Punch Bag VS Heavy Bag: Which Is The Right Choice for you?

When you want to buy a punch bag today, it is absolutely essential that you understand the different types. Going into a store and asking for a punch bag will likely draw one response: ‘Which type?’

There is no one-size-fits-all punch bag unfortunately. While there are different types of punching bags, there are some main categories. Three of the most common types include ‘standard’ punch bags, a heavy punch bag, and inflatable punch bag types. You also get some more specific varieties, such as the free standing punch bag and the speed bag.

In this guide, though, we want to focus on a very common discussion: the punch bag vs heavy bag debate. If you are trying to determine which is right for you, the heavy bag vs punch bag, then you can read on to get some useful information.

Of course, if you would rather just find the quick answer to what is the best between a punch bag vs heavy bag, then check out below for our Final Thoughts section.

To get started in evaluating what is the best option for you, though, let us first take a look at what is a heavy bag and what is a punch bag. Then, we will try to compare options.

What is a Punch Bag?

The Punching Bag

The first place we wish to start, then, is with the normal punch bag. You might know this as a free standing punch bag.

These are totally different to a heavy bag in how they are set-up, for a start. Unlike a heavy bag, as you will see below, they are typically mounted to the floor alone. They are filled with water, sand, or material of some form in the base. This gives the bag itself some standing power, meaning you would need to land a really perfect punch to rock it over.

Most are mounted to durable, heavyweight bases. This means that you can easily move them around, meaning you can box from different angles, locations, and even rooms. On a nice day you could take your punch bag outside for a bit of outdoor training. With a heavy bag, this is almost impossible due to the mounting style and the weight.

Speaking of weight, too, punch bags tend to be far easier to manage due to the weight. They are much lighter, and can be much more effective for boxers who want to work on reactions and recoil. Today, most boxers want to get used to an in-ring style. Compare the free standing punch bag VS heavy bag for performance, then, and the movement plays an absolutely massive role in your decision making.

This means that you want to get used to an opponent that can dance out of the way, or reacts to your hits. With a heavy bag, you often need to land a perfect haymaker to make it swing. With a normal punch bag, though, you can normally knock it around the place and see it rebound from back-forth, side-to-side with just a normal combination.

Most standard free standing bags have a spring-loaded design to ensure they always bounce back into place, though. This level of recoil means that you get a much faster fight. With a heavy bag it can feel like a power-house endurance session, but with a punch bag it is much different. You are focused on landing good hits, fresh combinations, and moving with the punch bag as it recoils around from your latest hits.

When Should I use a Punch Bag?

Typically, we recommend that you look to use a normal punch bag when you:

  • Are new to boxing and want to buy something that you can get to grips with training on without the weight demands.
  • Want to build up improved physical strength and durability in your hands, ensuring you can fight with consistency.
  • Require a more agility-based training programme that allows you to get used to reacting to an opponent’s movement.
  • Desire a bag that can react to each punch, making sure you get used to following up with movement and accuracy.
  • Need a boxing bag that can easily move with you during punches, making you a more consistently accurate puncher.
  • Lack space to hang up a bag and thus want something that you can easily move around, relocate, or dismantle.
  • Like to vary up your fighting style and try out various different martial arts.

Looking to buy the best free standing punch bag? Then take a look at this list for a recommended series of free standing punch bags for sale.

What is a Heavy Bag?

Heavy Punch Bag

Next on the list is the heavy bag. Most people know this as a wall mounted punch bag or a ceiling mounted punch bag. Compared to the free-standing punch bag, there is much to think about when you start using a heavy bag.

They are very different for most boxers, but they are very much a heavy duty option. They are suspended from the ceiling via chain or strap to ensure that the bag can take an absolute maximum of punishment. The aim is quite simple, though; these allow you to make yourself a better hitter. They are designed to take huge amounts of impact without swinging around the place, meaning you can work on your physical strength and your durability with relative ease.

Heavy bags are quite specific in that they come in different profiles and types. For example, some will find they enjoy a ‘banana bag’ shape which is slimmer and longer, and typically is good for those involving MMA training with standard boxing training. You also get the standard ‘round shape heavy bag’ which is shorter and more in the shape of a teardrop.

They are great for making sure you can improve your targeting with heavier punches, as they force you to fight with a smaller shape.

Most are a cylinder in shape, though you do get some different shapes and sizes. You can see some examples of heavy bag shapes by checking out this link.

When Should I Use a Heavy Bag?

In terms of weight, you can expect a heavy bag to weigh anything from 30lbs at the weakest to 200lbs and above. Heavy bags are designed to take a full combination without swinging and twirling around the room. This is great for boxers trying to improve their knockout power. Many boxers can hit with accuracy but lack a killer blow; training on a heavy bag vs a punch bag can improve their knockout strength.

Punch bags are better when you lack accuracy and need to improve on following up with combinations. Heavy bags are definitely the best choice, though, if you are looking to improve your punching power. If your jab lacks snap or your haymaker is not doing enough damage, rounds on the heavy bag can soon sort that out. These work best, then, when you:

  • Want to improve punching power as opposed to following up on a combination.
  • Need to add more stopping power to your punches and need more knockout energy.
  • Require a punch bag that stays as close to in place as it possibly can.
  • Desire a bag that can take punishment from a more powerful boxer.
  • Prefer a more stable position, with the bag set in the same place due to mounting.

If you want to buy the best heavy bag, then take a look at this example of the best heavy bags for sale here.

