If you are new to boxing you may be making a mistake that is common to new fighters, in assuming that all heavy bag training is the same. Fighters will throw a few punches and ignore footwork, stance and positioning which means that they will tire very early.
Training with a heavy bag is a great way to learn to box. Padwork drills and shadow boxing are both fundamental area in which you will improve your boxing skills. The heavy bag is an aid to you experiencing the full force of your punching and is a platform to tweak your actions to gain more speed and power.
If you want to develop your moves you must do them right, not simply do them, as a lot of people think that you can do. Of course, you cannot look like an expert straightaway, but there are steps that you can take so that you do not make yourself look silly. We take a look at how you can get the best out of your heavy bag training.
A whole session on the bag?
You should approach a whole session on a heavy bag the same way that you would interval training. What we mean by this is that you need varying intensities of exercise that raise your heart rate with short rest periods which will allow your body to recover.
Traditionally, boxers condition themselves to be able to box for 4 minute rounds, which means that they will work at full intensity for 4 minutes and then rest for up to 2 minutes before going again.
You will want to start your heavy bag training at a moderate pace, especially if you are a newcomer. By structuring your workout into timed rounds and ensure you throw basic punches, such as crosses, hooks and jabs, you woe out will be much easier on your body.
Do not run before you can walk when it comes to heavy bag training-famous boxers may make it look easy but it is not. A popular workout for a beginner might be to do 3-4 two-minute rounds on the heavy bag with 1-2 minutes of rest between rounds.
Always warm up and cool down
Whilst everyone is different, there are defiantly better ways to warm up to make sure you are fully ready for your training session. We look at just how you can achieve a good warm up and training session.
Warming up exercises can be anything from jump ropes and duck under/step over routines to short sprints and shadow boxing.
Cooling down at the end of your workout gradually returns your system (breathing, heart rate, etc.) to a resting state. Never finish an intense workout and then just plunk down on the couch. The cool down is a time to work on your flexibility with stretching exercises.
The heavy bag can be a great training tool or a lousy tool to use in your boxing training workouts. The heavy bag doesn’t hit back so many fighters tend to drop their hands and get lazy with it while working it. Obviously the habits we display on the heavy bag will show up in the ring. So in this article I’m going to give you a great drill to use to stay sharp and alert.
Fighters often have problems with the amount of eye contact that they make with the heavy bag, in fact, it is one of the biggest problems with boxers. Fighters need to ensure that they do not look at the bag too much but ensure that they do make eye contact with the bag at certain points.
Look forward and visualise where the bag is, imagining that it is your opponent. By looking straightforward, but not starring too much at the bag, you are able to see both the bag and the surroundings, just as you would your opponent when in fighting.
Use proper balance
Many boxers try to throw themselves towards the heavy bag when throwing punches, which is a big mistake. If you do not want to compromise your position it is best to refrain from hurling yourself at the bag so that you still pack power into your punches.
There are no magic drills that you can perform that will give you fluid footwork. I commonly browse through strength & conditioning and coaching websites and have seen many that discuss drills designed to improve footwork.
I often do not limit myself to only the fighting arts, footwork is critical is almost all sports. Unfortunately, 99% of these drills, and the individuals that created these drills, will not develop proper footwork for our needs.
Jumping rope for example is an excellent exercise. It will improve physical conditioning and it may improve your coordination between your feet and hands. The jump rope is an excellent training device it should be used often.
If you dedicate some time each training session to improving your stance and drilling footwork technique, you stand a much better chance of progressing.
The heavy bag is a valuable tool for fighters, but must be used properly. If in doubt about any techniques or issues surrounding it, ask a more experienced fighter or your coach to demonstrate. Learning to use the heavy bag properly will serve any boxer well.
Throw good punches
If you want to practice your punches then you can use your bag to circles around, as you throw punches and practice your kicking too. This allows you to perfect your skills and allows you to work on your focus and accuracy. You will build up your muscle tone as you practice and you can later increase the intensity of your work out to suit your current needs.
When training how to hit the bag, it can be tempting to hold your breath due to the exertion needed to execute every punch. Exhaling as a punch is thrown will help ensure a continual supply of oxygen to the body, to feed the working muscles. It will also decrease the likelihood of thoracic pressure, which can result in serious injury.
This is not only the principle of maintaining your form through the execution of the skills, but it is also the principle of working through to the end of the round. Don’t fall into the trap of hammering the bag for 30 seconds and then standing around panting like a dog for the next 2 minutes.
This is totally counter-productive. Work all the way through the round and then take your rest. This will toughen you both physically and mentally and is one of the keys to successful boxing.
Training is all about balance and sessions can be aimed towards different skill development, for example emphasizing power or anaerobic endurance. Do not be so quick to overlook the heavy bag. The heavy bag is probably the most effective, sport-specific conditioner of all.