Whether you’re training to be the next heavyweight boxing champion of the world or you’re just looking for a fun way to get fit, toned arms, the speed bag is an indispensable tool. Working out with these small punching bags provides a host of benefits, including improved hand-eye coordination, quicker reflexes, increased arm strength and endurance, and a good cardiovascular workout. It’s no wonder the speed bag has become such a big hit! Using the speed bag effectively can be difficult at first, but with practice and a little patience, you can dazzle your friends and yourself with your lightning speed.
1Adjust bag to proper height. The belly (the fattest part) of the bag should be level with your mouth or chin. Many people hang their speed bags too high, and this will result in unnecessary muscle strain and poor technique.
2Get in the "standard" speed bag stance. Face the bag with your feet apart at about shoulder width. Your whole body, from your feet to your head, should be facing the bag, and your shoulders should be squared up with the bag. You should be near enough to the bag that you don’t need to extend your arm more than a few inches to hit it, but far enough from it so that it won’t hit you in the head on the rebound.
3Hold your fists up at chin level or just slightly below, and raise your elbows up so that they are almost parallel to the ground. Your arms should be bent in at about 90 degrees, and both your upper arms and your forearms should be nearly parallel to the ground.
4Execute a front circle punch. Extend one fist to punch the bag lightly. You should be able to extend your fist straight out or just slightly up to strike the belly of the bag in the front (the part that is facing you directly), and you want to make contact with the bag with the side or heel of your fist—ideally, you will contact the bag with the side of your little finger near the first knuckle).
5Circle your fist down and back to the starting position, all in one smooth motion. Once you strike the bag, immediately circle your fist back. The circle should be small: just large enough to bring your fist back into position near your chin.
6Count the rebounds of the moving bag. After an odd number of rebounds, the bag can be hit again. After striking forwards, the bag will rebound off of the back of the platform (rebound "1"). When the bag swings back toward you it will rebound off the platform again (rebound “2”), followed by the bag swinging back away from you and rebounding off the platform on the far side again (rebound “3”). As you become faster it will be difficult to see the rebounds, but you will still be able to hear them.
7Strike the bag again as it’s tilted away from you. You can use the same hand or the other hand. Strike the bag after the third rebound, as the bag is returning toward you. You should make contact with the bag while it is still tilted away from, ideally when it is tilted at about a 45-degree angle from the board. This punch restarts your “1-2-3” count, and you can continue in this same cadence with as many punches as you like.
8Combine a straight punch with a front circle punch. Start in the same starting position as above, but drop your elbows a bit so that they are angled slightly toward the ground but still held away from your body. This will allow you to execute a right straight punch. Punch the belly of the bag, making contact with the front knuckles of your fist. Punch “through” the bag so that your arm crosses your chest. Meet the bag on the third (or other odd-numbered) rebound with a circle punch that comes up, strikes the bag as it tilted away from you, and then proceeds to carry your arm back to the starting position in one fluid motion. This is the most basic speed bag combination, and it can be repeated over and over with one fist, or you can alternate fists.
9Change the fist that is punching every two or three punches. After a circle punch with one fist, follow with the straight punch of the other.
10Move your feet and swivel your hips. When performing combinations or alternating between fists, you should move your body, not just your arms. For example, suppose you do a straight punch – circle punch combination, alternating between the right and left fists. When you throw your right straight punch your right leg should come forward a bit, and your hips should swivel in the direction of the punch. As you return you fist to the starting position by throwing a right circle punch, your hips should swivel back and right foot should swivel back as well. This puts you into position to throw your left straight punch, during which your left leg will move forward, etc.
Do the pros let the speed ball bounce 3 times when they are hitting it so fast? 3 bounces seems too slow.It's more like 5+ times.
How can I make a speed bag?User ContributorUse any strong material such as leather, rubber, or denim fabric, and fill with sand. Seal it, then hang it from a flat wooden board, allowing the fixture to move in every direction for unpredictability of return.
- The height of the bag is very important. If the bag is too high or too low, it will lead to ineffective punching motions.
- This is easier to learn from the standard stance. With experience, you can use a boxing stance or martial arts fighting stance for variety.
- Hitting softly allows you to count the rebounds. If you punch too hard, the bag speed makes counting more difficult, especially for the untrained ear.
- If hitting the bag after three rebounds is too difficult at first, follow the same pattern with a different odd number of rebounds. Beginners often find five rebounds is a good number to start with. With experience you will eventually use three rebounds, which is the normal triplet speed bag rhythm.
- Start punching easy, with very little force. For a beginner control is more important than speed.
- Your ears and sense of rhythm and timing will guide your motions. Once you get your speed up, your eyes won’t be able to keep up with the bag.
- Dropping the hands during repetitive punching makes this much harder, so keep your arms and fists up and in proper positions.
- Once you have mastered the basic punches and rhythm, you can move on to more advanced techniques, including elbow strikes.
- The basic boxing punching pattern is a four punch sequence: (1) Left Fist-Circle Punch (2) Right Fist-Straight Punch, (3) Right Fist-Circle Punch (4) Left Fist-Straight Punch, then repeat. The fists never stop in this action, but keep moving continuously.
- With practice, you should naturally start shuffling your feet and leaning into each punch. The better you get, the more natural this will feel.
- Relax. Many people have a tendency to tense up their arms or try to punch the bag as hard as they can. While your movements should be crisp, your arms should remain relaxed.
- The speed bag is very adaptable. You don't have to stand up to hit it. Those in a wheelchair can get a great punching workout also!
- Be careful not to raise your fist up too high or you may hit the board overhead.
- Hand protection with hand wraps and gloves is highly recommended.
- Be careful not to lean in too far or the bag could hit you in the nose.
Sources and Citations
- Speedbagcentral.com Website with photos, demonstration videos, and detailed instructions