The Ultimate Beginner Heavy Bag Workout
The heavy bag, most commonly called a punching bag, is maybe the most iconic piece of fitness equipment anywhere in the world – instantly recognized by anyone and everyone, whether or not they have spent any time in a gym. It is immediately recognizable as a barbell or a set of dumbbells but predates both of those fitness implements significantly. Heavy bags have ALWAYS been a big piece of the puzzle for those serious about fitness, whether athletes were looking for ways to increase strength, speed, and endurance or just looking to melt some fat from their midsection.
Best of all, a heavy bag workout can be implemented for folks of all ages and fitness levels. Everyone from young children all the way up to senior citizens can take advantage of a beginner heavy bag workout, and champion level boxers will get just as much out of this simple and straightforward (but incredibly flexible) piece of fitness equipment as weekend warriors and Everyday Joe’s.
Before we dive headfirst into how to get the most out of a heavy bag workout, let’s touch on the big benefits that you will enjoy when you start to implement this kind of fitness equipment into your regular rotation.
Immediate Improvements To Your Aerobic Fitness
Punching a heavy bag isn’t just going to increase your strength and ability to deliver a fist like concrete if you step into the squared circle, but it’s also going to dramatically improve your overall aerobic fitness in ways you might not have expected.
Every single punch you throw at a heavy bag is going to utilize a number of muscles up and down your body and through your core. These muscle fibers are going to be recruited instantly, fire off just as quickly, and then need to recover – and that’s going to tax your aerobic systems. You’ll start huffing and puffing in no time, a surefire sign that your cardiorespiratory system is getting worked out, too.
Blast away for two minutes or so throwing punches at a heavy bag and you’ll see just how much of an aerobic benefit you can get from this equipment.
Instant Improvements To Core Stability And Coordination
Again, every single punch you throw is going to trigger muscles throughout your body – from the tip of your toes all the way through your shoulder and knuckles.
Anyone that has spent time working out with a heavy bag understands that a real solid punch starts in your hips and in your core, and your ability to transfer your weight from one foot to another while you deliver your punch payload will improve core stability and coordination at the same time.
Your Power And Strength Will Shoot Through The Roof
While you might not get quite buff working out with a heavy bag as you would pounding out reps on the bench or with dumbbells, your power, your strength, and your ability to generate new lean muscle mass will shoot right through the roof when you are working with the heavy bag.
Punching a heavy bag might feel like an upper body workout before you actually dive in, but by the time you are done – and resting from your workout – you feel the heavy bag in every square inch of your body. This is a total body beginner heavy bag workout designed to maximize your strength, your power, your cardio endurance, and your athleticism.
Breaking Down An Effective Beginner Heavy Bag Workout
To help you get jumpstarted with everything the heavy bag has to offer, here are a couple of quick and effective workout routines you want to try out for yourself.
Standard punch/kick combination
If you are just getting started with heavy bag routines, it’s not a bad idea to get a feel for everything that the heavy bag has to offer by keeping things nice and simple.
Square up to a heavy bag with your feet about hip-width apart, and then start punching with one hand and then another. You’ll want to try and punch through the heavy bag while maintaining your balance, driving off of your rear foot with every punch that you deliver.
After a couple of minutes of punching take a break for just a minute or two. Then start kicking the bag – as high up on the bag as you can comfortably reach – changing feet and position with every strike just the way you did when you were punching.
Shoot for three minutes each of kicking and punching when you are just getting started and you’ll see some incredible improvements right out of the gate.
Kickboxing routine for maximum fat melting
This routine is going to shake things up a little bit, and if you implement it a couple of times a week you’re going to be able to turn your body into a fat melting furnace while increasing your strength, power, and core stability all at the same time. Make sure to put on comfortable shorts before starting, this makes a huge difference when throwing kicks. If you need guidance, check out our thread detailing the best Muay Thai shorts. You’ll also need a good pair of Muay Thai gloves or boxing gloves. There is no need for a shin guard.
Each of these exercises should be repeated for the number of repetitions mentioned below before you move into the next set of exercises, all without any breaks in between the action. After you have gone through the first cycle, take a break for 60 seconds, and dive right back in again. Rinse and repeat for as long as you can go without falling over! (But no, seriously we recommend about 3-5 cycles for beginners)
- 10 Low kick with your rear leg
- 10 High kick with your rear leg
- 10 Inside Low kick with your lead leg
- 10 High kick with your lead leg
- 20 1-2 punches (Jab-Cross)
- 20 Left hooks followed by 20 Right hooks
- 20 Knee strikes
There is no doubt that this workout routine will shedloads of fat. As martial artists, our main focus should be to improve our technique, balance, and posture while throwing strikes. Using proper technique ensures every strike is thrown with precision and power while minimizing the risk of injury. Hence, when you first start out with this routine you’ll want to go slow until you get a feel for how all of the different movements blended with one another and you really understand your own pace. As you gain more experience, speed things up, and you’ll ramp up the intensity of these workouts significantly.
Note: If you feel you need to improve your technique, check out YouTube for videos demonstrating kickboxing techniques.
HIIT Heavy Bag Workout
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is incredibly popular these days, and for good reason.
For starters, you’re going to be able to get in a world-class exercise program – a full exercise program – in about 30 minutes or half the time you would have normally spent in the gym before.
Secondly, you will be able to target your entire body with this kind of routine. Not only that, but you’ll tax and challenge yourself physically, building strength and muscle while simultaneously burning fat.
Everything starts with 3 minutes of jump rope and stretching for five minutes and then you dive right in. You should always warm-up before you dive into any exercise, but especially HIIT.
Start 1-2 punches for 20 seconds on the bag, going as quickly as you can to land each individual punch. Relax for 10 seconds.
Next, drop into a boxing stance (with your front elbow bent 90° out in front of you and about 45° away from your body) before you start throwing hooks with one hand and then the other while weaving out of the way of ghost punches at the same time. Do this for 20 seconds again before relaxing for 10 seconds.
The next piece of the puzzle is to throw your knees as high as you can on the bag. Alternate knees and go as quickly as you can for another 20 seconds before resting for 10 seconds.
Finally, you close out each individual cycle of this routine with roundhouse kicks using your rear leg. Another 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, rinse and repeat and go back through the whole process again for up to 5 sets.