Heavy Bag Workout Tips for Beginner Boxers

The Heavy Punching Bag is a classic boxing training tool that is widely used by a range of athletes to improve their fitness level.

Working out on a heavy bag exercises the entire body and torches calories whilst strengthening major muscle groups.

BUT.

And it’s a big but. A heavy bag boxing workout for beginners needs a different approach to a basic full body workout.

Product shot of 5 different leather heavy bags from Cleto Reyes. Colours a variety of black and red.

It’s easy to develop bad habits through overtraining and not checking in on yourself during your heavy bag training as a beginner.

The Heavy Bag

Let’s learn the basics: what is the heavy bag for?

The main purpose of a heavy bag workout is to increase your punching power.

Boxing is about punching. But critically, it’s not about always punching hard. Your heavy bag training is about developing efficient power, not absolute power.

Also, the heavy bag is only one workout out of many (shadow boxing, sparring, speed bag) so spending all day and night just punching the heavy bag won’t be enough to develop all the basic boxing skills you need to become a successful amateur boxer.

See our Boxing Training Guide for Beginners

Top Heavy Bag Workout Tips for Beginners

As you probably know, it’s not enough to throw basic punches at the heavy bag, make a note of these tips and check yourself next time you’re on the bag:

1. Keep Your Eyes on the Entire Bag

Sounds simple right? There are two common bad habits boxers develop when working out on the heavy bag. Ultimately it results in them not paying attention:

Too Much Staring – Keeping focused on one point and staring at one point so much that you aren’t aware of anything else

Lazy Eyes – Not focusing on anything when you are working out and letting your eyes roam.

The point here is to pay attention to the entire bag, have a general awareness of how far away it is and to keep it in view at all times. This means you have more awareness and chances when against a moving opponent in the ring.

Determined, sweaty woman with black boxing gloves and braids working out on a black heavy bag.

2. Punch the Heavy Bay, Don’t Push it.

A heavy bag shouldn’t be swinging about.

There is an old saying:

‘If you want to know who’s hitting the bag correctly, just ask the blind man’.

This is because, when you are hitting the heavy bag you are looking for a SMACK sound, not a THUD sound. You can achieve this by throwing a smacking punch:

  • A quickly thrown punch
  • Minimum time on target
  • Devastating power
  • Opposite to a push punch

3. Keep Moving, You are a Target

Don’t wait to punch when in front of a heavy bag.

Just as your boxing stance is important, treat your workout like a real fight. One where there won’t be a few seconds to catch your breath after a few combinations. What separates out the best is they are ALWAYS punching, even when resting.

Remember the heavy bag is to build up your efficiency of power, so resting after throwing a few mega punches won’t help you in the ring.

A worn heavy bag with gaffa tape surrounded by boxing instructor and his female pupils.

See our 5 Boxing Footwork Drills To Keep Moving

4. Keep Up Your Defence

  • Keep your hands up
  • Be active in rest
  • Check your distance

If you are not making offensive move then you are making a defensive move.

By keeping your hands up, it shows you’re not getting carried away with your power and it means you won’t be wide open in the ring. Checking your distance and making sure the bag doesn’t get too far or close means you are moving with the bag and being swift after making each punch. And importantly, even in rest throw some light punches and don’t be still like a punching bag.

5.  Always Have a Good Warm Up

It’s vital to remember to warm up before hitting bags too.

Stretch, skip, shadow box…

Use a circuit style training for your heavy bag workout and make sure you throw 3 – 6 punches ONLY. Always combo your punches together and mix up normal and unorthodox combos with different punching styles. Recommended pattern is 3 minutes on 1 minute “rest”.

  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Hook
  • Uppercut
  • Four punch combinations

Find your rhythm and stick with those combos.

Boxing class with multiple heavy bags suspended from the ceiling and people training hard.

Ultimately the heavy bag is a great tool for developing your punch and cardiovascular fitness. You really do have to engage your entire body, including your core, shoulders, and hips, to effectively control your movements as you hit the bag.

It is also a known culprit for developing bad habits in boxers. So be aware when you are smashing your next heavy bag workout.

Pay attention and use the heavy bag alongside the speedbags and other boxing equipment that will improve your boxing skills all around.