How To Hit a Speed Bag Properly (Plus 3 Training Routines)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 15, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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In my MMA career, I've trained clients outside of martial arts and boxing who enjoy the thrill of punching workouts.

Yet, during my coaching sessions at EVOLVE MMA, I often notice newcomers struggling with speed bags, revealing a gap in their training.

Drawing on my network, I teamed up with a boxing expert to enhance our speed bag training at B.A. Saiyan Transformations.

And if you want to get started today, then follow these tips on how to use a speed bag properly.

Quick Summary

  • To master hitting a speed bag properly, adopt a square stance, adjust the bag to forehead level, and use palms for more control.
  • Recording training sessions is beneficial for identifying and improving rhythmic inconsistencies.
  • Punching bag exercises, such as speed bag training, are recognized by the American Heart Association for enhancing cardiovascular stamina and upper-body strength, with a warm-up improving performance in 79% of the criteria.
  • Personally, I find that the speed bag offers a unique blend of cardio and coordination training that's unmatched by other equipment.

Tips For Hitting Speed Bag

When you see experienced boxers working on the speed bags, it’s quite captivating, and they certainly make it look so easy.

But if you want to avoid looking like a fool in the gym, then work with this approach.

Beginner Tips

1. Stand Square

man with both his hands in front of his face

Avoid a boxing stance like when you're hitting the heavy bag.

Instead, stand with your upper body square and close to the bag for better control.

2. Set Up The Speed Bag At Forehead Level

Hang the bag at face height to easily track its rebounds, helping maintain hand level for rhythmic control.

3. Hit The Speed Bag With Your Palms

black man punching using a speed bag

Hit the bag with open hands for greater control over its movement.

Relaxed hands and wrists help in timing your strikes effectively.

Start with short 20–30 second sessions, gradually increasing the duration as skill and endurance improve. Ditch the boxing gloves for hand wraps for a better feel.

Advanced Tips

There’s a reason boxers spend so much time on speed bags, and it all comes down to the fact that it takes a lot of practice to get it right.

But, once you advance from the total beginners’ stage, you can start using some of these Rocky tips.

Here’s how to hit the bag like the pros.

1. Set Your Timer

iphone timer screen

For effective training, aim for 10-minute sessions on the speed bag, ideal for warm-up or cool-down, as shown in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research [1].

Use a timer to accurately track your session, focusing on technique and progressively increasing speed and intensity for optimal results.

2. Take A video

Even as a pro fighter, I often record my training sessions to analyze and refine my technique.

Therefore, record your sessions. Review the footage to spot and improve rhythmic inconsistencies.

3. Change The Rhythm

man working out with a speed bag at home

Progress beyond the basic rhythm by alternating the number of punches per hand (e.g., right-right-left-left).

Experiment with advanced techniques like double-unders and jump shots for full-body impact.

They boost coordination but watch your force; too much can mess up the rhythm and risk injury.

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Speed Bag Training Routines

teen learning how to use a speed bag

Here are four very different and concise speed bag workouts that help you learn technique and skills.

1. Accuracy

It’s all about precision as you hit the bag.

  1. Use a small bag at head height, fully inflated for extra bounce.
  2. Start with slow knuckle punches, aiming for a straight bounce.
  3. Try off-center hits to change the rebound angle.
  4. Circle the bag, keeping a consistent rhythm, and return to the start.

2. Speed

bald man working out with a speed bag

It’s kind of obvious for speed bag exercises, but most people struggle to increase the speed of their strikes.

  1. Time 30-second sessions.
  2. Maintain a steady rhythm you can handle.
  3. Count punches and aim to add one more each session, building skill and endurance.

3. Stamina

From my fighting experience, I can attest to the American Heart Association's claim about the benefits of punching bag workouts for strength and stamina [2].

But there is one technique that can really help improve your stamina:

  1. Punch for steady one-minute intervals.
  2. Do four sets with 20-second rests.
  3. Gradually extend each set by 15 seconds, aiming for 3-minute sets.

4. Strength

tall man using a speed bag inside a gym

This is a very different type of exercise and more of a shoulder training exercise to increase your punching power.

  1. Partially deflate the bag.
  2. Adopt a boxing stance.
  3. Hit hard with one fist, counting rebounds.
  4. Track performance over time for each punch type.

Benefits of Hitting A Speed Bag

man with a speed bag on his hand

There are a few great advantages you gain when you hit the speed bag several times a week.

  1. Low Impact Cardio. Speed bag training has a low impact, boosting circulation and heart rate without stressing the body. It's more about technique and speed than power, making it perfect for a warm-up routine.
  2. Hand-Eye Coordination. Beginners might struggle with coordination, but regular practice enhances reflexes and punch precision. Keep the bag at eye level to focus on visual tracking, not just punching.
  3. Maintaining High Hands. Speed bag training reinforces keeping your hands up, a key boxing technique. It's a common corrective exercise in boxing gyms for improving guard stance.

“The speed bag doesn’t achieve one, singular goal. It isn’t just about eye-hand coordination or speed. When it is used correctly, it can provide some beneficial edges that other pieces of equipment don’t.”

- Dough Ward, Boxing trainer, & Contributor at TitleBoxing.com

FAQs

Is a Speed Bag a Good Workout?

Yes, a speed bag is a good workout. A speed bag workout is not just for improving eye to fist coordination, but you can also use it as a great cardio trainer with low impact on joints. Professionals also adapt the use to increase their stamina and strength.

How Long Should You Hit the Speed Bag For?

You should hit a speed bag for at least 5 minutes. Most boxers will aim for 10 minutes to warm up their muscles and regularly go through drills in between other types of workouts.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19996770/
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/endurance-exercise-aerobic
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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