The best punching bag

Allen Foster

Whenever you are exerting effort while exercising, you should be exhaling. In boxing, you exert effort and exhale when you throw a punch.

You do not have to aspire to be a fighter to reap the rewards from working out with a punching bag. A boxing workout can provide you with the benefits of cardio and resistance training at once. Additionally, you can burn up to 300 calories in a single 30-minute session, depending on the intensity level. Different types of punching bags, however, are better suited to particular activities. To buy the best punching bag, you need to find one that accommodates your style. Our favorite is Century's BOB (body opponent bag), which is a freestanding unit that you can read all about below.

Considerations when choosing punching bags

There is a wide variety of punching bags available, and each is designed for either a specific style of fighting or range of exercises. However, all the various types of punching bags can be categorized into two broad types: hanging or freestanding.

Hanging punching bags

Hanging punching bags require permanent installation or a stand. They can be heavy to focus on power or light to focus on speed and footwork. The main benefit of using a hanging bag is that it can withstand even the most powerful blows and kicks, but you may need a partner to help keep it steady.

Freestanding punching bags

Freestanding punching bags take up less space than hanging bags and require no installation. They can range in weight from light to heavy. A freestanding heavy bag is supported by a base that is filled with water or sand. A grappling dummy bag can be used horizontally and is effective for takedowns and ground work. The main drawback to using a freestanding bag is that it can accidentally be knocked over.


Once you know which type of punching bag you want, there are several features to consider.


Unless you're doing speed work, you'll probably want a punching bag that is approximately the same size as you are because it is a stand-in for your opponent.


If you're getting a speed bag or something to help you with cardio, weight isn't what you want. However, if you'd like to work on power, a rule of thumb is to get a punching bag at least half your weight. If you want to go heavier, that's fine, but going lighter will be detrimental to your workout.


For most heavy punching bags, you can expect to spend between $100 and $200. If you are serious about your training, you'll need a bag in the $200 to $400 range. Below $100, you can find a number of quality bags that are either designed for speed or come without the filling. Additionally, you can find some solid entry-level models in this price range.


Q. Why would I want a freestanding punching bag instead of a hanging bag?

A. Freestanding bags do not require installation. They are best for someone who doesn't have a great deal of room or would like to store the punching bag in a closet between workouts. Additionally, freestanding bags are better suited to someone who is more interested in cardio than power as a freestanding bag will fall over if hit with sufficient force.

Q. Why are some canvas punching bags so inexpensive?

A. Some canvas punching bags are just that: empty bags. You are paying for the quality of the bag, but you must provide the filling yourself. If you have a collection of plastic shopping bags, for instance, you could fill your punching bag with those. However, most people stuff their canvas punching bags with old clothing.

Punching bags we recommend

Best of the best: Century BOB XL with Base Unit

Our take: This freestanding heavy punching bag is designed to resemble the upper torso of an opponent, making it an excellent choice for self-defense and MMA training.

What we like: The height can be adjusted from a five-foot opponent to an imposing figure that is nearly seven feet tall. The durable material allows you to train at full intensity, so it more closely resembles a real-life situation.

What we dislike: This product is on the higher end of the price scale and is recommended for those who are interested in serious training.

Best bang for your buck: Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag Kit

Our take: An affordable bundle that includes a hanging heavy punching bag, gloves, and hand wraps.

What we like: This bag is a solid entry-level model for someone just starting to box or who just wants to get out some aggression.

What we dislike: It starts off very hard and can take a while to break in. Care must be taken not to injure your hands until the bag softens.

Choice 3: Ringside Powerhide Heavy Bag

Our take: Ringside's versatile hanging heavy bag can be used for a wide variety of disciplines from boxing to MMA to Muay Thai.

What we like: This is a tough, durable punching bag that will withstand your heaviest blows. It weighs 130 pounds and features a layer of padding to help protect your hands.

What we dislike: The padding may not be thick enough if you throw hard punches. If that is your intent, be careful because those impacts will take you right to the hard core of the bag where there is little give.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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