What’s not to love about the speedbag?
Punching the speedbag is economical, addicting, excellent cardio, perfect for blowing off steam, and can perfect your rhythm and coordination.
There is really no reason why a boxer, MMA or any martial artist should neglect this versatile training and fitness tool.
The question most ask is not “should I get a speedbag?”
What are the best speed bags and setups?
My goal in this article is to introduce you to the speedbag, the different styles, and different setups, how to use one, how to hang one and what you should know before you buy one.
I also include reviews of the best speed bags, the top rated speed bag swivels and platforms.
- How the Speed Bag Improves Your Performance and Health
- What is the Best Size Speed Bag for Beginners?
- How High Should a Speed Bag be?
- How to Use a Speed Bag?
- How You can Distinguish between the Three Swivel Styles
- Speedbag, Swivel and Platform Considerations
- Top 5 Best Speed Bag Reviews 2018
- Top 4 Best Speed Bag Platform Reviews 2018
- Top 3 Best Speed Bag Swivel Reviews 2018
How the Speed Bag Improves Your Performance and Health
- Train eye hand coordination practice slipping punches with rhythm using a speed bag.
- Practice footwork- Become unhittable using the speedbag which is an excellent defensive workout training tool.
- Develop fast strikes, strong reflexes.
- Ideal boxing Cardio training.
- Very Economical and uses little space.
- Great stress release- hitting is very satisfying.
What is the Best Size Speed Bag for Beginners?
Generally, larger bags are for beginners. Larger bags are slower and allow you to learn rhythm and technique and work up to combos without being too frustrating.
As your skill improves you can move on to smaller bags. The smaller the bag, the faster and more challenging it becomes.
Installing a bag that is too small for your level of ability is not the path to success.
If the bag is too challenging, you will not enjoy using it, and the speedbag should be something to enjoy and look forward to.
How High Should a Speed Bag be?
The bottom or belly of the bag should be at mouth level.
If it is too high or too low you are training for poor muscle memory and form.
If more than one person is using the bag, opt for the adjustable platform so each person can adjust the speedbag to the ideal height.
How to Use a Speed Bag?
One common mistake beginners make when hitting the bag is they hit too hard.
Think of the speedbag as a control tool, not a power increasing tool.
Your goal in the beginning is repetitive consistency.
For a good explanation of how a beginner should start with the speedbag, check out this video by Final Round Training.
How You can Distinguish between the Three Swivel Styles
There are three basic swivel styles and each has its benefits and limitations.
Know what you are getting into before you buy!
These consist of a base that screws into the platform and a housing that holds the ball and S hook. The S hook holds the leather hook of the speed bag.
S hooks come in different sizes but the size does not change performance, it only determines how well the speedbag loop fits.
You can use duct tape around the loop and S hook so the bag stays secure and some folks use duct tape around the eye shaft to reduce metal on metal and dampen noise.
- Best style to train control, also the most challenging to hit straight.
- Accurate rebound.
- Pure swivel with a basic design.
- Full range of movement.
- Plastic versions will usually fall apart quickly, beginning with the eye bolt falling from the ball. Avoid plastic models.
- Avoid this style if the base and housing are one piece. These get banged up too much where the bolt hits the housing and eventually the ball falls from the housing and can not be replaced.
- This style may be too challenging for beginners since it is very hard to control.
“U” shape U Bolt Speed and Precision Swivel
These have a “U” shape attachment held in by a pin that slides into the end of each side of the “U”.
In this style, the base holds a ball bearing plus housing and the only other parts are the U and the pin.
In general, short fat U’s are preferred.
- Super simple design.
- Easy to change bags.
- Most Common and economical style, can easily find online.
- Easier to control that ball and hook style.
- The bag can side around, or even up the U and change the rhythm and rebound. No bueno! A tight piece of duct tape securing the loop closed can eliminate the issue.
- The U must be wide enough to accommodate the loop of your speed bag or your bag will ride up and be off balance.
The chain link swivel uses a chain link that looks like a link of bike chain, to hold the bag.
This style is found on higher end models and often boxers will simply buy several and leave the chain link attached to the bag while they switch to another bag by unscrewing the swivel housing from the base.
- Fast and quiet.
- Easier to hit in a straight line than a ball style swivel.
- Challenging to change and service.
- Must use the right tools to handle.
Speedbag, Swivel and Platform Considerations
Swivel shank length
As I mentioned before, the longer the shank or father down the bag hangs, the slower the bag will be.
Look for short, fat U hooks, and S hooks that are not too long. Even chain link styles can have a too long shank, so check the length before you decide.
This applies to your skill level, Beginners should start with a larger bag and upgrade to smaller bags as skill level progresses.
Small narrow bags are incredibly challenging.
Platform/Drum width and diameter
Boards designed for home use are usually around 24” long. These found in commercial gyms can be up to 36 inches long.
Be aware that the longer your bag and swivel length are, the farther out on the drum the bag will hit as it rebounds.
Be careful that your bag and swivel length fit the board. If you have a 24 inch drum, a good total length to aim for is 12 inches and under for the swivel and bag together.
The weight of the drum is important too. Heavier drums give a truer rebound and lighter drums can bounce, throwing things off a bit.
Now that you know what to look for, lets explore some of the best speed bag swivels, platforms and bags!
Top 5 Best Speed Bag Reviews 2018
TITLE Boxing Gyro Balanced Speed Bags
Review: This Gyro balanced speedbag from Title boxing features a special internal balancing system for smooth consistent hits every time.
