Speed bag training is as iconic as heavy bag training. But what does a speed bag actually do for your boxing skills?
Smaller and lighter, they allow different types of drills. Rather than strength, they help you improve your boxing speed and accuracy. Nevertheless, they provide an excellent workout where your joints and muscles aren’t at risk of injury.
After explaining how this kind of workout is distinct from heavy bag routines, we detail the top 5 benefits of speed bag training.
What is Speed Bag Training?
Speed bags are generally used in combination with heavy bags. Much smaller, they’re usually filled with air – attached to a special mount or to a door frame, they flip in a 360-degree angle.
They typically come in three sizes — large, medium and small. If you’re just starting with your training, choose the largest one you can. Professionals and experienced boxers tend to prefer the smallest models, which are faster and more responsive.
Speed bags aren’t only worked using the knuckles. You also use the side of your fists, alternating with knuckles strikes as your skills improve. Because the bag is more compact, only hand wraps are necessary — you’ll keep your boxing gloves for the heavy bag drills.
Depending on the routine, your elbows should stand at a 45 to 90-degree angle. Holding them too high will tire you out too fast.
Are you a beginner looking to incorporate speed bag drills to your training, or are you a veteran looking for a quick refresher on speed bag training? Check out our article on how to use a speed bag!
5 Benefits of Speed Bag Training
What is the speed bag good for? Now that we have a better understanding of what they are, let’s have a look at their advantages:
- Improved accuracy.
- Increased speed and coordination.
- Work on your form.
- Intense workout.
- Easily accessible.
#1. Better Punch Accuracy
Boxing isn’t about striking anywhere hoping to hit your opponent. Every punch has its purpose and location target. Sometimes, accuracy can be as important as pure strength.
A weaker strike at the right spot can do more damage than a strong one sent randomly. Because you won’t be wearing boxing gloves, you’ll be able to hit the speed bag more precisely. Using the side of your fist will make the contact point even more definite. By punching the bag at specific angles, the bag will swing accordingly, in different directions. The purpose of speed bag training is on developing muscle memory for speed and accuracy.
#2. Increased Speed and Coordination
Punches don’t only have to be accurate, they also have to be fast, which is where speed training comes in.
The quicker the punch, the more power it’ll deliver. Only throwing heavy strikes will make boxers exhausted within minutes. This is the reason why they alternate between accelerated and powerful strikes.
Along with an increased pace, speed bags improve hand-eye coordination. This exercise requires extreme focus and fast reaction time.
Punching should follow a precise and consistent rhythm. For every strike, wait for three swings before hitting the bag again. On the last turn, strike it when it’s halfway back. For beginners, keeping up with the bag’s speed can be challenging, so start slowly, and use your most powerful hand to begin with.
To get you used to striking with a speed bag, keep your hands open and gently hit the ball with your fingertips. Once you’re comfortable, close your palm and alternate between knuckles and the side of your fist. Gradually increase the rhythm.
After gaining some experience, you’ll build up upper body agility, reflexes and punching speed. You’ll learn to strike at the exact right moment, similar to playing drums in a rhythmical manner. Refer to the following video as a guide to learn how to use a speed bag:
#3. Work on Your Form
One of the most common beginners’ mistakes is to let their guard down. Instead of protecting the jaw with the fists, novices tend to hold their wrists lower, closer to the chest.
This is usually due to weak shoulders, or simply poor form. Either way, it’s a weakness a rival would quickly take advantage of.
The speed bag is typically hung at head height. You, therefore, need to keep your fists up at all times to keep up with the cadence. Bringing your arms down after every punch will wear you out in short time.
By gently bouncing the bag, it’ll act as an upcoming punch. This will allow you to work on your sparring technique, avoiding the bag by adding in the ‘bog and weave’ technique.
#4. Intense Exercise
Speed bag training provides the needed aerobic and cardiovascular workout, burning undesired fat as a result. Routines usually last from 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your endurance and skills. Rest for a couple of minutes before proceeding again.
Because you aren’t using strength, and only applying light resistance, this sport is easy on your joints, wrists and knuckles. Speed bags aren’t designed to make you bulky or gain significant muscle mass. Yet, the consistent repetitions can still shape muscles when starting — especially the trapezius and deltoids.
Most speed bags routines combine fitness exercises, such as push-ups or squats, to deliver a full-body workout. The cardio provided releases dopamine to the brain, the famous ‘happiness’ hormone, helping to alleviate stress. That’s hitting two birds with one stone!
#5. Easily Accessible
Speed bags are generally more affordable than heavy ones. If you’d like to add one to your home, it’s simple to set up, even by yourself. You won’t need to install a beam, and they can be effortlessly fixed directly into a door frame.
Workouts tend to be shorter, and you don’t need as much equipment. It’s, therefore, easy to fit a 10–15 minutes speed bag workout in a few times throughout the day. With speed bag training, you won’t even have to warm-up.
These bags don’t require heavy upkeep. Best practice is to ensure it’s inflated monthly, but that’s as far as maintenance goes.
Alongside with heavy bag routines, speed bag training is generally used as a complement workout.
Although it may look simple at first, it’s harder than you think. With a little practice, however, your arms’ endurance and upper body agility should significantly improve.
We hope this article detailing the 5 benefits of speed bag training will convince you to incorporate this type of drills into your boxing routine. It’ll certainly give you an upper hand over your opponent.