The heavy bag is undoubtedly an important piece of training equipment.
Heavy bag drills not only build up endurance and strength but hone technique and help one develop and perfect combinations.
There are many useful exercises, but here is a selection of five to experiment with during the next training session.
#1: 100 Push Kicks/Teeps
Focus on accuracy and control.
When you kick, time each one with the backswing of the bag so that you fall into a rhythm. View the bag as an opponent: don’t let it gain the advantage and follow-up each kick with another before the bag can swing back.
Keep your kicks sharp and quick during each rep. Try to land each one in the same spot so that the bag swings back and forth rather than all over the place.
Alternate your stance after each rep. Take your time between reps if you need to, but maintain speed while you kick.
1. Begin with left/right leg
2. Continuous teeps (/10)
3. Alternate to other leg
4. Continuous teeps (/10)
5. Repeat steps until reaching 100 (five sets per leg)
#2: Interval Training
Interval training is excellent for building endurance and strength.
This will get hearts racing in no time. Have a timer handy. The first 30 seconds is about technique.
Freestyling is encouraged here, but don’t be predictable. Mix things up. Practice knee strikes, jabs, hooks, roundhouse kicks, etc.
Don’t worry about power. To repeat: this is about using good technique. As such, use proper form. Check out this handy technique to learn how to keep the chin tucked.
The next 60 seconds will be about speed. The first 30 will incorporate straight punches, while the next 30 will focus on knee strikes. That’s why it’s important to pace oneself in the beginning of the exercise to conserve energy.
The final 30 seconds is about heavy banging. Concentrate on powerful striking.
After, rest for 15 seconds and repeat the process once more if possible. There’s no problem with only doing this exercise once. There is up to five seconds of transition time in between each drill.
00:30: Technique (focus on proper form)
00:30: Speed (continuous; alternating straight punches with high knees)
00:30: Speed (alternating knee strikes)
00:30: Power (hard, fast punches while moving around the bag)
#3: Three Rounds
Drills are useful at perfecting moves so that they’re second nature. They condition a body’s reaction time.
This exercise is all about combos. Maximum power isn’t important here. Using proper form and technique is key.
This is three rounds, each three minutes long.
The combos performed are a mixture of punches and kicks. This way, you’ll get into a comfortable rhythm of how it feels to switch between them in a real fight.
Round 1: Jab + Right cross + Left low kick
Round 2: Right cross + Double left hook + Right hook + Left low kick
Round 3: Body kick (left) + Right cross + Body kick (left) + Right cross + Left hook + Body kick (right)
#4: 50 + 50 Roundhouse Kicks
When performed correctly, a roundhouse can be absolutely devastating. When performed incorrectly, it’s all but useless.
Training roundhouse kicks on a heavy bag not only helps develop technique and power, but it also better conditions one’s shins.
A. Practice 50 roundhouse kicks to various parts of the body (head, body, leg).
B. Move around the bag to train footwork.
C. Switch to other leg once all 50 all complete. Repeat exercise.
#5: Power Training
The heavy bag helps generate power from the body’s core, making each strike stronger.
The point here is to build power, so hit the bag hard.
Don’t worry about time while doing the exercise. Take as long as needed to complete it. Again, the purpose is developing power, not speed.
This is a basic exercise routine, but there is plenty of room for mixing it up.
Rest up for a minute afterward and repeat the entire exercise twice more.
Jab x 10
Roundhouse Kick x 20 (left x 10, right x 10)
Right Cross x 10
Right Body Kick x 10
Left Hook x 10
Left Body Kick x 10
Right Kick x 10
Right Hook x 10
Left Kick x 10
Rest for one minute. Repeat two times.
There is no specific order for these exercises; try each at a suitable pace. Each exercise will provide a lot of benefits related to speed, strength, coordination, and stamina.
Though it may be one of the older pieces of equipment, stuffed away in some dusty corner of the gym, the heavy bag is an endlessly dynamic tool to improving striking creativity and effectiveness.
Ultimate 20 Minute Heavy Bag Workout (Follow-Along)
Want to put some of these heavy bag drills into action? Try following along with me as I take you through a full 20 minute heavy bag workout for Muay Thai.
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