The Five Best Speed Bag Workouts
There are many surprising ways that contenders can improve their overall boxing skills and fitness level. Strength and conditioning exercises, using free weights, and doing core training with a medicine ball all have positive implications for boxing skills training.
Some methods used, however, aren't surprising at all. You've seen them in every boxing movie montage and frequently in the studio. The speed bag is a boxing staple that should be used in training to improve your speed and endurance while breaking a killer sweat. In this post, we'll dive into the benefits of speed bag training and see five of the best speed bag workouts for you to try, compliments of Gloveworx coach Cesar Rocha.
What is a Speed Bag?
There are various types of punching bags and mitts in the studio that you may have seen or tried before. The heavy bag is a solid hitting surface that encourages users to work on their footwork and power. The double-end bag can help contenders improve their accuracy and pacing techniques in addition to their cardiovascular health. A free standing punching bag can help you get better at throwing the punches you've been practicing while shadow boxing.
The speed bag stands apart from the rest. This small bag hangs from the ceiling on a short cord or chain to provide minimal range of motion. It's a useful tool that falls under the category of being much more challenging than it looks. The short range of motion means the bag will rebound quickly, requiring you to time your hits accordingly. The pros have been using these handy little tools during their training for a long time, and there are plenty of benefits for beginners hitting the bag as well.
How the Speed Bag Works
The speed bag is usually adhered to a low ceiling or a bracket by way of a reinforced board. If setting up your own boxing gym at home to keep you going when you can't get to the studio, you may need to add extra support to minimize vibrations and maximize security.
The speed bag swivel is one of the most important components of the overall apparatus. This is the part that adheres the bag to the board so that it's able to move without flying off during an intense hitting workout. Depending on your setup, you might need to try more than one speed bag swivel to find the right fit for your training area.
Finally, the bag itself. Inside the tough exterior is a soft rubber bladder that will need to be inflated during set up. The outer casing comprises of tough fabric, either leather or synthetic, held together with reinforced stitched seams that are meant to be durable enough to stand up to thousands of strikes over time. The teardrop shape allows for an effective bounce during training sessions. While the speed bag may not measure up to the heavy bag, it can withstand a lot of hitting.
If you're looking to do some at home boxing training, start with one of the larger speed bag options. Many beginners get frustrated quickly, writing the speed bag off as a training option because they're working with the wrong size. The larger size allows you to perfect the technique and the rhythm before adding the challenge of a smaller bag.
Benefits of Speed Bag Training
Other than being able to channel your inner Rocky Balboa, there are a plethora of benefits to using a speed bag. Here are some of the benefits of hitting the bag:
- Improved endurance - the speed bag isn't going to stop until you do, meaning that you're ultimately in a battle of wills against yourself. How long can you last? Will your elbows, shoulders, and back last longer than your will to fight? As you try some of the best speed bag workouts listed below, you'll be building your endurance in your upper body, as well as your mind.
- Improved coordination - a speed bag is a relatively small surface to hit, and to do so, you'll have to put your hand-eye coordination to the test. As you continue your practice, you'll develop your hand-eye coordination further and the experience will become less awkward and cumbersome.
- Improved accuracy - the main result of you improved hand-eye coordination will be the correlating improvements to your accuracy as you throw punches. This will carry over into your practice with different types of bag drills and punching drills, whether you're sparring with other boxers or hitting the bag with your best jab.
- Better punching power - most boxers make the mistake of thinking that it's only heavy bag training that will improve their punching power. However, speed bag training does have an overall impact. With speed bag training, you'll be able to throw strong punches faster, making you an unstoppable force.
- Become faster - the main benefit of speed bag workouts is right in the name: punching speed! By using this valuable tool, you'll become faster. Your improved reaction time will carry over into the ring and other training drills.
- Better pacing techniques - as you build your endurance, your pacing will become better as well. You'll know when to hold back, and when to explode forward with power punches and incredible boxing combinations that will set your muscles on fire and improve your skills.
