So, you have a punching bag and are ready to actually use it to its full potential. This is great news because punching bag workouts and routines can provide hours of fun and so many benefits to your body. It is simple to understand the basics of using a punching bag, you just punch it, pull back, punch it again, and repeat until you are tired, right?
Yes, and no. It is not that simple, and there is some nuance and technique involved in getting an excellent workout from your bag. Not all bags are created equally, some are better than others of course, but any bag you have is going to be good enough to do these workouts with. Ready to punch?
Warming up is not just a phrase used to describe pre-workout movements. It is meant literally. Warming up means physically warming up your body. The muscles and tissues in your body need to be warm and limber and ready to react before you engage in any kind of intense workouts like kickboxing, boxing, or anything similar. Here are some good warm-up activities to try before you get into the bag routines:
Jumping jacks- Stand with your legs together, jump up in the air and clap your hands together above your head while opening your legs as wide as possible. Each time you do one of these you can count it as one rep. Doing about 30 jumping jacks will get your heart beating and blood flowing.
Running in place or jogging- You can run in place for about 5 minutes for a great pre-workout warm-up exercise. It will get your arms and legs moving and get your body used to bouncing around. If you are in a place with some nice scenery, you could also jog around the block a couple of times to get yourself warmed up.
Stretching- Usually stretching is associated with intense strength training like weightlifting, but it is quite beneficial to do some stretching before your bag workout. Stretch your triceps, arms, back, and legs slowly and comfortably. Breathe fully and mindfully while stretching for about five minutes before starting your workout.
Punching Only Routines
Here are some basic movements and routines you should try to master. They come in handy in self-defense, and they are just good exercises to know how to do.
Jabs are the bread and butter of boxing or any kind of hand-to-hand combat. The jab is done by making a fist and quickly snapping a punch forward and bringing it back to your defensive position. Jabs should be fast and not take too much energy, they are not meant as knockout punches so don’t go crazy trying to punch a hole in the bag with them.
Alternate between your dominant and non-dominant hand, mixing up the repetitions to keep yourself sharp. For example, try some combinations of jabs like these:
Left, left, right, left, left, right right, right, left.
You can see that it is easy to mix it up and come up with your own combos. Practice mastering the form of your jabs for a while until you are confident you have it right.
Hooks are done with your arm bent the entire time, which is how they got the name. Make a tight fist and turn your body while extending your arm just a little and punching the bag. Your arm should never be straight during a hook, keep it bent. The idea is to dig into your bag with your leading knuckle and pull back when done.
Hooks will work your core because you are using your core to turn your body which is where most of the force in a hook is coming from. Practice alternating left and right hooks and mix it up to form your own combinations. Work on your hooks for a few minutes and if you get bored of them you can try going back to some jabs.
Crosses are the most powerful punches you can throw, and they also take the most energy. You throw a cross with your back arm, not the forward-facing arm. To throw a cross, throw your back fist forward across your body and lift your back heel off the mat, connecting with the bag.
Because crosses take so much energy and power, they can tire you out fast. It is best to combine crosses with other less intense punches like jabs or hooks. Mastering crosses will take some time, and it keeps you interested in your workout. Like with other punches, mastering your form should be your first objective.
Uppercuts work your shoulders, quads, glutes, and biceps too. You can practice uppercuts without a bag if you want to work on your form or your speed without any resistance. This punch works well in any workout routine even if you don’t have a bag.
Uppercuts are excellent movements to include in your bag workout because they not only engage your biceps and other upper body muscles but also engage your core. It is an easy punch to master and very effective at rendering an opponent stunned.
- To do an uppercut place your feet about hip-width apart with your knees straight but not rigid.
- Put your fists both around the height of your chin and keep your elbows bent.
- Bend your knees and crouch down slightly.
- Rotate your torso and move your dominant fist down to your chest height, preparing for a strike.
- Push your fist upward and turn your body at the same time to the left side.
- When your fist is about chin height and you are standing up straight, that is one rep.
After learning and practicing the basic punches by themselves, you are ready to try some combos to keep your cardio workout interesting. The combinations below are some ideas to get you started so you can build up a great cardio workout. The idea is to get you to make up your own combos, incorporating your own movements, punches, or kicks, or even pushups or squats into your routine.
Jab Jab Hook
This is a common combo used in boxing and MMA by professional boxers and fighters. It is a great combination of movements to train your body and hand-eye coordination at the same time. The movements are fast and not too draining of your energy. As you practice this combo, you can back off and crouch or turn or jog in place after a few reps are done. This just breaks up the monotony and keeps your body moving. The more additional movements you can put in this routine, the better your cardio will be.
Hook Jab Jab hook Cross
This combination is going to be a little more difficult to master. It has three different punches in it, and it finishes off with a cross, which takes some energy because it uses so many muscles in your body. To execute this combo correctly, stand with your lead foot pointing at the bag.
Start your first hook fast and follow up with a jab. You can use the same arm as the first jab, or switch to your non-dominant hand for the second jab if you want to mix it up.
After your second jab, use the opposite hand to execute a fast hook. You could try doing two hooks in a row with alternating hands to add another level of difficulty to this combination.
After your hook, it is time for a powerful cross. This punch is meant to be a knockout punch and you should put some strength behind it and punch the bag hard. After practicing this combination for ten minutes you are going to need a rest!
Punching and Other Movements Routines
If you have not yet checked out our guide on the best punching bag, you should. There are some affordable options that will really help you step up your training game!
Those punching combinations are a great way to learn how to fight while getting an excellent cardio workout at the same time. Next, these punching, and movement routines will be more intense cardio workouts for once you have mastered the combinations above.
Punch and Push
The punch and push exercise is going to be great strength training for your arms and shoulder muscles too. To execute this movement, simply punch the bag with either hand or alternate hands with a jabbing movement. When your fist lands on the bag, instead of snapping it back like you normally would leave it there resting on the bag.
Push the bag backward with your fist quickly and keep your fist on the bag, when the bag starts to swing back toward you, try to stop it by pushing on the bag with your fist. This resistance will feel like lifting weights. Repeat this activity, switching hands.
Jab Jab Dodge
The jab jab dodge is a classic punch and movement combination that is used in boxing and MMA to teach you to keep aware of your form and position.
To do it, jab the bag with alternating hands, then put your hands up into a defensive position and sway to the side, as if avoiding an incoming punch. Repeat this activity for a few minutes before moving on to another routine.