Sizes of Punching Bags

by Steve Silverman

About Steve Silverman

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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Fighters hit a variety of punching bags when they are trying to get into shape or preparing for a boxing match. The speed bag and the floor-to-ceiling bags are all fairly similar. The heavy bag comes in a variety sizes and weights, though. While smaller fighters tend to use smaller heavy bags, each fighter has different goals and needs a heavy bag that fits what she is trying to accomplish.

General Guidelines

When choosing a punching bag, select a bag that is about half your weight. This ensures the bag isn't too heavy for your to use effectively. If you are a heavy hitter and are on the border or two sizes, select the larger size. If you're buying a bag to keep around the house and anticipate your kids will use it, look at inflatable options that are both easy to store and easy to use.

Lightest Bag

The 40-pound bag is appropriate if you weight 130 pounds or less. This bag will not provide the resistance of a heavier bag, but it will test a lighter boxer's ability to deliver a series of power punches for three minutes at a time. Once you can go through a three-minute drill of punching a 40-pound heavy bag without exhausting yourself, move up to a heavier bag.

Medium-Heavy Bag

A bag that weights between 60 and 80 pounds is appropriate for fighters over 130 pounds and up to about 175 pounds. This is a medium-sized heavy bag and while heavyweight fighters use larger bags, this bag will test your punching ability, build your power and also increase your endurance. One of the keys to hitting the heavy bag successfully is to use your entire body when punching. This is particularly true of a bag this size or bigger because you need to incorporate your legs, hips, core muscles and upper body in addition to your arms if you are going to get the most out of your workout.

Heavy Bag

Bags above 80 pounds are used by boxers at the cruiserweight and heavyweight levels looking to develop a powerful knockout punch. Cruiserweight fighters are usually 175 to 200 pounds, while heavyweights are 200 pounds or more. Bigger fighters need the greater resistance to develop the type of powerful punch that can punish an opponent. This weight of bag requires that you use your full body to get the most out of your workout and avoid injuries.

Material

Heavy bags are filled with three different types of material. They include the hard-fill bag that is usually filled with shredded rubber, the soft-fill bag that is filled with shredded rubber and foam and the water-filled bag. The hard-fill bag is the toughest on the hands and joints. The soft-fill bag is better for fighters who have had hand and joint injuries, while the water-filled bag is an effective test of endurance and also benefits those who have had hand and knuckle injuries. If you're hanging the bag outside, avoid a bag covered in vinyl or leather as it will quickly ruin in the weather. A canvas-covered bag works well outdoors as it can withstand the elements.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.