- Improved cardiovascular health - aside from the various skills you'll be developing with speed bag drills, you'll also experience the overall benefit of improved cardiovascular health. As your heart rate goes up, you'll burn calories, strengthen your heart and lungs, burn calories, and reduce the likelihood of various cardiovascular diseases.
Even if you never step into the ring against other boxers, speed bag training drills has numerous benefits that will carry over to all aspects of your healthy lifestyle and training efforts.
Equipment You'll Need
Now, let's get onto the fun stuff. To get the most out of Coach Cesar's best speed bag workouts, you'll need some equipment. Here are some basic must-haves to get the most out of your training:
- Hand wraps - hand wraps are a simple, yet effective tool that protect your skin and knuckles from damage caused by repeated blows to a bag. Proper hand wrapping is a valuable skill that you can learn with the assistance of a coach so that you can keep training without suffering a pointless, avoidable injury. Many contenders opt to use speed bag gloves or Everlast Evergel hand wraps for speed bag training. Talk to your coach for their best recommendation.
- Proper footwear - no matter what you're doing in the studio, you'll want to wear the right shoes to offer support as you keep your feet moving. Invest in some high-quality boxing shoes or at least some comfortable trainers in the interim.
- A speed bag - obviously, you'll need a speed bag to practice with. If you install one at home, ensure that it's hung properly for the best results. Title boxing and Everlast are two brands known for making a good, high quality punching bag.
- Your favorite playlist - music is a huge motivational tool that can help improve your endurance and keep you moving and grooving as you practice with the speed bag. If you choose Eye of the Tiger, we won't judge.
One of the main benefits of boxing as a sport is that newcomers can get started with a minimal investment in equipment, making it accessible to all.
The Five Best Speed Bag Workouts
Now that you're ready to rumble, here are the best speed bag workouts as demonstrated by Gloveworx Coach Cesar.
Speed Bag Drill One: Arm Circles
Start by facing the speed bag and getting in your starting boxing stance. It doesn't matter if you're left or right handed for this one; just get ready. Start by putting your hand and elbow up and making a tight fist. Hit the bag with the side of your fist. You should be hitting the bag downward, making a large circular motion with each arm as you strike the speed bag.
Take your time and find your rhythm here. When you get comfortable with your rhythm or exhaust yourself, switch arms.
Speed Bag Drill Two: The X
Face the speed bag and get into your starting boxing stance. Start slow with this one, as it can take some time to become coordinated, especially for beginners. Raise your hand and elbow again, making a tight fist. This time, you'll be moving you arms individually in an X pattern. First, hit the bag with the side of your fist, then the back. Repeat with the other arm. As you find your rhythm, pick up speed.
Speed Bag Drill Three: Same-Side Hits
Get into your starting position, facing the bag. This time, you'll be using alternating hands, but approaching from the same side. So, start by having both your left and right fists raised above your right shoulder. Alternate hitting the bag with the sides of your fists. Then, switch sides so your fists are coming from above your left shoulder. The arm that's reaching across should always be above your other fist.
Speed Bag Drill Four: Backward Hits
Assume your starting position, facing the bag. This time, you will be hitting with one fist at a time. However, instead of moving your fists outward from your body, you'll be hitting the bag backward toward yourself. Follow the same circular pattern as you did in the first drill, only in reverse. You should be hitting the bag with your index finger.
Speed Bag Drill Five: Alternating Front to Back
For the final drill, you'll put your coordination skills to the test. Get into your boxing stance, facing the bag. Start with either your left or right hand. Hit the bag face on with the side of your fist (pinkie first). Then, immediately come back and hit the bag toward you as you did in drill four, striking with your index finger first. Your fist will be moving in a small figure-eight style motion to do this move correctly.
Try it Yourself
Put your skills to the test and try some of the best speed bag workouts during your next session at the studio. Our coaches specialize in helping you build your skills as a boxer while pursuing your health and fitness goals. New to the ring? Don't be afraid to be a beginner; we have specialized Gloveworx 101 training sessions to help you become unstoppable.