Calories Burned Boxing With a Heavy Bag (From a Trainer)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 21, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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I often hear this question from my clients, and the answer isn't that simple.

Burning calories is a process that depends on different factors, such as age, body weight, sex, genetic factors, and training intensity.

Punching bag workouts are great, but they significantly differ in intensity. So, here's everything you need to know about boxing, punching, and calories burnt.

Quick Summary

  • You burn an estimated 2.72 kcal per pound when you hit a heavy bag.
  • A punching bag is an excellent workout, especially if you want to build arms, back, shoulders, and leg muscles.
  • Based on insights from ResearchGate, exercising with a heavy bag strengthens your body, increases your blood's oxygen level.
  • In my opinion, combining punching bag workouts with other forms of exercise, like running or HIIT, leads to more dynamic and effective fitness results.

Is Throwing Punches a Good Workout?

woman wearing a boxing gloves while punching a heavy bag

Throwing punches can indeed be an excellent workout for your whole body. Drawing from my experience, I've found that throwing punches is not just a powerful cardio workout but also engages the whole body, making it an excellent fitness routine.

The force generated while punching predominantly comes from the leg muscles, which is why a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that training the legs through exercises such as squats, vertical jumps, and weightlifting is an effective way to increase punching power [1].

Besides the physical benefits, hitting the heavy bag is also great for your mental health.

Based on insights from ResearchGate, exercising with a heavy bag strengthens your body, increases your blood's oxygen level, and helps you relieve aggression and frustration [2].

Benefits of Punching Bag Workouts

There are multiple benefits to this activity, including:

  • Toned upper and lower body
  • Stamina improvement
  • Weight loss
  • Improved self-defense skills
  • Improved mindset and toughness

Can You Lose Weight Hitting a Heavy Bag?

Man working out on a punching bag

Through my practical knowledge, I've seen significant weight loss results from hitting a heavy bag; it's surprisingly effective despite its simplicity.

When you're punching and kicking the bag, your entire body is involved in the exercise.

It results in anabolic and metabolic effects that produce the hormone, which burns fat quickly.

Besides burning fat, this training also tones your muscles. It tones your arms, shoulders, back, legs, and abs.

Calories Burned While Punching a Heavy Bag

shirtless white man using a punching bag

The basic principle of understanding calorie burning is that the more you weigh, the more calories you burn.

On average, you burn approximately 2.72 kcal per pound during a heavy bag exercise.

Moreover, according to the CDC’s National Health Statistics Reports, during the 2015–2016 period, the average weight for men ages 20–39 was 196.9 pounds while men ages 40–59 averaged 200.8 pounds.

Furthermore, according to the same report, women aged 20–39 weighed 167.6 pounds, while women aged 40–59 weighed 176.4 pounds during the same period.

To put this into another perspective, this means that a 15-minute bag workout would sweat out some 133.9 calories for a man weighing 196.9 pounds and 136.5 calories for a man weighing 200.8 pounds.

Similarly, a boxing workout for a woman weighing 167.6 pounds would sweat out some 114 calories during a 15-minute punching bag session, while a 176.4-pound female would hit 120 boxing calories burned.

Calorie Burning Considerations: Running/ Sprinting Vs. Punching Bag Workout

black man jogging outdoors

My clients often ask to compare different types of workouts.

People are most frequently interested to compare the number of calories burnt during activities such as running, boxing, and throwing punches at a bag.

A 190-pound person can burn around 1,553 calories in an hour running for 5.5 minutes.

During the same time, a 155-pound person can burn 1,267 calories, and a 130-pound person can burn 1,062 calories.

This means that a person can lose a total of 3,500 calories on average.

You can run 16 times a month for 5.5 minutes to lose almost 6 pounds. What's more, running for 8 minutes can burn more calories than boxing.

A 190-pound person can burn 1,035 calories per hour of a boxing workout.

A person weighing 130 pounds can burn 708 calories per hour, while a 155-pound person burns 844 calories during the same time. Punching along with running can give you greater results.

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Mix Up Your Boxing Workouts

woman working out

No matter how determined you are to burn calories, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be punching a heavy bag with the same intensity for 30 minutes straight, not to mention an hour.

Moreover, a punching bag workout requires spurts of high-intensity punches followed by periods of rest, which means it burns fewer kcals.

To burn calories more effectively, I suggest adding some variety to your gym workout and pair boxing with a HIIT workout for a greater calorie spending result.

You could also add a jumping rope to this workout, which is an essential part of any boxing workout and sparring with other boxers.

These three exercises are very effective when combined and will improve your overall fitness and health.

Not to mention that sparring is much more exciting than simply punching a bag.

Just be careful when you get into the ring. If you’re new to sparring, three rounds should be more than enough.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

– Muhammad Ali, American Professional Boxer


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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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