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Top reasons to work a heavy bag

Drew Brashier

In a world of complex workout machines and fly-by-night gadgets, there is one old fashioned, tried and true piece of equipment that has been around for decades. You guessed it; I’m talking about a good old heavy bag. There are multiple types of heavy bags that can be utilized. There are long bags, short bags, wrecking balls, silhouette/body bags, and several other variations. Each bag is made to perform a slightly different function, or allow you to punch and kick from a different angle. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to give you a great workout.

As enjoyable as it may be to run up simulated hills or shake your way to fitness, punching and kicking a heavy bag is an enjoyable, easy, and effective workout that almost anyone can do.

Here are the top reasons to work out with a heavy bag:

  1. Improve Cardio –

Training on a heavy bag at the right intensity can really push your respiratory system. The combination of punches and kicks while moving around the bag provides a full body aerobic exercise. You can also add the anaerobic portion to your workout by “punching it out”. Basically that would be throwing hard and fast punches for a 30 second burst.

  1. Build lean muscle –

Heavy bags were originally designed for power punching. They give the opportunity to put full power into your techniques. If your technique is done properly you can use full strength with a lower risk of injury. By hitting the bag with power, you cause your muscles to have greater contractions, which basically make the muscles work harder. The heavy bag gives enough resistance to cause the muscles to work and fatigue, in order to build lean, toned muscle rather than bulk up. Punching the heavy bag obviously engages your arms, shoulders and chest. You also utilize your core, back, and legs when you push the power from your feet and turn your body into the technique. Although punching a heavy bag does not equate to a body building workout like weight lifting, it does provide a great way to create definition and burn body fat.

  1. Improve coordination and balance –

You may have heard boxing referred to as the “Sweet Science”. There is an art form to the sport of boxing and kickboxing. Balance and coordination is a key element to the art form. By circling the heavy bag on your toes and throwing the proper combinations of kicks and punches you can begin to develop higher degrees of coordination and balance. You begin learn how your weight must be distributed in order to throw the technique properly without falling over and losing power. You can also begin to throw effective punches and kicks while on the move. Proper technique and body mechanics allow you to eventually move fluidly around the bag rather than continuing to look like an angry gorilla.

  1. No complex equipment –

Walking into a traditional big box gym can tend to be intimidating. There are multiple types of fitness equipment designed for various purposes. While mechanical equipment can be great, you shouldn’t need a PhD in order to operate it. One of the best things about a heavy bag is simplicity. Let’s be honest, punching and kicking isn’t rocket science. Once you have been taught the proper technique, you can begin to get a great workout by punching the bags rather than spending half of your gym time punching buttons.

  1. Stress relief –

From the time we were kids, most of us are taught that it’s not ok to hit. We must learn to control our aggression and learn how not to physically respond to negative stimulus. In our daily lives we have multiple sources of stress. Your stress may be work, or family, or just the jerk that cut you off in traffic. Whatever the case may be, we all need a way of managing that stress. Working out in general is a great stress reliever. Sometimes we need that extra release of aggression. Sometimes we all have the urge to just hit something. While it may not be the best idea to punch your boss, it is 100% socially acceptable to punch and kick a heavy bag.