Punching bags are synonymous with boxing although they are also heavily used in other forms of martial arts; Muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, and karate. One thing that most people don’t seem to realize, however, is that the standard heavy bag isn’t the only punching bag available. Actually, ‘‘punching bags’’ is an umbrella term for a variety of workout tools including traditional heavy bag, long/banana heavy bag, angled punching bag, wrecking ball heavy bag, and speed bags.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the best punching bags in 2021. Note that while some of these bags (for instance the traditional heavy bag) may cut across all branches of martial arts, most of them don’t fit everywhere. That being said, you’ll want to go for a bag that helps you hone your skills depending on what you do.
If you are not sure what types of punching bags fit the branch of martial arts that you major in (boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, etc) or your level of expertise, we really recommend that you scroll down to the bottom of this article first for better understanding.
Our section of the best punching bag buying guide, has everything that you need to maneuver your way to the perfect bag for your workouts. Otherwise, let’s go directly to the reviews.
Top 8 Best Punching Bags Reviews
The Ringside 100 lb is slowly unseating some of the most popular punching bag brands to become a favorite for most boxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts facilities. This model is currently boasting a good sway in the market credit to its excellent construction design and great pricing.
The Ringside 100 lb will definitely fit the bill if you are looking for a great alternative to leather punching bags. While it’s not the cheapest here, the fact that it comes ready to use right off the box plus its sturdily built hanging design makes it a worthwhile investment.
With a body length of 55 inches/4.5 foot and a diameter of around 14 inches, the Outslayer is a bag that has really hit a home run on all the major fronts that appertain to a great heavy bag. This bag is a notch heavier than the Ringside above and might, therefore, appeal if you think that the latter isn’t good enough for your heavy punches.
We have to admit that the Outslayer is on the higher end of the price spectrum. But its heavy-duty stitching and adjustability make it one the best punching bags for the money. The heavy-duty construction backed by the 10-year warranty and 300-pound maximum weight capacity means that all you’ll need is to add more filling once you’ve outgrown the current weight as opposed to buying a heavier bag.
Our third best recommendation in these punching bag reviews is from Contender- another brand of Ringside that is known not only for its unquestionable quality in its vast fighting gear but its unbelievable price tags too. What we are looking at here is a pure leather classic heavy bag with a promise of long-lasting performance and great structural finesse.
This bag is twice as expensive as most vinyl punching bags of a similar size. But it is also several folds durable. Again, it costs almost half the price of what most pure leather bags cost even without including the value of the included hardware (chain, D-rings, and swivel). We like that this bag is offered in 2 lengths and a choice of 3 weights. Thus, you can get a bag that best meets your needs.
If you enjoy keeping up with the latest combat tools and you have a heavy bag already, we have something that might add a whole new dimension to your training: the Aqua Training Bag Bad Boy.
The Aqua is a real bad boy and a must-have for anyone who is looking for the best punching bag for Muay Thai and kickboxing. This model has a great design to help you master your uppercuts and hook punches that a traditional heavy bag might not allow. Again, the filling (water) gives it a good amount of resistance to help develop strength and power without spraining your wrist or breaking bones. The only thing to keep in mind is that moving it without emptying can prove a real pain in the butt.
Next up is what most people would prefer to call the future of heavy bags. This model is a bit odd among other items in our punching bag reviews. But that is its strength. You might want to go with this bag especially if you are in the hunt for a versatile bag that is super easy to deal with more so if you move a lot.
The MaxxMMA is a great tool if you are looking for a bag that will grow with you. Its ease of assembling and disassembling also means that you can pull it out from the storage and use it and later store it away after the training. Its major drawback is that it can’t go over the 140-pound mark. Thus, it might not interest you if you are looking for something heavier than this.
Hint: This manufacturer currently has a promotional package that includes the MaxxMMA heavy bag, a pair of machine-washable bag gloves, hand wraps, and a skipping rope. This package is just a few bucks pricier than the bag alone and it’s definitely an irresistible deal if you are building a gym at home.
The major challenge that most wall-hung punching bags present is their difficult installation processes. If you live in a rented apartment where you are not allowed to drill on the ceiling, you might need to purchase or make a stand that might cost you another amount. But that’s where the best standalone punching bags come in.
These models offer the best of both worlds in that they don’t require complicated installation processes and yet they perform just as their hung alternatives. The Century Wavemaster XXL is one of the best recommendations in this category, and for a few reasons.
The Century Wavemaster XXL is worth looking into if you don’t want a bag that you’ll need to drill into the ceiling. It’s quite pricey compared to the other models here but a good bargain considering its ease of use especially in a tight home gym.
RDX always has a way of making an appearance in most of our best combat gear collections: from the best boxing gloves for women to the best hand wraps and now to punching bags. What we have here is perhaps the best deal on this list. If you are pimping your home gym and you have a lengthy list of items that you need to buy, this might be your dream come true!
