Heavy bags are a great training method for honing your strikes against a solid target. They offer a practical object to test blows against, and training with a heavy bag helps accustom your body to the shock of contact. They are a crucial part of martial arts training.
Although they take up more room than many other kinds of gear, many martial arts students keep bags in their homes. It’s important to find the right training bag, especially for solo practice. It is much easier to injure yourself without a spotter, and it is far more difficult to get the proper treatment for injuries when you alone.
With the variety of bags available on the market today, it’s difficult to find the right product.
Freestanding vs. Hanging Bags
If you are looking for a bag to use in a personal gym, you’re best off looking for a freestanding bag. While hanging bags are great for improving your timing and accuracy, they are difficult to move and you can’t hang them just anywhere.
If you cannot leave a human dangling indefinitely from the place you want to hang a bag, then that place will not support a heavy bag. It’s important to consider carefully before investing in a hanging bag, not just for the integrity of your home, but also your personal safety. A bag that falls during a training session could do serious damage not only to whatever it is hung on, but anyone unfortunate enough to be standing underneath.
Specialized stands are available for heavy bags, but they are sold separately, take up additional space, and must be bolted to the floor, which makes them impractical for some home gyms.
With that in mind, we’ve reviewed some of the top bags on the market today, presented all the pros and cons, and found a winner.
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag Product Review
This bag is designed to take a lot of hits without punishing your hands, feet, and shins. A durable vinyl cover keeps the bag easy to clean, and a high-density foam interior is the ultimate compromise between durability and protection.
The low-profile base disperses weight evenly and can be filled with either water or sand. This training bag has the largest striking surface on the market, which makes it ideal for whatever kind of strike you plan to practice.
Even former users who prefer hanging bags still had plenty of praise for the Wavemaster. Although the base does slowly move after strikes, making it ‘walk’ around your training area, the bag does not tip or fall easily.
The bag moves more when filled with water rather than sand. The material may wrinkle towards the top of the bag after prolonged use.
- Durable cover
- High-density foam to protect you and prolong the life of the product
- Base can be filled with either water or sand
- Very stable base
- Earned praise from hanging bag fans
- Walks a good deal, particularly when filled with water
- Top may show signs of early wear.
Everlast 70-Pound MMA Heavy Bag Kit Product Review
In addition to the 70-Pound bag, this kit includes heavy bag gloves, handwraps, and a bungee cord for additional resistance. The bag is filled with filtered sand and a mix of natural and synthetic fibers to cushion each blow. This is a great kit for beginners who have a secure place to hang a bag or the space for a heavy bag stand.
Although the gloves have earned mixed responses, this is not particularly surprising since good gloves cost nearly as much as this entire kit.
Users also warned that the bag may arrive bottom-heavy and lumpy, likely from sitting on a warehouse floor, but it can be fixed. However, overall we recommended this bag as well.
- Gloves and handwraps included
- Bungee included for added resistance
- Good quality for price
- May arrive bottom-heavy and lumpy
- Needs a secure anchor or heavy bag stand
- Included gloves are fairly low quality
Ringside Elite Free-Standing Fitness Punching Bag Product Review
A synthetic leather shell provides superior durability, and a removable foam collar protects your shins from making accidental contact with the base. The collar also helps increase or decrease the motion of the spring-loaded bag. The base holds 270 pounds of sand or water to keep the bag steady.
Everyone praises the bag’s ability to take a hit. It holds its ground and does not move back with each strike. Some even claim it took blows better than the Wavemaster XXL. Although the screws can come loose after a lot of use, users find this does not present a serious problem, and some even purchased screws from other brands to replace troublesome hardware.
- Can be filled with sand or water
- Optional increase in motion
- Does not ‘walk’ around training space
- Troublesome screws
There’s some debate over whether hanging or standing bags are better for kickboxing. Each has its advantages, but it’s important to consider how and where you will use the bag. Hanging bags are usually considered better for training punches, but a standing bag can take nearly any kind of strike.
Since most home gyms do not have a safe space for a hanging bag, it’s usually best to invest in a good freestanding bag. Not only are they safer for solo training, but they are far easier to move when needed. With that in mind, the Ringside Elite is likely your best bet for a reliable training bag.
Thanks to its spring-loaded design and collar, trainees enjoy more variety than a basic standing bag can offer. Previous users also reported a lot less movement from the base, which is essential for good training.