Speed Bag vs. Heavy Bag Training – Which is Better?

I have friends and trainees who only do only speed bag or heavy bag training. It is always nice to do sports training especially boxing 😉 However, will doing only one training type hurt boxing skills or is it better? I always try mixing it up and get all benefits from all training types and in this content, you will find incredible advantages of doing both training types.



Alright, some boxing skills can be improved with only speed bag or heavy bag training. Footwork is actually one of benefits of heavy bag trainingthem.

If you are a beginner, you will basically stand in front of a speed bag and hit it. Even when you have very advanced punching skills, there is not enough room for footwork. With that, when you punch the heavy bag, it will swing and you will position yourself according to it. Because, every time you strike, bag will swing more, less, fast, slow…. and you will adjust your feet for it. This is incredible for footwork and every time you will move differently.


Which one is better for “better” punches?

All people, who train boxing, want to improve this skill including me. Obviously, both of these training types will help you and improve different sides of your punch.

First of all, “impact” of punch is affected mostly from speed. After all, punch’s impact is directly related to the momentum. When speed increases, the impact of punch improves greatly. As you can guess speed bag training is an excellent place for it. You can start training with large bags and as you get expert with that bag, you can continue with smaller one. Just make sure to have a good speed bag swivel. For practicing with different sizes of speed bags, the swivel is simply vital. This adjusting period actually takes a long time. For example, after I start training with a certain size of speed bag, it generally takes me 8-9 months to fully adjust the pace of the bag. Of course, your adjustment period can be less or longer depending on your skills and how much time you spend with speed bag.

The largest bag, which I have ever seen,  is 8″ x 11″. There are bags from 8″ x 11″ to 4″ x 6″ sizes . Right now, I train with 6″ x 9″ and I think I have at least 2 years to practice with 4″ x 6″. Actually 4″ x 6″ is very small and let me tell you it is fast. I can’t even imagine the speed of my punch if I were on that level. With that, there are some platforms which can give smoothest punching experience so you can get that level faster. These also have amazing durability and lifetime warranties. If you are interested doing speed bag training, you can start by looking best speed bag platforms and their other amazing features.

Heavy bags is obviously good place for increasing punching power as well and you set the pace. It gives incredible resistance to strikes and muscle tissues get denser. When you get better with the training, your durability will increase and you will be able to train more. So your punch will be heavier and heavier.


Muscle Building

We all know that bodybuilders already started adding heavy bag sessions in their workout routines. After seeing Canelo Alverez’s impressive abs, why would not they? Also, famous models like Gigi Hadid had started doing boxing training and shared it on social media. Thanks to these models, lots of women also started doing boxing training and getting in awesome shape. With that, punching bag training creates most of  their workout sessions. It gives incredible resistance training and full body cardio at the same time. In that way, built muscles are very dense. The reason is that you can burn 250 calories during 30 minutes heavy bag workout session and build muscle at the same time. Also, you can change the punching technique including jabs, cross, hook… Other than uppercuts (double end bags are designed for uppercuts) you can challenge your body in different ways and intensity. In that way, you can get these amazing muscle building and calorie burning benefits.

What about speed bag training? Well, it helps with muscles too, however, you won’t get big muscles with it.Speed bag training benefits having dense shoulder and arm muscles According to calorie-lab study, speed bag training burns 10-11 calories per minute. When you consider that you only use shoulders and arms, it is quite impressive and there is no wonder why it tonnes shoulder and arms in no time.

Both speed bag and heavy bag training sessions help developing muscles and burn huge amount of calories. If you want bigger arms and broader shoulders, then punching bag training is exactly what you are looking for and when you are done with punching bag, speed bag is waiting for you to tone these bigger shoulders 😉


Hand Eye Coordination and Reflex

Even if you have the best punching technique, speed bag won’t swing perfectly. So you will adjust your punching power and technique in milliseconds. When it is the case, hands and eyes should work in incredible harmony, so you can react to swing accordingly.

It is one of the most important skills for boxers and people who train martial arts as well. A, so lots of people on boxing forums say that speed bag session helps with the ball stealing ability in basketball. Well, I was not expecting that. However, after I had researched extensively about the subject, I found that many athletes in other sport branches gain better hand eye coordination from speed bags.

On the other hand, a heavy bag will swing very slow and your reflex is not going to get any benefit from it. With that, you still watch the bag as it moves and even though the benefit is small, punching bag still has positive affects for hand eye coordination.



I have to admit that sometimes it is very hard to keep maintaining certain pace with the speed bag. However, when I stand in front of the bag and hit it over and over again, it truly gives extraordinary focus. According to University of Maryland School of Medicine, this type of training forces the participants’ brain cells to focus more for the ongoing activity.

During the speed bag training, I feel like that I am in “the zone” and can keep staying there. Whereas I can still get in “the zone” during any other boxing training, however, I can’t stay there as I can in speed bag session.