This is one of those fantastic deals that you rarely come across every other day. Heavy bags alone cost top dollar. And they get even pricier once you include the cost of the installation hardware and other must-have workout accessories such as gloves and hand wraps. And that is why getting all these essentials in one package at a price that no one can beat makes the RDX a sure bet here.
Are you in need of the best punching bag for children? TKO has it. This is a 25-pound bag that is recommended for kids aged 4 years all the way to their teenage. It might be a nice addition to your children’s teaching tools especially if they have some interest in martial arts.
The TKO is a superb way of introducing an upcoming boxer to the heavy bag. It’s not meant for aspiring fighters only though. This will also be a great addition to your kid’s play and learning tools and can aid in honing several skills including physical coordination besides strengthening their body. What you’ll love most is that even at its lower price, this bag has a great construction design and comes with the necessary installation hardware, a pair of gloves and a skipping rope.
What is the importance of a punching bag? Generally, all punching bags are ideal for honing your offensive skills although some such as the double-end/crazy bags also do aid in exercising the defensive skills as well.
This is to say that each bag has a specific benefit unique to it. And this explains why they come in different types, sizes, and weight. Some of the best punching bags aim at developing speed and timing while others work on your power and combinations.
The traditional heavy bag that is used across of genres of martial arts is a great place to develop muscle and strength. Working the heavy bag diligently and regularly also aids in building strength to your core besides developing new and different combinations.
A speed bag, on the other hand, aid with speed and eye-hand coordination- a pair of skills that helps you to unleash your core strength in a timely and effective manner.
Read more about these benefits in the next section on what to look for when buying a punching bag.
HOW WE PICKED THE BEST PUNCHING BAGS
Punching bags come in different varieties, and it’s highly recommendable that you understand them all before committing to one. This eliminates the possibility of spending on a certain model only to realize later that it was not exactly what you needed.
Here is a glimpse of the most common:
Traditional Heavy bag: we beg to begin with this model because it is the most common and what most people have in mind whenever they think of a punching bag.
The traditional heavy bag is the most versatile workout tool and can be found in any Boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA gym. This is a big, multipurpose bag that you can be used to develop muscles and power since it is meant to be hit harder. In addition, it helps in improving footwork since you need to view it as an opponent thereby creating the urge to move around it.
Besides improving your strength at the core and footwork, the bag also conditions your bones and tendons to hold out against the impacts of powerful strikes.
Banana heavy bag: this model is similar to the traditional heavy bag but it has several nuances that set it apart in terms of usability. Banana heavy bags are long (around 6ft in height) and notably slimmer compared to the classic heavy bag. They are designed to mimic the full length of an opponent and don’t swing so much.
Who needs a banana heavy bag? Due to their lengthy design, these models are low-hanging and are ideal for training low kicks and low-kick combos. That being said, these bags are common in kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA training facilities since you can utilize all your weapons on them.
Teardrop heavy bag: true to its name, this bag takes the shape of a teardrop and for a reason. The design of this bag allows the users to exercise and vary their punch delivery and knee, kicks, and elbow strikes from any direction.
Their shape also allows you to work out your uppercuts and hook punches and this is what positions them perfectly for kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Angled Heavy Bag: this version of heavy bags is a hybrid between a teardrop and a banana punching bag. Its unusual shape allows you to exercise an array of low kicks techniques coupled with uppercut strikes at the top.
One of the best punching bags for boxing, kickboxing, and muay thai, this is a recommendable piece of equipment especially if you want to get just one heavy bag but you want something more versatile than a classic bag.
Depending on the punching bag brand, the length of these units may vary from 4ft to 6ft and you can also get them in a double or single style.
Wrecking ball bags: These types of heavy bags are commonplace in boxing gyms and you’ll very rarely see them in Muay Thai facilities. In addition, despite being readily available in most gyms, most beginners tend to avoid them in favor of the heavy bag. But as any experienced fighter will tell you, the former has a few benefits that you just can’t get with the typical heavy bag.
A wrecking ball bag allows you to exercise off-angle shots, uppercuts, deep head movements, footwork with punch angles, and close distance work. If you are contemplating buying either a heavy bag or a wrecking ball, we would advise you to get the one that you have the least access to.
Regardless of the model that you consider to be the best punching bag for home gym, the next thing that you’ll need to put into consideration is the outer shell’s construction material. Usually, the construction material determines the durability of the bag, its feel, and its price tag. Another thing; it also affects the durability of your other boxing accessories such as boxing gloves and wraps too.
The best leather punching bags such as the Contender Fight Sports cost top dollar in relation to most synthetic and canvas heavy bags. But these are models that are bound to give you over a decade of heavy use.
Synthetic punching bags, on the other hand, are the most common and they offer a sweet spot between affordability and durability. If you are just starting out and are looking for a bag that will hold up well without having to spend the earth on it, this category definitely has something for you.
Canvas heavy bags are the cheapest. They are not that bad and will fit the bill if you won’t be punching on it every other day. But don’t expect them to last as long as leather and synthetic models.
