10 Heavy Bag Tips

As you get serious about your boxing training, practice these 10 heavy bag tips for safe and effective training. The heavy bag is a classic tool of boxing training, and for good reason.

  1. Don't wrap your hands. You will want to wrap up for bouts and sparring, but bag work with wrapped hands builds bad form. It's better to punch with gloves only, which forces you to punch the heavy bag correctly while building up strength in your wrists.
  2. Do wear gloves. Heavy bags will chew up your knuckles in even one round of bag work.
  3. Don't kick the bottom of the bag. There's a lot of weight above it and it's surprisingly hard. Kicking the bottom of a heavy bag is a good way to break a foot.
  4. Work with a partner sometimes. Though you can get an effective training session alone, it's good to have somebody steady the bag and watch your form.
  5. Work without a partner sometimes. For some heavy bag drills, a steady bag is undesirable. Also, you can focus on your technique a little better when you're not being observed.
  6. Use a tennis ball. Hold it under your chin by keeping your head tucked. This will help train in the right head position as you work. 
  7. Remember your footwork. All the best boxing technique comes from footwork. Use the correct footwork every time you punch the bag. Practice shuffling in and out, working angles, bobbing and weaving.
  8. Have a training plan. Know before you start how many rounds you'll practice. During the rounds, have a strategy for how you'll time your punches. Know each combination you'll throw before you throw it.
  9. Practice on your heavy bag, don't play. Make good use of your time. Ten committed rounds on the heavy bag is a good, productive workout. An hour of slapping the bag around is a waste of time.
  10. Use bad technique from time to time. Even a few badly thrown punches can teach you the difference between doing it the right way and doing it wrong.
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