"In conjunction with a set of gloves, a heavy bag is the single most important
piece of martial arts equipment that you can own."
A good heavy bag will enable you to build power and speed in every single striking technique available, while also building your footwork as you chase down/ run away from a swinging bag.
Think about it... what other object can you find that will give you an object to rip into with your fists, that actually mimics the relative weight of a human body.
In addition to building impressive upper body musculature and jaw shattering power, you are FORCED to move with the bag, the whole time while throwing strikes. Now not only are you simulating a human target, you are simulating human movement.
Combine those things with a whole lot of hard work, and you will build gnarly fighting skills, and a hell of an impressive physique. If you do enough heavy bag work, even the strikes that your opponent BLOCKS will scare the crap out of him.
Here are the things you really need in a heavy bag:
- The bag absolutely must hang from the ceiling. If it just stands in place like the "Wave Master" or that stupid thing that looks like a torso, you don't get to build your footwork, and you end up reinforcing a FAKE idea of what fight movement actually feels like. Then, when you actually need to move around in a fight, you're tired because your legs have no idea how to move yourself around.
Your entries and exits are arguably more important than your punches. A bag that swings will build them.
- The bag must hang to a few inches above the ground. Many traditional boxing heavy bags only hang to the waste... but that doesn't help you build your LOW KICKS. It takes months of shin conditioning to be able to throw that strike with reckless abandon, heavy bags give you that ability. After years of clubbing on the bottom of a heavy bag, your shins become hardened weapons of absolute destruction. That's what you want.
- Your bag should be shipped STUFFED already. People get confused when they see a great deal on a heavy bag, and they get a shriveled empty sack in the mail. A flaccid heavy bag is depressing. Yes, you can stuff a bag with shredded clothes from a thrift store, but you'll probably never get around to it, and just end up with your shriveled sack sitting in a corner collecting dust. That's no way to build your skills.
- Your bag should be hung properly. A heavy bag attached directly to a joist (ceiling beam) can make it sound like your house is being torn down. These vibrations will make your other family members hate you, and it creates an unpleasant training environment. Plus, it's bad for your house, and it's bad for your bag.
Here are the bags that I recommend:
I've inadvertently trained with just about every brand of equipment in the past 20 years... and when it comes to the items that absorb abuse, Fairtex makes the best stuff. It lasts forever, and it's incredibly well made.
This heavy bag is no exception... you will never have to buy another for the rest of your life, and it's an absolute pleasure to strike.
Plus the brown leathery style matches my gloves and other gear... which I like.
I've beaten the hell out of a lot of Ringside stuff, and while the gloves may fall apart, the bags stand the test of time.
This heavy bag isn't squishy or comfortable to strike, but that in turn allows you to condition your shins on this thing... and you'll save some $$$. The padding will not be evenly distributed, and tends to sag to the bottom of the bag... so at the top, you're punching a leathery sack, and at the bottom, you're kicking a rock.
This is the nature of the beast. If you're already going to open your wallet and spend $200, in my opinion, get the BEST bag that you can. It can be a once in a lifetime purchase.
Now HANGING your bag properly is insanely important... especially if you don't want the entire building to shake.
Chains won't absorb shock, so it will sound like the whole house is coming down. Bungee cords always stretch and break. The solution is in the correct hardware!