We should also mention here that canvas has almost no give to it especially when filled with hard fillings. And that is to say that you’ll be running through your bag gloves much faster especially if they are of a poor quality. Lastly, you really don’t want to hit a canvas bag without your gloves.
All in all, whether you opt to go for a leather or synthetic bag, remember that what matters most is the integrity of the construction especially on the seams and straps. Double stitching and reinforcements also offer a nice touch in terms of durability and resistance to intense and regular workouts.
Depending on the brand, the punching bag may come filled, unfilled, or pre-filled. Filled heavy bags come at a relatively higher price but they save you the hassle of filling them up. The major drawback is that you might not have control over the type of filling used. In addition, you have almost zero control of the weight of the bag and this means that you’ll need to scour a little bit harder to get a model that meets your exact needs with regard to filling style and weight.
Pre-filled bags ship filled with one type of material thereby allowing you to fill it up with another filling of your choice.
Unfilled heavy bags are way cheaper than the first 2 options and give you total freedom with regard to the type of filling. However, if you intend to use water as the filling, ensure that your target bag has been designed for that. Again, inquire beforehand the maximum weight capacity that the bag can withstand.
The weight of the bag is yet another huge decision that you’ll need to make especially if you are purchasing a filled bag already. The weight of the bag affects its sway, but this also depends on the type of hitter (heavy or lighter hitter).
Usually, the heavier the bag is, the lesser it will sway. This makes it easy to create and maintain a fantastic rhythm in your workouts. You don’t want to go with the heaviest bag in the market though especially if you are not a heavy hitter. Such a bag hinders your ability to land your punches just as you’d like them.
Average-weight punching bags range from 60 pounds to 70 pounds and they make the best boxing heavy bag for the average boxer. Heavy punchers with excellent hitting capabilities go with 100+lbs bags.
If you are not sure what weight will appeal for your needs, perhaps the best idea would be to go with the rule of thumb: consider a bag that weighs half your weight.
Freestanding vs. Hang Punching Bag
Another major decision that you’ll need to make is whether to go for a freestanding or a hanging heavy bag. Both of these have their merits and demerits but the major decisive factors will be your budget and where you intend to use the heavy bag.
Hanging bag: Hands down, a hanging heavy punching bag is the most popular with professional martial arts practitioners. These models swing with every strike thereby creating an intimately realistic situation that allows you to work out your combat skills. Secondly, these bags’ movements also develop your defensive skills in that you judge when to dodge, step away, or block it.
The major challenge that hanging bags present is on the installation bit. Given their weight, you’ll need to find a strong and stable base to hang them. You might also need to do some drilling and this might be a problem especially if you live in a rented apartment. In addition, working out a hang heavy bag might be challenging if you don’t have enough space for you to move around it as it swings.
Free-standing bag: the good news with these bags is that they require no installation at all. Most of them come already filled with foam. So, all you do is fill the base with either water or sand and start punching. The foam used for their filling also makes them light and friendly to your knuckles and legs.
Another great feature of freestanding heavy bags is that they are much easier to move around and can, therefore, be stored away when not in use.
Unfortunately, the lightweight and knuckle-friendly attributes of these models are their major drawbacks as well. Low weight means that they have minimal resistance and this makes it a little bit harder to focus on strength development
In addition, since they are designed to remain static, they don’t create the best environment for you to exercise your defensive skills that a hanging bag would.
Q: Which is the best filling for a heavy punching bag?
A: There are a lot of punch bag fillings that you can go with. It all depends on your preference, the availability of those materials, and the compatibility with your bag. Water offers the easiest alternative if you have a water-filled punching bag. Other options include sand, rags or old clothes, rubber dust, and rice.
Q: Can I punch a heavy bag bare-knuckled?
A: There are a lot of opinions going around on this issue. But the bottom line is that hitting a heavy punching bag bare-knuckled can break your hand and even ruin your career. In addition, without your gloves, you’ll tend to temper your punches thereby holding you back from reaching your full potential. If you earnestly want to build muscle and power, we’d advise you to put on a good pair of gloves.
On the other hand, it’s usually a good idea to hit the bag bare-knuckled every now and then. Doing this can help you toughen the skin on your knuckles, the bones, and the connective tissues. However, your main focus when hitting a heavy bag without gloves should be on accuracy and technique, not strength.
Q: What is the importance of a punching bag?
A: This depends on the type of punching bag in question. The classic heavy bag is a great place to build power and muscle. It also gets you accustomed to unloading the most powerful shots and putting your weight into your offensive techniques. A speed bag, on the other hand, helps you build hand speed and eye-hand coordination whereas a double-end speed bag bridges the gap between a heavy bag and a speed bag.
Q: Should I get a heavy bag or a speed bag?
A: Both of these are vital especially if you practice professional martial arts. They tend to complement each other in that whereas a heavy bag helps you develop strength, working a speed bag develops your ability to throw powerful punches in a timely and effective manner (read more about the best speed bags here).