If you’re being a smart person, you’re probably doing your best to maintain social distancing by spending most of your time inside your home. While this is the smartest and most responsible thing to do, it can suck as a Nak Muay who needs their training fix. This means a ton of us are looking to buy a heavy bag (if you weren’t already) to help give us our fix.
It’s easy to see why, since there are tons of different drills, strategies and tactics that you can practice with a bag of your own.
TWO STYLES TO CHOOSE FROM
Bags are a great tool to have in a home gym and lucky there are a ton of options for you to choose from. That being said, a lot of options can also make it a bit overwhelming and you might not know where to start when you’re looking for one.
During your heavy bag search as a Muay Thai practitioner, you’re going to come by two types of bags most of the time: a traditional boxing heavy bag and a Muay Thai heavy bag.
Differences Between The Heavy Bags
We’ll start with the standard Western-style heavy bag because you are going to come across this type of heavy bag the most if you live in the Western world.
These bags are the ones you can find in almost any gym in North America and I’m talking normal weight lifting gyms not just Muay Thai or Martial Arts ones. You’ve seen these before, even the laziest couch potatoes know what these bags look like.
These bags tend to be one and a half meters long, or nearly 60 inches for the Americans reading this and about 33 centimetres, or 13.25 inches, in diameter. They usually weigh around 90 lbs – 110 lbs though you can easily find heavier bags.
They tend to run around $100 to $200 depending are where you're looking and you can get them either filled or unfilled.
In terms of using them for your Muay Thai training, you can work your hands a lot with these bags. You can do pretty much every technique you can think of: kicks, knees, elbows or punches, but there is one thing that you can’t do with this bag.
You really can’t train low kicks with boxing heavy bags (unless you’re tall). With low kicks being super important in Muay Thai, this is a big disadvantage. Also, with these heavy bags being smaller and lighter than other ones, kicking them makes them swing a lot.
If you’re looking for a solid Olympic boxing -style heavy bag, here is a fine example.
Now onto the Muay Thai heavy bag, also known as a long heavy bag or a banana bag. These bags are the ones that you see in Muay Thai and MMA gyms.
These bags are usually about 1.83 meters or 6 feet in length and they have about the same diameter as boxing heavy bags. These bags are also heavier than traditional heavy bags, due to the added length and this helps to limit the amount of swinging that the bag does.
This bag lets you train all of your Muay Thai techniques, including the all-important low kick. You do need to be careful with low kicks though, as many of these kinds of heavy bags have a lot of their weight sink into the bottom, making it super dense and hard. So, if your shins aren’t the strongest yet, go a little light on the low kicks or at least check how hard the bottom is before you kick it.
These bags are also a bit more expensive than Western boxing heavy bags; more materials make it cost more. This might make them a little too expensive for you. In that case, you should be fine with a Western heavy bag, but if you’re a Nak Muay with the spare change, go for a Muay Thai heavy bag!
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Filling A Heavy Bag
A lot of the heavy bags that you find online are going to be filled while some aren’t and some give you the option to buy pre-filled or empty. Buying empty is a good way to save more than a few bucks on your bag, but it can be hard to fill it yourself.
In terms of what to use to fill your bag, most people use either old clothes or rags, sawdust or sand. If you’re going with some old clothes that you don’t wear anymore, remember to remove any buttons or zippers. Some people recommend to cut up clothes and rags into pieces and loading them in that way as it helps more evenly distribute weight.
Many handy guides exist on the web, describing it detail how to fill your own heavy bag.
Muay Thai Heavy Bag Training
Once you are finally able to decide on what heavy bag you’re going to get for yourself, you’re going to need some ways to use them. Most people find it really difficult to set their own schedule and drills, so use YouTube to the best of your ability to find one or more of the awesome instructional videos out there.
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