Box Your Way To A Better You: The Benefits Of Heavy Bag Training - The Ultimate Full Body Workout
Getting Started: Mounting The Bag
Nothing's more satisfying than unleashing a barrage of well placed punches on a heavy bag. It not only improves your fighting form, it also gives your body a great aerobic, and anaerobic workout.
Before you begin, you need to hang your bag from a sturdy mounting point. Heavy bags can weigh between 60 lbs and 100 lbs. You need a solid place to hang it from. There are several options to do this, some recommend getting special brackets that screw to your rafters. This may still cause undesirable noise and vibration to the inhabitants above you. Some builders also think that this is very bad for wood framed houses as the constant impact of the bag slowly shakes the house apart.
A more attractive option may be a freestanding metal frame that you would hang your heavy bag from. A little more expensive but a lot easier to install and reduces noise and concern of structural damage to your home.
Protect Your Hands!
Before you start going at the punching bag like a mad man, you need to consider the health of your hands. Your hands contain many small and fragile bones that can be easily shattered by the repeated hard impact against hard spots on the surface of the bag. I say hard spot because many bags are filled with cloth and sandbags. Sometimes after repeated punches the sandbags settle close to the surface of the punching area creating a hand crushing hard spot.
You need your hands. You eat with them, and write with them. Your hands are precision machines capable of a wide range of important day to day tasks, such as grooming. You don't want to have constant pain in your hands in your boxing afterlife.
You will need your hands in your retirement to do stuff like go fishing, open prescription pill bottles, knitting, pushing the shutter on a camera, using a mouse and keyboard to book trips to various destinations.... the list is endless...
What is the one most important thing you can do to protect your hands? Use hand wraps.
Hand wraps are rolls of 2" wide cotton like material that look like bandages. They range from 108" for youths and women to 180" for bigger hands. The hand wrap, much as the name implies, is wrapped around your hand in a snug manner in order to encase the hand into a solid fist. This fist compresses all the bones together in a compact ball which resists the tiny bones in your hand from moving around to much and being vulnerable to fractures and breaks.
Here is an excellent site that describes the best way to apply the hand wrap correctly: http://www.expertboxing.com/boxing-basics/how-to-box/how-to-wrap-your-hands
Along with the wraps you should also wear your boxing gloves. The gloves provide cushion between your hand and the bag. Despite all this protection to your hands you can still hurt them if you throw a badly landed punch. This is why you should start slow and light to get used to the right punching technique.
Never Punch The Bag With Cold Muscles!
Make sure you warm up your muscles before you start punching the bag.
Going at it cold is just begging for injuries to joints and ligaments, as well as arthritis problems later on in life. Don't go at it bare-knuckled like those goons you'll see on YouTube, it's just not worth destroying your hands and wrists to look tough.
Types Of Punches
The Jab: Delivered from the guard position (hands up), the jab is a quick punch intended to stun your opponent. Often the first in a series of punches, it can be used to judge the reach of your opponent. If you are right handed you would most likely jab with your left hand and cross with your right.
The Cross: The cross is often the "power punch" as it comes from behind the guard position and gets it's power from the rotation of the torso while the punch is thrown. It usually follows the jab in a one-two combo.
The Hook: A punch delivered at a 90° angle to the side of the opponents head or body.
The Uppercut: This punch is aimed at the chin and jaw area and comes from below.
During your workout you can create your own intricate patterns of punch combinations called "drills", or you can just punch the bag at will doing different punch combos every time.
Just remember to go easy on the bag (as well as your hands and wrists). Avoid pushing the bag as you punch. Make quick punches that snap away from the bag as quickly as you launch them. This will build good speed in your technique.
Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercise In Disguise
As you punch away your stress, you will realise at some point that you are sweating... you may also notice your arms, back, chest, abs, and legs getting a little tired. You are getting a killer aerobic workout from the constant movement of your body. Your arm, chest, and back muscles are also working hard to throw out those punches. Meanwhile your abdominal muscles are getting a workout while twisting your torso to deliver those cross and hook punches. All the while your legs are also contributing to dance your body around to follow the swinging of the bag.
Awesome workout, great conditioning tool. You gotta try it.