everything there is to know about these pieces of equipment and how to use them. Once you have this information under your belt, you’ll be able to make a great decision as to the best heavy bag for you and your fitness goals.
Benefits of Using a Heavy Bag
Heavy bag training is used by those who participate in boxing and MMA sports as well as Karate. Even those interested in self defense have utilized a heavy bag for training and gaining power and strength. There are many reasons heavy bags are such a good choice to add to a workout even if you don’t participate in boxing or MMA.
Shapes and tones all over – This is a great way to work all your muscles and when you first start, you may discover muscles you didn’t even know you had!
Increase Muscular endurance – this helps you tire less easily when doing physically taxing work.
Conditions the cardiovascular system – improving heart health is always an objective of someone who starts any kind of exercise program. Using a heavy bag will definitely do that.
Relieves tension and stress – Punching heavy bag is great for anyone who has a high stress job or stressful situations. It is also great for children that may show a lot of aggression. They can instead channel that aggression to the bag and get a workout rather than get into brawls with others.
Increase the strength of tendons, ligaments, and bones – Using a heavy bag is great for your body, inside and out. It’s a great way to get healthy and stay healthy.
The Two Types of Heavy Bags
There are two types of heavy bags available for home use: the free standing heavy bag and the hanging heavy bag. Both are good and do basically the same thing, but there are a few difference between them that can make one a better choice for you than the other.
Hanging Heavy Bag – A hanging heavy bag is a large punching bag that is suspended either from a heavy bag stand or a strong beam in your home or garage. The most important factor in hanging your heavy bag someplace in your home is that it is attached to something that will hold the 70-110 pound weight that is constantly being kicked and punched. If you don’t attach it properly to a support that can easily handle that amount of weight, you could be looking at a major mess if the bag gets ripped out of the ceiling.
A benefit to having the heavy bag hanging in a secured, stable spot is that is won’t move around the room when you’re working out with it like free standing units can. Some things to think about when using the hanging heavy bag is that the vibrations that the bag gets from being used can travel to other parts of your home through the ceiling which can be disruptive to other members of the family.
If your home is an apartment, it could also disturb you neighbors which may not sit well with the apartment management. If you can hang it in a garage and still ensure that it is solidly and securely mounted to a major beam, then that may reduce the vibrations throughout the house somewhat but it still can cause some noise and disruption which will determine when you will be able to use it.
Another option you have with a hanging heavy bag is to hang it from a heavy bag stand. This gives you the same benefit as hanging it from the ceiling but it eliminates the vibrations throughout the ceiling since it is not attached to the house. One issue about a heavy bag stand is that if it is not weighted down enough it can move and slide which can become annoying.
Free Standing Heavy Bag – This type of heavy bag is attached to a base that can be filled with sand or water. Sand will be heavier than water and provides more stability. They are placed on the floor and are good choices for anyone who loves kick boxing workouts. They can weigh anywhere from 200 pounds and above when filled. This is also a great choice for those who don’t have a lot of space to work with or who may not want to attach the heavy bag to the ceiling. Free standing heavy bags are normally adjustable too which works well for people of different heights. Since they are shorter than hanging heavy bags they don’t make good choices for tall target practice. They can be stored away or pushed out of the way when not in use. Some of the free standing heavy bags are shaped like human torsos which make them god for those who want to get used to boxing against a person.
The Weight of Your Heavy Bag
The weight of your heavy bag is an important thing to consider when you are looking for the perfect one for yourself. Make sure, if you’re hanging it from the ceiling, that it does not weigh more than the house construction can safely handle. A heavy bag’s weight is important when it comes to the resistance it provides and the swing. It also plays a part in reducing or increasing the likelihood of injury.
How much swing your heavy bag has is linked to how heavy the bag is. A swinging bag will keep the user alert and active more so than a bag that barely swings. Resistance is more of a personal preference and will vary from person to person. If the bag has more swing to it, this will enable the user to move around more to ensure they are hitting the bag straight. If it’s not swinging as much, the user can apply greater force with their kicks or hits.