Other Examples of Punch Bags

Of course, there are other types of punch bag to think about as well. Some of the other options you might wish to focus on, then, include but are not limited to:

Speed Bags

The Speed Bag

When evaluating the difference between a speed bag vs punch bag, the main difference to note is the size. Punch bags can vary from size, typically from around 3ft up to above 6ft. They can be free-standing or mounted onto a wall or ceiling. However, speed bags, by contrast are much smaller. They are normally mounted to a wall, desk, or ceiling, but are designed for throwing fast punch combinations.

A punch bag is good for building up power and combination accuracy. Speed bags are great for improving punching volume and accuracy. For example, a boxer who finds it hard to land lots of jabs in a short space of time can find the speed bag is a great learning turning.

The speed bag is a tremendous choice as it allows you to work out your hands more and to get more accuracy in fast hits. Typical punch bags are better for those who already have strong off-the-cuff accuracy, but need to find a way to improve their combinations

Using both bag types is recommended, but most beginners will find they get more from a standard punch bag. Speed bags, though, are good for amateurs and beyond looking to step up their game and improve.

Think you would prefer a speed bag over a heavy bag or free standing punch bag? Then make sure you take a look at this list for the best speed bags to buy today.

Inflatable Punch Bags

Inflatable Punching Bags

Another option to look at when evaluating punch bags is the inflatable punch bag. These are very common today as many people see them as a more comfortable option. When comparing a inflatable punch bag vs heavy bag style, the main thing is the weight. Lighter boxers can typically find that training and sparring using the inflatable bag is much easier. An inflatable bag will move with absolute simplicity, with even a lightweight combination causing it to move around with ease. By the same token, though, inflatable punch bags are good for those who want a more realistic movement style.

If you want to compare an inflatable punch bag vs heavy bag for performance, it comes down to the feel. Heavy bags feel like you are punching something thick; inflatable bags feel like they sag and bend as they are hit. If you want something that can more naturally mimic a human body, the inflatable bag might work best.

These tend to bounce and rebound around the place, so they more naturally mimic the movement of an opponent. Hitting a heavy bag, as the name implies, requires a fair amount of physical force. It is unlikely that you will fight a boxer who can take the same kind of punishment as a heavy bag without retreating. They are great for building up knockout power, while an inflatable punch bag is more typically suited to boxers working on movement, accuracy, and control.

Looking to buy an inflatable punch bag? Then find out the best options for one today here.

Punch Bag vs Heavy Bag: What is The Best Choice?

When evaluating your options when looking at punch bags, it is important that you closely evaluate what you are actually buying in the first place. For example, if you compare a punch bag vs heavy bag you need to ask yourself about what type of training you wish to undertake.

For example, many boxers today want to focus on either strength or accuracy. If you want to improve on accuracy, you go for a punch bag that is free-standing and bobs around. If you want to make your punches faster, you buy a speed bag. If you want something lightweight that can absorb your hits, you buy an inflatable bag. If you want a bag that can take punishment and make you a more rugged, powerful puncher then you need a heavy bag.

Typically, you want to try and fight a punch bag that is similar to your own height and is around half of your weight.

For most people, this means looking for a punch bag or heavy bag that can be anything from 3ft to 6ft in height. It should weigh anything from 60lbs to 150lbs, depending on the intended weight that you wish to fight at. Some heavy bags come with a weight mechanism that allows you to add or subtract weight, too, which can be good for making your training a touch more varied.

So, if you weighed around 160lbs, you could do with a heavy bag that weighs around 80lbs. For mounted bags (heavy bags) you need something that can stand strong and does not flail around the place after a single haymaker. If you want a heavy bag that can do the job you would expect, then it should stay in place when you land a punch – a little bit of rocking is fine, but it should not have to be held to stop it swinging.

At the same time, though, if your training is more to do with accuracy then you want a free standing punch bag. This will swing around the place as you hit it, but it means you have to work into your mind following in and making sure you land the rebound. A real boxer will be able to duck and weave out of your punches. This helps you to make sure you are always landing punches on the move, catching the opponent as they recoil from your hits.

So, the ‘best’ solution is to simply look at your training needs. If you want to improve your punching power, you want a heavy bag. If you want to improve your punching accuracy and speed, you go for a free standing punch bag.

Moving forward, try to keep this in your mind and you should find it much easier to improve upon your skills as a boxer naturally. Do not assume that you can use a heavy bag to chase it around the place as you would with a free standing punch bag, though. A standard punch bag is more suitable for boxing accuracy; a standard heavy bag is better for amplifying punching power.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a punch bag and a heavier bag?

As explained above, the main difference comes down to weighting and mounting.

A heavy bag is wall or ceiling mounted, and is typically going to weigh 60lbs and above. They are designed to take punishment and not rock around the place.

A punch bag, though, is typically floor mounted and will weigh much less. They are typically mounted to the floor using a weighted bottom, and are spring-loaded to ensure they recoil and rebound naturally.

Are heavier punch bags better?

It depends on the training type you wish to do. For those looking to improve their punching power and their strength, yes, a heavy bag is better. However, if you compare a heavy bag vs punch bag for punching accuracy, the answer is less clear cut.

Is it OK to hit the heavy bag every day?

So long as you protect your hands, yes. Anything from 20-30 minutes per day on a punch bag can go a long way to improving your punching form and making you more consistent. However, heavy bags can be quite demanding on the hands so if you feel like you need a recovery day then it is recommended that you take one as opposed to risk potential hand damage.

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