Punching bags are training equipment that help improve stamina and muscle mass, while also acting as a stress reliever. Larger and heavier bags will help build up your strength, while smaller punching bags are ideal for improving speed, coordination and agility.
Both types of bags are great for muscle building, fat loss and improving cardiovascular fitness. Below, you’ll find the best punching bags, how to use them and what the benefits are – all researched by our expert health panel.
1. Ringside Heritage
When it comes to luxury punching bags, the Ringside Heritage 90-pound Genuine Leather Boxing Punching Heavy Bag is the king. It is made with genuine 2.2 mm premium leather and boasts a professional and durable design.
This bag also has a middle soft strike surface, ideal for the person looking to build tone and strength. For these reasons, it’s our #1 pick.
2. Outslayer 100 lb Punching Bag
If you are a professional athlete that wants to improve on strength, the Outslayer punching bag is the bag for you. It is filled only with fabric (no sand filters), thus eliminating hard or hollow spots.
This punching bag also comes with a 10-year warranty, making it a great investment for even the most aggressive boxers.
3. Everlast Traditional 100 lbs
If you want to keep things simple, the Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag kit is the bag for you. This training bag comes with gloves and hand wraps, making it one of the best punching bags available for beginners and intermediates.
It is also filled with 100 pounds of sand, is easy to assemble, and is extremely durable.
4. Everlast heavy bag kit
Everlast’s 70-Pound MMA heavy-bag kit is one of the best on the market.
This punching bag comes together with MMA gloves, a wrap for protecting your hands, and a bungee cord that enhances the resistance of the bag.
5. Century Wavemaster XXL
Century’s Wavemaster XXL Training Bag stands out with the largest punching and kicking surface on the market. It’s 69 inches tall and 18 inches wide, making it very stable.
No matter how much power you throw at it, this bag will stay in place.
6. PROLAST Boxing MMA
Made with RIP-PROOF Technology, the Prolast Boxing MMA Heavy Punching Bag has a lifetime warranty. It comes unfilled, meaning you can choose what materials you want to put inside.
This makes it ideal for more advanced trainers who know the type of feel they want in a bag.
7. Ringside Soft Filled Punching Bag
Ringside’s Soft Filled Boxing MMA Muay Thai Heavy Bag is made to simulate a large opponent, since it’s filled with very soft textile fabric. This helps to eliminate sore knuckles typical after long training sessions.
It comes in 4 sizes, ranging from 100 to 200 pounds.
8. Lastworld Punching Bag with Chains
If you are on a budget, the Lastworld Punching Bag will offer high quality at a good price.
The canvas is made of high-quality material found in most professional gyms, making it extremely durable and sturdy.
9. RDX punching Kit
When looking for the ideal combination of durability and value, the RDX punching bag truly shines.
It’s very durable, and features double stitching with a top zipper for very easy refilling when needed.
10. Everlast New Omniflex
Everlast’s Omniflex Freestanding Heavy Bag is a unique piece of training equipment. While it’s great for punches, it excels at training the perfect leg kicks.
The adjustable height, shock-absorbing foam, and the water base make it perfect when working on improving the aim of your hits. Its small size makes it ideal for children’s training and space-conscious people.
How We Ranked
When ranking the best punching bags, we took into account many factors and compiled this list to fit the needs of both professionals and casual sports enthusiasts. The first thing we looked at was durability – since a punching bag should be a long-term investment. Everlast made three entries on our list for this exact reason. They have proven over decades that they can last a long time, while always innovating on the original design and functionality. The Everlast heavy bag kit made it to the #1 spot for offering the best overall mix of value, durability, and reliability.
We also rewarded heavy-duty punching bags, such as the Last Punch Heavy Duty Punching Bag and Prolast Boxing MMA Heavy Punching Bag, since they could withstand a beating. Some bags came empty, which was fine – as long as it was easy to fill the bag up with whatever material you choose. Some of our experts actually preferred this kind of bag, mostly because it allowed for a flexible take on what is inside. Due to the inconvenience, we did not rank these types of bags near the top.