Heavy force behind the kicks and punches shifts the heavy bag which makes the user have to improve their footwork to adjust to the movements which are harder to predict. It adds more challenge to the workout rather than punching a bag that stays perfectly still. Power will be different from user to user. In addition, some users will prefer a lot of swing while others will find it much more difficult to use. A lot of it will be what you prefer but there are plenty of ways to make sure that your bag provides what you’re looking for.
A Heavy Bag’s Filling and Covering
The quality of the heavy bag you choose will vary according to the material that it’s made of so you want to be sure that you’re only looking at those that are made of high quality, durable materials. The two major factors to consider in regards to the materials your heavy bag is made of are the filling and the cover.
The Filling in Your Heavy Bag – The type of filling a heavy bag has will determine how stiff the bag is overall. It will also affect how well the bag maintains it shape and lastly, it affects how it will affect the body of the user. As a general rule, if the user is more experienced and advanced, and wants to increase their hitting strength they will want a harder bag and if they are a beginner or average user they may prefer a softer bag.
The most common material for heavy bag filling is fiber-fill. You can sometimes find them filled with water as well. Water filled heavy bags give the user a more human feel to it and that can be much more beneficial for those using the bag as practice for boxing or martial arts. Water filled bags also have less injuries to the hands and feet associated with them than fiber-fill heavy bags. In addition to water and fiber-fill, bags can be filled with sand, sawdust and grain. Out of the last three filling choices, sand is the hardest and can handle heavier punches and kicks while reducing swing. Sawdust filled bags will generally be the lightest and don’t put a lot of strain on the body when being used. Grain filled heavy bags will have more swing when kicked and provide extra absorption for energy when punched.
What will determine the right heavy bag for you is what your fitness goals are. If you are using the bag as a means of practice for boxing and/or martial arts then you will want to get a bag that improves your kicks, punches and foot work too. Know what you want to use the heavy bag to accomplish before you purchase one and you won’t end up frustrated by having a bag that doesn’t fit your needs.
The Covering of your Heavy Bag
There are several materials that are used to cover a heavy bag. Canvas, leather, vinyl, and a composite material called Nevatear. The most long lasting and durable of all these materials will be leather. A good quality leather heavy bag could very well outlast the user! They don’t crack or tear and with the right care you can have them for a lifetime.
Canvas is another higher quality material for a heavy bag. Unless it is cut with scissors or a knife, canvas is almost impossible to just tear or rip. Vinyl bags are the least expensive and also the worst when it comes to long lasting durability. With a lot of kicking and punching it is certain you will have to replace it several times.
Is Buying a Filled Bag or Unfilled Bag Better?
If you want to save money, buying a bag that is not filled is a way to do that. It will be a lot less expensive to ship due to the MUCH lighter weight. If you get free shipping, this is not going to be an issue, but if the heavy bag you choose is not offering this option, opting for an unfilled bag that you fill once you get it is an option.
You can fill your heavy bag with:
- Rubber mulch
- Wood pellets
- Rags pushed in tightly
- Maple peas
- Dried beans or peas
- Water (only if you have purchased one meant to be filled with water)
- Grain or seeds
Filling the Bag Properly
Using sand in the bottom of the bag helps it keep its shape and also gives the bag some weight. One you have done that, fill the out wall of the heavy bag with shredded cloth. It doesn’t matter what kind of cloth you use. Be certain to pack it tightly so the bag has the right shape. Tightly packed cloth will still have some give, so pack it as tightly as you can while still maintaining the shape without being lumpy or soft. If you’re using one of the other materials, you can fill the bag until it is firm and maintains the proper shape.
Safety Considerations to Remember
Boxing and Martial Arts can be dangerous especially if a beginner jumps in without the proper gear or knowledge. The same is true for using a heavy bag. Be sure to follow the tips below to ensure the safest workout you can.
