The speed bag is one of the most useful training equipment for boxing and any striking-based martial art. Obviously, every martial art gym needs to own this amazing training tool. Because it does not only improve boxing skills but also improves physical fitness and it can even calm your body, mind. So, most fitness gyms around the world started investing in this boxing training tool a long time ago.
These sound amazing, right? Well, there are even more benefits and after incorporating speed bag training into your routine, you can start experiencing these in several months.
Let’s start with the most known benefits of speed bag and after reading these, you can learn how it can improve your boxing game.
1. Grows Shoulder, Arm Muscles
What Muscles do Speed Bag Training Work? Arms, shoulders, and abs work while hitting a speed bag. Your arms and shoulder will start burning after throwing repetitive punches. If you have good coordination and rhythm, your muscles will be held under constant tension. This triggers hypertrophy and will lead to nice-looking shoulders and biceps. Who would not want bigger arms right?
Also, you need to keep the core tight during a punch so you can achieve razor-sharp abs.
2. It is a Good Cardio
I tracked how many calories I spend during a 15 minutes speed bag session. And I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that I burnt over 140 calories. I am 175 lbs. and I trained for around 15 minutes including rest periods. So if you are heavier or lighter this number can change depending on your weight however you can definitely get a good sweat.
Also, you spend these calories mostly using your arms and shoulders so it is a good cardio type that you can do with your upper body, and comparing to other cardio types like running, it improves upper body endurance very fast.
The preferred way to improve endurance is to build it slowly. So, don’t start with long rounds. Start with one-minute rounds and once you have a good rhythm, understand how a speed bag bounces then increase the duration. However, depending on your fitness level, this period can be shorter or longer than that. After all, some people have advanced physical skills that allow them to sustain even a 4-minute speed bag workout and on the contrary, some people will try to catch their breath after a couple of punches.
3. Fixes Muscle Imbalances, Improves Non-Dominant Hand
It is hard to believe but people can develop various muscle imbalances with any exercise and you might be one of them. To determine this you can ask the following questions to yourself.
Is your right bicep bigger than the left one?
Is one of your shoulders more muscular than the other?
These are just a few examples of muscle imbalances and if you don’t measure your body, you might not even notice you have them. But don’t need to worry because speed bag is the solution for most upper body muscle imbalances. Throwing the same volume of punches with both hands can fix the issues above and more.
Basically, if one of your arms is weaker or has less muscle mass than the other, the weaker one will eventually catch up with the other arm. Because the non-dominant hand will start throwing more punches and you can increase muscular endurance in the non-dominant arm with practice. Once you can start performing speed bag drills comfortably with both of your hands, the fitness level of both arms will be the same and this should help with correcting the muscle imbalances as the training load is the same.
4. It is Safe
Other boxing training types such as heavy bag training can cause pain in multiple joint issues, bruises, fractures, and more. So, people, who don’t want to take the risk of injuring themselves and still get the benefits of boxing training, choose to hit a speed bag.
Speed bag workouts are considered safe as unlike sparring no one tries punching your head and unlike heavy bag, it is a low-level impact exercise and gentle on your joints. Because of this reason, many elderly people work out with this piece of training equipment.
5. It calms you
Whenever I hear the sound of a speed bag, I feel soothed and forget about my problems for a short period of time and I am really grateful for it because I have started facing tough times more often in recent years.
I researched what is the reason behind this and learned that the rhythmic sound of a speed bag can create an order in your mind that can make you feel relaxed and science proves it can even improve your mood as well.
6. Easy to Get Started
Even though speed bag training can intimidate beginners it is actually easy to learn hitting a speed bag. Once you understand how it bounces and when you need to punch this light bag, you are ready for long speed bag drills. There are simple techniques that anyone can get a good grasp of in 30 minutes. Here is a quick guide that can help you learn it in no time.
As a side note, bigger speed bags do not rebound so quickly as small ones so these are easier to punch. If you are just starting, the bigger size is perfect for you.
7. Improves Precision
The speed bag is small and offers fast-paced workouts. And it is not so easy to punch a moving target repeatedly with the correct technique. However, going to a boxing gym and regularly working on it can do wonders for your boxing skills including accuracy.
Also, a speed bag bounces three times after hitting the bag. So in order to have a rhythm, your timing should be on point. Thus, you will be able to punch more accurately at the right time over time.
Consequently, whether you are sparring or in an amateur boxing match, you are less likely to mistime your punches and more punches are able to hit the intended targets that might be gut head, etc. So you can score more punches in a round and win more matches.
8. Get Better at Blocking Punches
This is also correlated to watching a small target as well. You get used to watching a small target, how it moves, rebounds without closing your eyes for an extended period of time and you do your best not to blink during a workout.
Once you develop this skill, you can watch your opponent’s punch better, position your hands accordingly and react faster so you will be readier to block them.
Also, this can benefit many other sports like tennis as the dynamics are quite similar.
9. Perfect for Increasing Hand Speed
Recruiting fast-twitch muscles quickly develops more power. And speed training like speed bag training is a good and simple way to develop these muscles. But we don’t throw basic boxing punches like hooks during speed bag drills and we use either fingers or knuckles to hit it.
So does speed bag really increase the speed of boxing punches?
Yes, because it is still a good way to develop the fast-twitch muscles that are used for punching. This directly increases speed and improves the power behind punches drastically. So it is not surprising that if your aim is to increase the volume of the punches in a limited time, boxing coaches will tell you to do various speed bag workouts to effectively accomplish this goal.
10. Helps You Keep Your Hands Up
This important habit can prevent boxers from getting knocked out, losing points, and decrease the likelihood of dangerous situations. A boxer simply needs to keep the hands up at all times so the opponent can find fewer opportunities to throws hooks, uppercuts, and also hands need to travel less in the air to block the punches. Shortly, thanks to this important habit, boxers have an easier time defending opponents’ strikes with boxing gloves.
There is actually a very simple and popular rhythm that many boxers follow. This is throwing punches with the right hand twice and it is followed by throwing punches twice with the left hand. The speed bag also bounces fast and if both hands are down, it is not feasible to have a smooth rhythm. Because raising a hand can cause you to lose focus and you can mess up the timing.
So, keeping both hands up and having a close distance to a platform, that allows you to hit it comfortably, are simply necessary and after countless drills, anyone can make this habit stick. So you can actually complete a speed bag drill without your instructor correcting you for once.
11. Improves Coordination and Reflexes
Hitting a speed bag can be frustrating at first after all it is definitely a different type of exercise and this light bag moves very fast. It seems like no matter what you do you can’t have a natural rhythm and you may not keep pace.
One of the main reasons is that you might be less coordinated than you think and the best way to solve this problem is to concentrate more during sessions and do more speed bag workouts.
Eventually, you can strengthen hand-eye coordination, have improved reflexes and you will have a fast reaction time. So you will be able to hit a speed bag properly and faster. Even trying out different rhythms won’t be so bothersome with enough practice.
As a side note, if it is really difficult to hit, inflate the bag a little bit so the bag can bounce slower and it will be easier to practice.
Is Speed Bag Worth It?
Yes, it is definitely worth the effort. Whether you want to get into amateur boxing or you are a fitness junkie you should definitely add speed bag workouts to your routine.
This can develop numerous boxing skills however speed bag training also improves various physical skills including reflexes, endurance in a short period of time. It can even boost mental abilities that are correlated with athletic performance and can help you reach your peak performance. Shorty, there are many benefits of speed bag that can come in handy for a wide range of people.
Also, it is not difficult at all to understand how to hit it and pacing so don’t let it intimidate you and start punching a speed bag today!