IS USING A PUNCHING BAG A GOOD WORKOUT FOR ME?
If you’ve ever wondered how to get ripped and work towards creating a leaner physique, take a moment and look at boxers and martial arts fighters.

Their fight training is what sets their gym regime apart from the rest of us, of which punching a heavy bag for extended periods is a major component. It’s clear this approach is proving highly effective.

There are a few core benefits to incorporating punching bag trainings into your training regime…

1. Builds power
2. Builds stamina
3. Increases your metabolic rate and continues to burn calories for days afterwards

Point #3 is one of the reasons why the fighters are so lean.

This punching bag workout involves your legs as well as your arms to train the whole body, activating as much muscle as possible to burn the most calories.

Will using a punchbag help me lose weight?

According to NutriStrategy statistics, a US nutrition and fitness company, a 70Kg person punching a bag can burn around 450 calories per hour. Depending on your weight and overall level of fitness, boxing can be an extremely effective means of burning calories and toning muscle.

Punching a bag for extended periods of time uses your full body which produces a pronounced anabolic and metabolic effect resulting in the production of more of the right hormones as well as burning more fat in the short-term.

Mensfitness.com says punching is also a form of 'resistance' cardio, because you're hitting a target. This means it can not only burn fat, but tone muscle resulting in developed legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders and abs. A technically good punch involves your abs as well. As you twist into the movement and generate the power throughout your entire body your abs are constantly activated. Another contributing reason fighters have great abs.

The best way to burn lots of calories is to box (spar and/or use a punching bag), utilising 70-100% of your energy output for set periods of times with short breaks in-between.

This is known as interval training.

One of the most intense forms of interval training is 'tabata', which involves going flat out at 100% for 20 seconds and pausing for ten, for a total of six rounds. The result is a four-minute workout that is just as intense as a 30 minute run and which can be practiced from the comfort of your own home.

What size punching bag should I use?

Punching bags for boxing come in a variety of sizes, materials and colours.
You need to factor in the level of fitness you are when it comes to choosing the right bag and size.

According to Livestrong.com, a male who punches hard might require a 27kg or 30kg bag. Bags that weigh over 40kg are designed for boxers who are heavy hitters.

Inflatable punching bags and 2½-foot punching bags are ideal for kids, with the 3-foot bag suited for beginner women boxers.

The 4-foot bag is appropriate for both women and men, with the bigger 6-foot bags providing extra resistance and a longer length enabling you to hit a wider range of targets to attack.

How long should I hit?

Make sure you protect your hands, wrists and feet (if kicking) by using boxing hand wraps and good boxing gloves.

To avoid wrist injury make sure you punch the bag at the proper distance. If the punching bag is swinging, this means you are too close.

Standing to close will jam and jar your wrist and throwing punches too far away will hyper-extend your shoulder.

It may take you a couple of one hour sessions a week to build your speed and power and sustainability in the ring. Start off with 1-2 minute rounds and build from there.

Pro heavyweight John Guthrie used to do 12 x 3 min rounds with 1 min rest three times a week. Usually on same days he does resistance training and weights.

If you are planning to fight in a boxing ring, each round consists of 3 minutes so build yourself up to be able to achieve 3 minute rounds.

If you are planning to fight MMA rounds, you need to gradually increase your intensity to achieve 5 minute rounds.