Punching bags needed to be fitted with proper material to ensure they can take the constant pounding. This is why products made with rip-proof technology, like Prolast’s Boxing Punching Bag, made our list. In terms of our preferred filling, fabric or textiles were the ideal choice, as they offered a good mix between firmness, absorption and durability. They also allowed for machine washing if they became damaged by water (unlike sand, which needs to be completely replaced). This is a main reason why Outslayer ranked so highly on our list.
Punching bags can help you lose weight. A heavy punching bag is a great tool when it comes to losing weight, because it combines a full-body workout with endurance training. In one 2015 week study, obese participants were divided into two activity groups: a brisk walking group and a boxing group.
Both groups engaged in 4 training sessions per week for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, it was concluded that boxing training could elicit a better therapeutic effect on obesity compared to brisk walking (1).
Punching bags can improve your cognitive abilities and relieve stress. Punching bags help improve total body blood flow, which can help enhance both your physical and cognitive abilities. It is also a great way to keep in shape and blow off some steam after a long day at work.
Studies show that just a few hard punches and kicks after a stressful day can provide immediate stress relief (2).
Punching bags can help prepare you for a real fight. As far as pieces of gym equipment go, a punching bag is a great tool for preparing for a real fight. When used properly, it helps to improve stamina, speed, strength, and reaction time.
Punching bags help you stay more active. A sedentary lifestyle is considered the greatest health risk in these modern times. One 2008 study showed that a sedentary lifestyle builds up a lot of stress in the body (3).
If you are generally sedentary, you should try to engage in extra physical activity. Boxing, whether it’s with a punching bag, a parent or even a video game console, is a great way of contributing towards the daily physical activity recommendations. A 2012 study published in the Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal showed that just 30 minutes of Wii Sports boxing provides a moderate aerobic response which can help keep people active and contribute to their daily physical activity requirements (4).
Punching bags can help protect you from various chronic diseases. One of the deadliest modern day diseases is obesity, which is a precursor too many chronic issues, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes (5).
Performing routine cardio workouts on a punching bag can help you reduce overall body fat, lowering the change of these chronic diseases. Boxing also helps to build muscle mass, which can help further improve your health and weight loss efforts.
Punching bags can help you build strength. Whether you are punching, kicking, or working your elbows or knees, nothing gets the job done faster than training with a heavy bag. Research from 2016 showed that one of the biggest benefits of hitting a punching bag is building up strength. It’s especially effective in improving hand and grip strength, which is beneficial for sport performance (6).
Punching bags may help improve agility. Another benefit of hitting a punching bag is that you can work on your hand and foot agility. As the bag moves away from you after you hit it with your jab, it allows you to move around the natural motion of the heavy bag. In time, the experience gained with this type of exercise allows for great improvements in your coordination and ability to fire rapidly.
Punching bags can help you improve bone health. A 2018 study published in Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that resistance training, which can be done with weights, punching bags or even your own bodyweight, may help prevent osteoporosis and other bone conditions by exerting a mechanical load on the bones themselves (7).
Punching bags offer a great at-home workout option. If you aren’t particularly fond of the gym, punching bags are an excellent piece of equipment to have at home, as it offers great cardio and strength training workouts for all fitness levels.
Punching bags can cause sharp muscle pain. There are two types of muscle pain: sore muscle pain and sharp muscle pain. Sore muscle pain is the most common type and usually happens due to overtraining. Thankfully, it can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, fluids, and rest.
The second type of pain, described as sharp muscle pain, is more serious and might have something to do with a minor pull or strain. Specialists recommend applying ice on the area but, more importantly, taking some days off from any kind of workout involving the affected area. This is extremely important to prevent further aggravation of a potential injury.
Punching bags can lead to finger and hand pain. The most exposed parts of the body in this kind of sport are the hands and fingers. The small bones in the hands and fingers are much more fragile than the other bones in the body and they can easily break with moderate force. As such, being focused and disciplined with every punch is essential when using a punching bag (8).
Punching power comes from the opposite end of the arm and lands on the most fragile part of it. Not doing it properly can provoke rough injuries, like the known “boxer’s break.” If you feel any sharp pain coming from the bones of the hands, stop right away and consult a primary care physician or athletic therapist. You may also want to consider including hand wraps as part of your punching bag training routine, since these add protection and can prevent such injuries from occurring.