- The Weight of the Bag – As a general rule, make sure that the heavy bag you choose is lighter than the person or people who will be using it. Go for a bag that is about half of your weight. (Or half the weight of the user.) So if the user weighs 250 pounds, they should look for a bag that weighs around 125 pounds or a little heavier.
- Make sure that the bag is weighted properly, especially for those who can deliver a strong punch. An ill-weighted bag can affect not only the power of the punch but can injure a wrist or hand as well.
- Before using any heavy bag, whether hanging or free standing be certain you have done a proper warm up with stretches.
- Make sure there is plenty of room all the way around the bag when punching and kicking to prevent punching or kicking the wall or doorway accidentally. Doorways are terrible places to hang heavy bags.
- If you have to move the bag to use it, be sure to move it properly to avoid back injury
- Wear the proper gear, especially boxing gloves. Punching the heavy bag with bare hands can cause burns and cuts on your hands.
- When using it for kicks, be sure that no one else is within kicking range, especially children.
Does Brand Name Matter?
The short answer is no, not really, but what typically is the case is that the better brands create the higher quality heavy bags. You need to pay attention to the materials used to make the bag and look at how it is constructed. A high quality lesser known brand heavy bag is better to purchase than a higher cost, popular brand name that doesn’t seem to be put together very well.
Putting Your Heavy Bag Outside
You can hang a heavy bag outside, however when this is done, it makes the bag subject to the elements which can affect it in different ways. If it’s in the sun directly leather or canvas can dry out and deteriorate, as will vinyl. If it rains a lot where you live the bag will inevitably get wet and will rot in time. The best way to deal with having your heavy bag outside is to keep it covered with something that will keep the elements from getting to it and uncovering it for use.
Maintaining the Condition of Your Heavy Bag
If you want to have your heavy bag last as long as possible, be sure to give it the TLC that will ensure that. For a hanging bag, be sure to take it down periodically and roll it to even out the filling. Not doing this can result in a settling of the contents which will make it misshapen and uneven when punched and kicked. If you have a leather bag, treat the leather to keep it in great condition. Leather that is taken care of will last a lifetime.
Chains or Straps to Hang Your Bag?
Hanging bags come with either chains to hang them with or straps. One is not really better than another but most people prefer the chains due to the swivel they are mounted on which allows the bag to spin (like it would after a kick) and then unravel without getting tangled at all. It seems to be very prevalent that the higher quality bags have chains on top for hanging.
Trying Them Out before Ordering
Ordering heavy bags online will provide some great prices and deals, but if there is a way for you to do it, try out a few different styles before you choose one. If you have a fitness center that offers heavy bag exercises, go and try them out and ask questions as to what they are filled with etc. Also take note of the brand name if you really like it.
It may not be possible to get your hands on one before ordering but if you check around you may be able to find fitness centers or martial arts studios that will be happy to let you check out their bags and see what type you prefer.
Learn the Right Techniques to Avoid Injury
If you are new to using a heavy bag it is imperative that you learn the proper way to use it to avoid injuring yourself. Most people don’t take the time or feel they have the time to learn how to use the bag properly but this is what causes them to hurt themselves and then give it up. Take the time to take a class or two from a professional instructor or get DVDs, watch online videos or some other form of training on how to use your heavy bag. Proper punching techniques are important to ensure no permanent damage is done to the elbows, wrists and hands.
The information contained in this heavy bag buyer’s guide will help you learn the difference between the types of bags, how to hang them, how to choose between the different types available, how to choose the weight you need, and many other valuable pieces of information that will enable you to make a choice on a heavy bag that will meet your fitness goals and need, as well as the needs and requirements you have for space, budget and more.
Once you have all this under your belt, you’re ready to find that perfect heavy bag that can last you years while providing you with an excellent workout.