Punching bags have been around for as long as people have trained to fight, in the past the were most often used to train militias and militaries, but now most punching bags are used by boxers for training and as recreation or cross-training for other athletes. They are a sturdy bag that is designed to be repeatedly struck without damaging the bag. A heavy punching bag is most often filled with grain or sand and is hung from the ceiling with chains. These are the most common type of hanging punching bags, but speed punching bags are found in most gyms and are a good example of an inflatable punching bag. Punching bags for kids are also inflatable, but usually have an image printed on them and are designed for fun, not a physical improvement.
A typical punching workout should start with a good warm-up before ever hitting the bag. Hands should be wrapped or taped to prevent the boxer’s fracture of the fifth metacarpal, a common fracture among boxers. Best punching bag gloves offer extra padding in the knuckles and skin protection. Punching bags are typically made from leather, vinyl and in some cases canvas, which has the potential to damage skin.
There is not a lot of punching bag equipment that is needed other than the bag, wraps and boxing gloves. Plenty of water is important. One of the most important things to learn is proper punching bag technique. Proper punching technique is beyond the scope of this article. Kids should never use a heavy bag because the bones in their hands are still developing. Learning from a trainer is important because even improperly trained adults can easily damage hands and equipment.
When training at home a free standing punching bag is often the best option. They consist of a hollow base that is filled with sand or water. This allows it to be easily emptied for long distance travels, but it can easily be moved from room to room filled, unlike hanging bags which are often a permanent installation. Punching bag stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on what is desired. Some are small enough for kids to practice on, some are designed for kicking, and some have a polyurethane outer that is shaped just like the torso of a man for accuracy training.
There are many different types of punching styles. Boxing uses primarily fists and foot movement, while martial arts styles combine punches with kicks, grabs and holds. There are four primary punches in boxing, the jab, hook, cross and uppercut all involving contact with the knuckles and no other part of the body. When practiced correctly punching can actually be beneficial for bone health and prevent osteoarthritis which is the degradation of joint and muscle fibers. Punching improves bone density and joint flexion only when practiced correctly.