Punching bags can generate wrist pain. Discipline and mastering the right technique are important for the health of any sports enthusiast. Wrist pain can appear when punching with the wrist at the wrong angle. Doing so can even break the bones of the wrist. If you feel any sharp pain in the bones, stop immediately and consult with the nearest doctor or trainer.
To prevent any further discomfort, it is recommended to use the technique of punching with the forearm and wrist straight, having the force of it to recoil through the elbow, shoulder, and torso and not in the bones of the wrist. Also, wearing hand wraps is the best way to keep the bones of the wrists and hands.
Punching bags can lead to elbow and shoulder pain. As mentioned above, punching without the correct technique can negatively affect the bones that are involved in this process. In this case, loose punches with the hand away from the center can replace the impact of the punch in the elbows and shoulders, instead of backfiring it to the larger muscles of the body core. This can cause risks of muscle strains and repetitive stress injuries.
Punching bags can lead to headaches. It may surprise you, but a common problem many people who use punching bags suffer from is headaches. The reason this happens is because many people forget to relax the jaw and breathe naturally. Thankfully the solution is also very simple: be aware of your jaw and your breath. Try not to hold tension and try to avoid holding your breath throughout your exercise session. Breath with each punch as you strike, controlling the flow of air, instead of letting it control you.
Punching bags may prove difficult to hang. Depending on your living situation, having a punching bag at home may not be ideal. For example, an apartment is not a suitable place since the ceiling will not support it and it may disturb your neighbours. Ideal places to hang a punching bag include the basement or garage of a house. You may also use a special piece of equipment, such as a wall mount if hanging a punching bag from your ceiling is not an option.
Punching bags can be used as often as needed, since they are designed to be durable and take a hit, so to speak. You should not keep your punching bag outdoors as the natural elements may erode the materials a lot faster.
Training wiht a punching bag, requires a different set or recommendations. Overtraining can put a lot of stress on the body’s ability to bounce back to baseline. Because of this, it is recommended to use the heavy bag two or three times per week. Depending on how intense the workout is, more time may be needed in between workouts to recover.
Generally, you will want at least 24-48 hours of rest in between each punching bag session. This gives your muscles and body adequate time to fully recover. You can also mix your punching bag workouts with other low impact exercise sessions, such as yoga, strength training, and more.
How do you avoid overtraining with a punching bag? One of the best ways to avoid overtraining is to mix hard workouts with easy ones. This gives your body sufficient time to recover and repair. Keep in mind that your tendons and connective tissues require a lot more time to develop compared to muscles, so it’s crucial to give your body time to adapt. This means that beginners should start with short sessions and work their way up to 1 hour long training sessions. It’s also important to add in a proper warm-up and cool-down to any workout you perform, as this can help prevent injuries and overtraining issues.
How do you set up a punching bag? The easiest way to set up a punching bag is to hang it from your ceiling. Using the S-hook, attach the eyebolt of the stand which is supported by chains attached to the corners of the punching bag. If you have a strong support beam, typically running along with the ceiling of the house, there is no need for a boxing bag stand.
What is the safest way to strike a punching bag? It is important to get your body in the optimal state before hitting the bag. Ignoring the warm-up session can lead to muscle pains and unnecessary injuries. When striking the bag, focus on having your index and middle finger knuckles come into contact with the bag first. This allows for the most power while simultaneously protecting you from injury.
After the first punch, as your hand comes back, use the motion to create a loop of several hits. Take a short rest in between the sessions to allow your body to recover and assess better the angles of your strikes. It’s also important to wear proper protective gear, like boxing gloves, to avoid injury.
What is the best way to build muscle when training with a punching bag? The most important thing to remember is that consistent training and eating will have the biggest effect on muscle growth. Furthermore, focusing on using your entire body, instead of just your hands, will provide much better results in terms of muscle growth and cardiovascular endurance. Try mixing in some kicks, knees and even some burpees for an additional challenge.