Timing Sense

We need to strike to either of these bags as soon as we get a good opportunity. During heavy bag session when we wait for striking, we position ourselves, in that way our timing sense increase with our footwork. It is the only place which we can train other than sparring.

Certainly speed bag will challenge us a lot more, because well it is fast and small. Keeping the same rhythm is an incredible task for timing sense. However, footwork timing is not going to get any better with speed bag.



Heavy bag is HUGE and actually very bad place for improving accuracy. If you don’t use “body opponent bag”, there is no way that your accuracy can develop. Whereas speed bag increases accuracy quite well and I know so many people spend time with speed bag just to practice hitting a small target.

differences between speed bag and heavy bag


If a speed bag has no welts like Balazs Lazer, you can even punch it with bare hands and won’t get any harm. With that, if you try the same thing with a heavy bag, your knuckles and even your wrist might be broken. I actually had a wrist injury almost a year ago and I still feel a little pain when I train with heavy bag. It can be really hard to recover. Some gloves will protect you against high impact shocks and have all safety features for punching bag. You can also get way more benefits with these boxing gloves, you can also check out their other unique features as well.



We always keep our hands and elbows up during speed bag training, because we just have milliseconds to punch it. With that, you can even have 3 seconds after striking the heavy bag and it is so easy to forget about keeping hands up. They may stay down and you may not even realize it. Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone. I have been in same position many times. Second bad habit is that after they get tired, lots of people also start “push punching” during punching bag session. Many trainers of famous boxers including Manny Pacquiao recommend a solution to these bad habits and it is spending more time with a speed bag. Speed bag is excellent for boxing habits.



We talked about muscles, boxing skills and lots of other things so far. However, speed bag training can even affecta speed bag session our daily lives. During this training, our back is always straight and we keep maintaining it. After the workout, you may have little back pain, however, it is totally worth it. I sometimes don’t even realize how decent and straight is my posture in daily life and if you want to have better posture, I am sure speed bag training will help you, too 😉




Conclusive Thoughts

Each of these training types has own unique benefits and these also have some same type of benefits as well. For example, I personally love training with a heavy bag. I just have more fun with it. With that, I also like crazy burning in my shoulder during speed bag session and I always try doing all training types to get all benefits. I honestly don’t want to miss any chance to improve my boxing skills and I highly suggest you do the same 😉 I hope you enjoyed this content and if you have any experiences to share about speed bag or heavy bag, please leave a comment below.


Image Courtesy of  Mark MathosianMarinesU.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maddelin Angebrand and KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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12 thoughts on “Speed Bag vs. Heavy Bag Training – Which is Better?”

  1. Interesting read. So, if I were to take up ‘boxercise’ (I believe it’s a thing) in order to improve my fitness and strength, the heavy bag would be ideal?

    1. Well it is kind of a thing 😉 and I think punching bag is just thing for it. It has everything about boxing. Punches, aim… and you can do footwork as it swings.

  2. How cool! I’ve actually never seen it broken down like this before. Would it be possible for people who are wheelchair-bound to use this in building upper body strength?

    1. Well I get a request and wrote it according to my experiences and researches 🙂
      I think people, who are bound to wheelchair-bound, can train with speed bag but I think it is best consult a physician.

  3. Hey Furkan, I’m just starting out with boxing and I’m REALLY uncoordinated. What are the chances of injury with this kind of training?

    1. Hi Shirley,
      Actually these both training types are safe. However you really need to get a good pair for heavy bag. It needs some features like wrist support etc. You can have a look at these boxing gloves for heavy bag. I am sure you will have a good idea. Speed bag training is also safe you just need boxing hand wraps then you are good to go 😉

  4. As soon as I started reading your post, Furkan, I thought of how the whole exercise, regardless of whether it is done on heavy bags or speed bags, improves your coordination. And there you were, a few paragraphs later, mentioning the very thing. I am glad you acknowledge that women are taking up this form of exercise more widely. Not only it tones your tummy muscles, and of course improves your coordination, but it helps losing weight massively. This said, and given that I need to improve on both accounts, have I ever attempted boxing? Never. But with me it’s just the case of ‘doing as I say, not as I do’ 🙂

    1. It is truly amazing for everyone and definitely women can benefit it a lot too. It has so many benefits. So I mention it time to time.
      I remember that your son and husband do boxing time to time and I hope you will start too 😉 and I am glad to see you here again Giulia

  5. Great information. This is broken down so well. I can only imagine how footwork thrown into the mix would really throw someone who is new off. I am sure there is a lot of coordination involved. I am not sure that I could figure out speed bag training. It looks so fun though and sounds like great exercise.

    1. When I first started training with a speed bag, I did not how to control it but I know that you will figure it out sooner or later 😉 and have fun with it.

  6. Hi Furkan,

    Great read thanks. I’ve been looking into different forms of exercise that will keep my attention instead of just visiting the gym. I think this looks amazing now I just need to find somewhere to do it!

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