This quarantine sucks for just about everybody, and us nak muays have the struggle of needing to get out training fix on top of that.
We’ve talked a lot recently about buying your heavy bag and on workouts to do once you get one or if you already have one. These are great to tide you over until gyms start to open up, but with every passing day, it seems like we are going to be waiting a while. This means that if you have your heavy bag or are going to get one, you two are going to get pretty acquainted.
But maybe you want to do more than just work out! Maybe you are a newcomer to Muay Thai and don’t know how to train on the heavy bag by yourself.
Well, don’t worry you’ve come to the right article. We’re going to go over some tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your heavy bag workout.
#1: Pace Yourself
It’s easy to see a heavy bag and just go all out right away with power and combinations. First off, that isn’t sustainable; no matter where your cardio's at, you will burn out.
Second, it's just not a good workout. Doing a few 30-second burnouts won't give you as much of a workout as if you did three solid rounds of 2-, 3- or 5-minutes bag drills.
This is not to say that you should never go hard or burnout a few times over your bag work session, but that should never be the main focus of a heavy bag session. You should be working combinations and pacing yourself like you would in a real fight. You can add five to ten seconds of going hard now and then, just like bursts that do happen in fights.
You need to remember that you should be on the bag for multiple rounds of a few minutes each, so try to start slow and remember that every technique you land doesn’t have to be the hardest.
#2: Train With Intent
The second thing to keep in mind when working on the heavy bag is that you need to do more than just “work” on it. When you're working on a heavy bag, you need to hit and train with intent, meaning that you are doing more than just throwing some punches at kicks at the bag meaninglessly without any rhyme or reason.
When you’re on the heavy bag, think about how you would be striking if you were in a real fight or sparring session. This means you aren’t just throwing whatever techniques you want, this means using specific combinations and setups, like throwing out your jab before going for that right low kick.
When you’re on the heavy bag, also think about how certain strikes are easier to throw off of others. You can also learn how to set up strikes, like how you should throw a high kick after landing a few low kicks.
This also means that you really need to throw your techniques properly to the best of your ability and not just going through the motions on the bag. Once again, this doesn’t mean everything you throw has to be hard, but that you need to use proper technique when throwing every strike.
#3: Visualize An Opponent
This ties into the last few points a bit.
Visualizing is something you should do if you are training on a bag and not simply working out to burn a few extra calories. By that, I mean that if you are training for a fight or are working on some new combinations, you should do your best to imagine that you're landing shots on a real person.
This can be difficult, as (most) people don’t look like long, leather bags, but what I mean is that you should try to aim at a certain point on the bag and not just throw wherever. This means if you are trying to throw a jab to the body, don’t just punch a little lower than usual; visualize an opponent around your size and jab where their body is (or whatever you are targeting).
The last important point is one that is very easy to forget and most people do - even pros!
It's a lot of fun to hit the bag. Everyone loves hitting a heavy bag. But how many of us like working defense on the bag?
Doing this can be a bit difficult as your bag probably isn’t trying to attack you, but this is where the visualization we just talked about comes into play. In between your combinations, you should be working on defensive movements; if you’re experienced, you can even try to work them into your combos.
One thing that I like to do that’s easy is checking throughout my heavy bag sessions, especially after combinations. That's when a real-life opponent is going to be throwing back heat.
#5: Control The Bag
A good way to tell if you’re pushing with your punches rather than snapping is to see how much the bag moves. If you’re pushing with punches, the bag will start swinging around a lot, which is a good sign for kicks... but not so much for punches. If you ever want to limit the bag’s swing, you’re going to need to work on your technique.
Swinging can be a useful thing though, as a swinging bag is a great tool for developing counters, especially teeps, as well as footwork.
Here are some additional useful tips so you can hit the bag like a pro fighter:
#6: MOVE, MAN! MOVE!
The number-one thing that those new to hitting the heavy bag do (and it’s a terrible habit to build) is, they forget to move.
It’s easy to become hyper-focused on your technique and combinations and then forget about your footwork, especially if you’re a beginner. Remember that footwork is the basis for all of your striking ability; without it, you’re just a guy winging wild punches.
In between combinations and strikes, move around! this way you an develop the habit of moving out of the way of your opponent before they have a chance to strike back at you. This will stop you from becoming a stand-and-bang fighter, which isn’t good for your health or longevity in the sport of Muay Thai especially.
Enjoy this type of heavy bag training? Then you'll LOVE my complete heavy bag training program called The Heavy Bag Blueprint 2.0 which includes:
- 100 Muay Thai Combination Tutorials
- 35 Heavy Bag Drills
- 30 Muay Thai Heavy Bag Workouts
- And a 24-Week Heavy Bag Training Program
This Heavy Bag Workout Program is the PERFECT tool to help you in every aspect of your Muay Thai game. With a step-by-step, easy to follow program, you can transform your striking skills in no time.
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