How do I properly maintain my punching bag? Maintaining a heavy bag is fairly easy, with two main factors to consider: what material the punching bag is made out of, and what kind of maintenance you are supposed to perform on it. As far as materials used in a heavy bag go, there are no waterproof models. Because of this, it is advised not to keep the bag outdoors since exposure to rain, sun, snow and wind will ruin your bag very quickly. If you need to keep the bag outdoors, it’s best to keep it covered when not in use.
Cleaning the heavy bag is a simple process since most of the stains will be caused by residue, dust, and prints. These kinds of stains are easy to remove, as most of the time, warm water is sufficient. If the stains persist on the outside material, it is advised to used dishwashing liquid.
As for the inside of the bag, some heavy punching bags do not have zippers, and the content cannot be easily removed. For the bags that have zippers, some materials such as textiles, can be washed in a regular washing machine. Other types of materials, such as sand, need to be completely replaced.
How and where is it best to mount a punching bag? Free-swinging punching bags can be mounted in two different ways. The first way to hang a heavy bag is with the help of a rope. The second way is by using a chain. Both ways need a stable point on the ceiling; this is done both for safety reasons and because it helps simulate an opponent.
If the heavy bag is not mounted tight, the swing will be very unstable and can cause injuries. When using a chain, the D ring of the bag must be separated from the chain with a different material. Long term use of the punching bag, where the D ring comes into direct contact with the chains, will cause heavy irreparable damage.
What is the difference between a punching bag and a speed bag? A punching bag allows for a larger variety of exercises and is ideal when it comes to building up strength, creating adequate footwork technique, and building up stamina. A punching bag can also be used to train kicks, elbows, and knees.
A speed bag is generally mounted on a special platform at eye level. It is much smaller and is essential to improving hand-eye coordination. Another use for the speed bag is building up stamina. It also helps to release stress, and has a positive effect on the overall shape of the shoulders.
What kind of material is best for a punching bag? Most heavy bags are made from leather. This is a great choice because of the reaction the bag has when kicked or punched. Leather bags tend to cost more, but are still preferred over synthetic leather.
Which type of filling should be in a punching bag? Since most boxers wear gloves when hitting the heavy bag, the outside material is not as important as the material used to fill the bag. Landing a punch or kick on a bag filled with sand feels very different from landing a punch on a bag filled with textile material.
The most common filling is, however, a mix of several materials. For the most realistic simulation of a real fight, we recommend a bag filled with water, sand, and textile. Professional boxers prefer a heavy bag with a sand core surrounded by textiles. This kind of bag allows for fast spinning motions ideal for quick hits. Foam is also a material widely used, as this makes the lining of the bag more secure and eliminates unnecessary voids.
Can punching bags improve your self-defense skills? If you are looking for a great way to improve your self-defense skills, punching bags might be exactly what you need. They help test reaction speed and will help you learn how to protect yourself in an unforeseen event.
What is the best punching bag size? For the perfect size, look for a punching bag that measures about half your body weight. For safety reasons, it is recommended to use a bag under 100 pounds. However, if your goal is to enhance your strength, you should look for a heavier bag.
Can you get a good workout hitting a punching bag? As far as gym equipment goes, a punching bag is perfect for working out and growing muscle. It is also a great tool when it comes to losing weight because of the intense cardio needed.
Does hitting a punching bag improve your striking power? Without a doubt, hitting a boxing bag increases your striking power. Working out with a heavy punching bag simulates a real fight, the force needed to hit the bag providing the user with an all-body workout. If your goal is to hit harder and grow muscle mass, the punching bag is the correct equipment for you.
Does a punching bag’s size affect training? Yes, a punching bag’s size and weight affect the training. Smaller bags are good for speed, agility, and reaction time. Heavier bags are good for power, endurance and real world simulation. Smaller bags are also good for children and smaller females that want a workout.
How is a punching bag made? The outer part of the punching bag is first made with polyvinyl, leather, or canvas material. This material is then inflated with air. While the air is holding the bag open, the bag is filled with sand, wood clippings, and other materials. Chains, zippers, or other metal is then used to close the bag.
