Whether you’re new to fighting or just looking for some quick information, it is important to know when to use a heavy bag and when to use a speed bag. Both bags help you develop certain aspects of fighting technique and physical ability. That is why we are going to take a look at both speed bags and heavy bags, show you what each can do, and help you come away feeling a little more knowledgeable.
What Are Speed Bags Used for?
These are lightweight bags, attached to a wooden platform using a swivel. When you strike the bag, it rebounds quickly, requiring an accurate hand and steady rhythm to continue hitting.
We’re going to take a quick look at some of the benefits that speed bags have to offer, then compare them to the different heavy bag benefits.
Get an Improved Reaction Time
When you use a speed bag, you start by striking it and sending it backward to quickly rebound. From there, you have to punch the bag at a steady strength and rhythm; otherwise, the bag will rebound in an unexpected way and ruin the exercise.
This means that you have to be prepared for the bag to rebound the moment you throw your first strike. By using the speed bag, you work on recognizing where the bag is going and getting your strike in before it’s too late.
Ideally, you need to strike the bag as it’s halfway through it’s rebound. There is a split second where the bag is in the correct position, requiring you to throw your next strike at the perfect time.
You Can Get a Cardio Workout
Speed bags can be quite the heavy duty workout if done at the correct intensity. You have to have your hands up (just below the bag) the whole time while constantly throwing punches.
What’s more, keeping your hands raised and throwing strikes is a great way to work on your arm and shoulders’ muscular endurance. If you’ve never used a speed bag before, you’d be surprised how hard a few 2-minute speed bag rounds are.
Strike More Accurately
Another benefit that you get when you work out using a speed bag is a chance to hone your accuracy. When you are punching the speed bag and it is swinging back at you, it has to be hit in a precise area or it could rebound awkwardly.
You use the speed bag to improve your hand-eye coordination so that your punches land exactly where you want them to. It takes practice, rhythm, and the ability to throw punches at a steady level of power. Yet, with enough time invested, you can gain accuracy that will help you pick apart your opponent’s weak spots.
It’s best to start on a larger speed bag, as this has a much wider surface area, making it far easier to hit the right place. As you get more comfortable on larger bags, you can gradually progress to the smaller models.
What About Heavy Bags?
Heavy bags are large, dense, and unsurprisingly, heavy punching bags. They can take a lot more punishment than speed bags, including strong kicks. The workout here is more focused on technique and potency so that you can hone your skills for fights.
Increase Your Body’s Endurance
If you think back to the first time that you punched someone, you probably had a sudden realization. Punching people is nothing like the movies- it hurts quite a bit. Every time that you land a punch or kick, it is going to take a toll on your body. This is especially true when it comes to bones and ligaments.
Fortunately, using a heavy bag for training allows you to build up your body’s endurance to these strikes. Your body will become stronger, so you can put more power behind your strikes without causing injuries. The increase in your body’s endurance works in concert with the next benefit of using a heavy bag: improving your technique.
Work On Your Technique
A heavy bag is the best way for you to improve your fighting techniques, without having to actually spar. While you can punch a speed bag, you are not able to follow through with your punch the same way you can to a large, heavy target. Moreover, the heavy bag is more similar to the size and weight of a real opponent; you get a better estimation of the power and capabilities of your techniques.
When you use the heavy bag, you are able to land a flurry of punches and kicks while focusing on footwork, movement, and a whole variety of fighting aspects. Basically, you can work on the finer points of your fighting techniques that are too powerful to try on anything but a heavy bag.
Depending on how you have your heavy bag set up, you can also circle as your throw your different strikes, allowing you to work on your footwork as much as your hand technique.
Get More Power Behind the Punch
Fortunately, if you are lacking in the power department, you can use your heavy bag to start building it up. Every hard punch you land and every high kick you swing into the bag works out various muscle groups in your body.
When you wake up sore the next morning, you will know that your muscles are getting stronger and you will be able to put more power into your techniques over time. Combined with the improved techniques and endurance, your heavy bag workout has a substantial impact on your development.
The Breakdown: Speed Bags Vs Heavy Bags
Alright, if you are looking for a good summary, here it is.
When you use a speed bag, you get the ability to develop your timing, reflexes, accuracy, and cardio. You can also use speed bags as a great reminder to keep your hands up and active all the time. Working out using a heavy bag will help you to improve your techniques, power, and the endurance of your body to deliver hits without suffering injuries.
Both bags offer something different, but they are both very useful for your overall workout. You need to have accurate strikes that are more clinical than haymakers. However, you still need to know how to throw your best techniques at a heavy target to get the best effects.
All in all, it’s up to you to find a way to implement both heavy and speed bags into your workout.
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