Muay Thai: Standing Bag Or Heavy Bag?

By Sean Fagan

One of the most popular exercises for Muay Thai is to practice on punching bags. But, one debate has been a constant mainstay in the Muay Thai community - what type of bag is better for Muay Thai, standing or heavy?

Both standing and heavy bags come with their own set of pros and cons that need to be weighed against each other. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Standing Bags

Standing bags are freestanding bags that do not require any support or installation. They are often used by beginners or those who enjoy cardio-based workouts. They can be adjusted for height by telescoping the pole. They offer a stationary target that can be hit and kicked from any angle.


  • Standing bags are adjustable and can be used by people of any height.
  • They offer a stable and predictable target for those practicing on them.
  • They have a broad surface area, allowing people to practice various techniques.
  • They can be moved easily and can be stored away when not in use.


  • They don't offer the same resistance as heavy bags, which can lead to less effective training.
  • They can tip over if hit too hard, which can lead to dangerous situations.
  • Leg kicks are tough (if not impossible) to land on a standing bag.

 << Need More Help Deciding Between Muay Thai Bags? Watch This! >>

Heavy Bags

Heavy bags are a favorite for those who want to practice their strength and technique. They are sturdy bags that are usually installed using a ceiling mount or stand. They come in various weights and sizes, and they are preferred for power-based training. They are used to build up a fighter’s explosive power, speed, and stamina.


  • Heavy bags provide resistance, making them ideal for building technique and strength in training.
  • They provide a realistic simulation of an opponent, making it great for practicing precision strikes.
  • They don't move or tip over easily, which makes them safer to use.
  • They are a better representation of an opponent, thus providing a more optimal training experience.


  • Heavy bags require installation and permanent space in your home or gym.
  • They cannot be moved easily or be stored away when not in use.
  • Using a heavy bag can be more challenging for beginners.


Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, whether you choose a standing bag or a heavy bag depends on what you’re looking for in your training. Standing bags are perfect for beginners to practice technique and flexibility. They're also great for people who enjoy cardio-based workouts. Heavy bags, on the other hand, are for those who want to focus more on power and strength training. They are great for more experienced fighters to build up their power and stamina.

In any case, you can always choose to have both types of bags in your routine, as they offer completely different benefits. But if you have to pick just one, you should choose based on your experience level and goals.

Personally speaking? I'd recommend a heavy bag. In Thailand, it is the bag of choice 99% of the time. That said, a standing bag has some benefits, especially if you're limited on the space you can use. 

Training on heavy or standing bags can increase your chances of achieving success in this sport. Both standing and heavy bags have their pros and cons that should be considered before making a choice. So consider your training goals and experience level before purchasing a bag. Both have unique advantages, so make sure to choose the one that works best for you.

Feed Your Muay Thai Addiction!

Join our "Muay Thai Mondays" email newsletter for the latest updates on new videos, special events and everything Muay Thai!


50% Complete

Get Exclusive Deals And Updates On Upcoming Muay Thai Vacations!