Can punching bags break? Yes, like any other object, the material of the punching bag can become worn down. At gyms or fitness studios, you may notice that older bags have been wrapped with duct tape. This is frequently because a hole has developed in that spot due to repeated contact.
Can a punching bag help you lose weight? A punching bag is a great way to stay in shape, lose fat, and build muscle. However, it is important to note that losing weight doesn’t just come down to the exercise you perform. Your nutrition and diet also play an important role, and matter just as much.
Can punching bags help you deal with anger or stress? Yes, any exercise is a great way to release pent-up stress or other emotions. In particular, a punching bag allows you to let out that excess aggression, without letting it get out of control.
Will a punching bag help tone my arms? Yes, a punching bag is an excellent way to tone and strengthen your arms and shoulders. With every punch, you are building muscle and forcing your body to adapt to the load you are placing on it. It can further help tone your entire body since core stabilization is required and often there is a certain amount of lower body coordination and skill involved as well.
Can punching bags be left outside? Many types of punching bags can be left outside. Yet, before you do so, it is always a good idea to check and ensure the punching bag you have is, in fact, waterproof. If you do not own a waterproof punching bag, rain may ruin it or dew may form, which can actually destroy the bag.
Can punching bags build muscle? Yes. The power and force required to hit the bag in different directions requires a ton of muscle strength. As such, you may notice as time goes on and with consistent use of the punching bag, it becomes easier and easier to hit the bag with greater force. This is a key indicator that you are getting stronger and are building muscle.
Will a punching bag help me fight? Absolutely. A punching bag is a great way to train for boxing or other styles of fighting. It’s most suitable for those just starting out, since it can help you gain that initial strength and help you add more force to each punch.
Yet, it can also be a great way for seasoned fighters to maintain their current strength. Further, when you learn how to punch and kick properly using a punching bag, you are better equipped to fight off any attacker if this were to happen in real life.
Can you use a tree as a punching bag? While you can certainly use a tree to replicate an opponent, it is not recommended as it is a hard surface that can cause injury. It also doesn’t move, making it less realistic that a swinging punching bag. The best things to use besides a punching bag, are sofa cushions, pillows or anything that will absorb a blow.
Which punching bag is best? The type of punching bag you require may vary based on your needs. If you want to improve your speed and agility, a smaller bag size may be more suitable.
For endurance and power, a heavier bag may be more appropriate. If you want to workout outside, you will want a waterproof punching bag.
Are punching bags bad for your joints? It depends. A high-impact workout, such as exercising with a punching bag, may pose some degree of risk when it comes to maintaining healthy joints. For instance, your hands and wrist may come under various strain or damage due to the force placed on them when they come into contact with the bag. Using the right form and technique, as well as taking proper rest and days off can help prevent joint damage.
Are punching bags loud? Sometimes, punching bags can be fairly noisy when in use. Very full punching bags may create more noise due to their inability to absorb the sound. Depending where you hang it, such as on a beam in the basement, sounds may echo throughout your home. If sound becomes an issue with your punching bag, you may want to soundproof the area by using a foam mat and placing soundproofing panels on the walls and ceiling.
Can you make a punching bag at-home? Yes, you can make a punching bag at home. You’ll need a duffel bag, an S-hook, rope, duct tape and some sand to fill the bag. First, turn the duffel bag inside out and fill it with sand, old clothes and rags. Next tie a rope to the top end and screw the S-hook into the ceiling. Lastly, use duct tape to wrap the bag and use the end ropes to hang it.
How do you practice boxing without a punching bag? The easiest way to practice boxing without a punching bag is to engage in shadow boxing. Shadow boxing is essentially boxing without a bag or opponent. You simulate an opponent in your mind, and box them. It is an ancient practice that helps build speed, stamina and coordination. Many coaches actually recommend beginners to practice shadow boxing before engaging in a punching bag session to help develop a rhythm and proper creating patterns.
Punching bags are a great piece of exercise equipment that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and help you lose weight. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes so that everyone type of person can have a safe and effective workout.
It’s important to practice proper form when using a punching bag as improper form can lead to potentially serious injuries. You should also consider purchasing gloves as this will protect your hands and wrists from injury.
For Fitbug’s #1 recommended punching bag, click here.