It is made of top grade leather and is of the same quality as bags twice the price.
- Internal balancing system.
- All leather construction.
- Available in XS, S, M and large.
- Bladder needs refilling from time to time. Have a bike pump handy.
Fighting Sports Pro Speed Bag
Review: These attractive speedbags are made with attention to detail.
They come in black, black and white, and a striking all white bag. They are made of the finest quality leather and triple stitched welted seams. They are perfectly balanced for amazing speed and rebounds.
- Made from top quality leather.
- Professionally balanced.
- Available in all white, (5” x 8” only).
Ringside Cleto Reyes Speed Bag
Review: This Cleto Reyes bag has earned its popularity. It has a nice, tight leather loop to hold it to the swivel, it is made with the best quality soft leather, and it includes an extra bladder so you have a spare when needed.
- Extra bladder included.
- Perfect bounce and balance-very high quality.
- Welted seams, riveted strap.
- This bag is narrower at the bottom, and thus more challenging.
Balazs Lazer Speed Bag
Review: This top of the line speed bag by Balazs is one of the best you can get.
It has a perfect, symmetrical teardrop shape with no welted seams nor laces to stick out or throw off the balance; it is a smooth surface al around.
You can hit it without wraps on!
Include this bag in your home gym for the best speed bag setup.
- No inner bladder, contains an air chamber instead.
- No laces to throw the balance off.
- No welted seams, smooth, handmade exterior with an eye for precision.
- Needs refilling about once a month.
Pro Impact Genuine Leather Speedbag Punch Bag
Review: This teardrop shaped Pro Impact bag is high quality and priced right, making it one of the best speed bags for beginners. It is durable, and fast enough to challenge even an athletic beginner.
It is thick and on the heavy side and you will feel like you are hitting a pro level bag if you choose this one.
- Short, fast bag.
- Thick leather, heavier bag-work those shoulders.
- Great price.
- Smaller than other bags.
Top 4 Best Speed Bag Platform Reviews 2018
Fighting Sports Adjustable Speed Bag Platform
Review: This sturdy wall mounted platform has braces 32” apart, with a 1 inch thick drum platform. The drum is solid wood, not cheap composite material.
The braces are 1’ tubular steel, with adjustment rails that allow an adjustment of 7” to fit every athlete.
The cost and quality make this one of the best speed bag platform for home.
- 7 inches of adjustment leeway.
- Solid wood drum.
- Pro swivel included.
- Mounting hardware for masonry walls is included, for wood studs you need to buy hardware separately.
Valor Fitness CA-53 Speed Bag Platform
Review: This top of the line Valor Fitness platform has a two inch thick wood drum for the superior stability.
This platform is heavy duty and suitable for a commercial gym and is a good speed bag platform. The platform includes a swivel and bag, but they are not as high quality as the platform, unfortunately, but if you consider the platform on its own, it is a solid investment.
- 2″ thick wood drum.
- 13″ adjustment to suit a wide range of heights.
- Commercial quality.
- The included speedbag is low quality.
XMark XM-4441 Adjustable Speed Bag Platform
Review: This Xmark platform is a crowd favorite with a 1.5 inch drum with solid wood in a beautiful natural finish.
It has a full 15 inches of adjustment available this platform fits right in at any commercial boxing gym or home gym.
It is one of the best speed bag platforms for the money as it includes a high quality swivel and is made from solid 14 gauge steel.
- Quality swivel included.
- Great price/quality ratio.
- Includes mounting hardware.
- Adjustment screws need to be tightened periodically or it may slide.
Joe Fabo Deluxe Speed bag Platform
Review: This platform is for those who do not have the option of permanently mounting the platform.
It mounts to the inside of a 30 inch door frame and does not mark or damage the frame at all. See for yourself how this one operates Video demo.
- Includes Title boxing pro swivel.
- Drum is made from real solid wood, not cheap fabricated composite.
- Removable, fits in a doorway.
- Its loud- but what speedbag is quiet?
Top 3 Best Speed Bag Swivel Reviews 2018
Pro Impact Pro Swivel Premium with EZ Lock
Review: This “U” shaped swivel has a heavy duty bearing for smooth action with minimal lateral movement. It is chrome plated and built to last.
- Sealed bearing.
- “U” shape.
- Identical screw placement as everlast swivels.
- Hangs too low, loop needs to be shorter, which slows it down.
Valor Fitness CA-9 Swivel for Speed Bag
Review: This stainless steel swivel by Valor is excellent quality. As one of the best speed bag swivels it is used one of the best platforms, made by Xmark.
You can unscrew the mount from the plate to easily change out bags, and this swivel has superior action thanks to a smooth moving ball bearing.
- Unscrews from base, quick bag change if you order several swivels.
- Smooth sealed bearings, chain link bag holder.
- Well made, high quality swivels, used on the best speed bag platforms made by Xmark.
- No way to adjust tightness between snap ring and mounting bracket.
Everlast Professional Speedbag Swivel
Review: The most popular and one of the best speed bag swivels available, this Everlast Pro U shaped swivel will give you several years of heavy duty service.
Mounting hardware is included and the finish is a beautifully machined stainless steel.
- Smooth ball bearing.
- U shaped Hook.
- Short shank length, increases speed.
- Pin is too long, some have trimmed it to not interfere with the bag rebound.
As for platform, you can not go wrong with the XMark platform, it is amazing quality and an accessible, but not cheap, price. It comes with a decent swivel too!
Now that you have the facts, don’t wait. Pick up a speedbag today and start perfecting your punching control and coordination.