At first, many novices struggle to keep up the pace with the tiny ball. Lighter than other boxing equipment, speed bags bounce back at a very rapid pace.
They’re typically used to complement heavy bag drills rather than used in isolation. The best boxing speed bag workouts described below should help you improve your boxing pace and hand-eye coordination.
Suitable from beginners to advanced levels, these methods require your entire concentration and focus. No weekend catch up during a speed bag training session!
Getting Ready for the Speed Bag
Before starting to throwing punches, there are a few tips and tricks you need to be aware of:
- Various types of speed bags are made for different workouts.
- A speed bag stance differs from a heavy bag one.
- Get the right equipment.
- Setup your bag correctly.
- Practice without the bag.
The Different Types of Speed Bags
Typically, speed bags come in three sizes: small, medium and large. The smaller the size, the faster it’ll be. Larger models are slightly slower, therefore, easier to use for beginners.
Speed Bag Stance
Unlike the punching bag stance, place your feet side by side at shoulder’s width. Your chest should be facing the bag so you’re square on to the bag. Keep your legs flexible, with your knees slightly bent.
How to Setup Your Bag
Ensure that the belly of the speed is in line with your nose. If it’s too low or too high, adjust the height. In most gyms, the speed bag is installed to the wall through a platform. You should find hinges close to the wall, and generally a rotating handle to adjust the height.
If you’re unsure how to correct the position, ask a trainer or another member. You don’t know unless you ask!
Get the Right Equipment
You don’t need much in order to get started with a speed bag workout:
- Hand wraps.
Speed bag drills are all about accuracy, which can’t be achieved by wearing thick boxing gloves. Although you see boxers punching speed bags with bare hands, we recommend using hand wraps to protect them.
When punching a speed bag, your eyes need to stay on the ball. A second of inattention and you’ll lose your flow.
Whether by using your phone, a watch or a proper boxing timing device, ensure that you can hear when the time is up. Your mind should stay focused on your next punch rather than wondering how much time you have left until the end of your set.
Practice Without the Bag
Understanding some basic moves and punches before facing the bag can be helpful. Here are a few tips:
When looking at boxers training on speed bags, you may feel that they’re striking in a back and forth motion. In fact, they’re hitting the bag in a circular movement.
- With your fist across your chest and your elbow slightly up, rotate your first up and away from you in a circular motion. The rotation should come from your elbow.
- When it’s time to use the bag, let it bounce three times and strike it halfway on its fourth swing.
- Practice until the movement feels comfortable.
Even if you start training with one hand only, always keep the second one guarding your face. Your elbow shouldn’t be higher than your shoulder.
While you almost exclusively use your knuckles with punching bags, speed bags allow you to use various parts of your hand:
- Heel of your fist.
- Front of your fist.
Speed Bag Workouts
Although this may seem like a light workout, you still need to warm up. speed bag stance can cause strain injuries when improperly conditioned. To get warm, rotate your arms, elbows and wrists in each direction a few times.
Speed Bag Workouts for Beginners
Beginners’ sets are generally shorter, as arms and shoulders get tired faster. During each set of 30 seconds, punch as many times as you can.
- Set duration: 15 seconds.
- Rest between sets: 30 seconds.
Begin by opening your palm flat; you’ll be less tempted to punch hard this way.
- Place both open hands side by side, palms open, close to the bag.
- Use your fingertips to hit the bag gently.
- Slowly get into the rhythm.
Slow Single Punch
For this drill, turn your open hand into a fist. Begin by using your power hand — which is generally the one you write with. It’s also the hand you typically use at the rear on a normal boxing stance.
- Punch by using the heel of your fist.
- Slightly hit the bag, without excessive power, so it doesn’t hit the support.
- Keep the routine slow. Once you feel you’re ready, pick up the pace, so it bounces off the support.
- Repeat with the other hand.
Hand to Hand
You’re now ready to alternate both hands: right-left-right-left.
- Use the same motion and form as our previous exercise.
- Keep the motion slow and focus on the form.
- Don’t forget to keep your inactive hand in its guarding position at all times.
Continue the momentum and double each hand:
- Throw two left punches followed by another two with your right hand.
- Take ‘three bounces” of rest and repeat.
- Once you’ve mastered this routine, continue right-right-left-left without interruption.
This type of workout is similar to the single punch, except that you’re using the knuckles. Punch as if you were throwing a straight punch. Yet, don’t try to put power into the blow; the speed bag isn’t meant for this purpose.
Use the routines above but with a straight punch, making sure to balance both fists.
This strike can be challenging to get used to. Don’t give up; this is your last step before moving on to intermediate drills. The goal of this movement is to punch the bag from the back, towards its center.
- Proceed with a regular uppercut punch — moving your fist upward. Your palm should be facing you at all times.
- Hit the speed bag from the back.
- Repeat on the other side.
Intermediate Level Strikes
The fundamental speed bag workouts focus on single punches to acquire form and rhythm. Intermediate drills, on the other hand, include new strikes and short combinations.
- Set duration: 1 to 2 minute(s).
- Rest between sets: 30 seconds.
Right Straight – Left Uppercut
Begin this routine slowly. If you need to wait for a few bounces between each set, it’s okay. As you practice, you’ll be able to increase the pace.
- Start with a straight punch by using your knuckles.
- Work on your punch accuracy; the bag needs to bounce in a straight line for you to punch it at the back.
- Throw a left uppercut landing on the center back of the bag.
Straight – Heel Punch
This drill seriously challenges hand-eye coordination.
- Begin with a straight right punch, your knuckles facing forward.
- Continuing with the same hand, throw a right punch with the heel of your fist.
- Then move to your left hand and repeat.
Try to complete the following three sets — each set being one straight, one heel — uninterrupted. Only if needed, take a rest of 30 seconds between each.
- Set 1: right hand only.
- Set 2: left hand only
- Set 3: alternate right knuckles, left heel punch.
The ‘8-shape’ Combination
At this point, your shoulders should be on fire; this combo won’t make them feel any better! This routine consists of hitting the ball from both the front and back, using only one hand:
- Bring your left elbow up, in a 90-degree from your body.
- Hit the bag with the side of your left fist, slightly below the bag’s center.
- As your left arm is fully extended, bring it back the same way, by hitting the back of the bag.
- The motion entirely comes from the elbow onward. Your body and shoulders should stay still.
- Keep in mind that you aren’t scooping the bag. Your forearm moves in a straight, horizontal direction.
- Repeat with the other arm.
Add Some Footwork
Reiterate the last three workouts by adding some footwork:
- While punching, switch your body weight from your left to the right foot.
- As you’re punching with your right hand, tilt to your left foot, and vice versa.
- This should be very small movements, or you could lose balance.
For those who can complete the intermediate routines with eyes closed, we have another challenge for you.
- Set duration: 3 minutes.
- Rest between sets: 1 minute.
For this workout, go in a regular boxing stance, with your left shoulder forward (assume orthodox stance).
- Place both your fists in front of you. You’re going to punch with both hands going in the same direction, straight after each other, as if they’re stuck together.
- Start punching the bag with your left hand.
- As the bag swings back, your right hand catches the ball.
- Between both punches, the ball should only touch the wall/support once.
- While making small jumps from one leg to the other, circle around the bag.
- Keep changing directions.
- The bag will be swinging in all directions, making it harder to catch.
- Use your head, move your upper body from side to side to avoid the ball.
- And continue with your next workout.
This is the grand finale.
- Throw any of the previous combinations and punches.
- It doesn’t matter which ones and for how long.
- Strike as fast as you can for 3 minutes, and don’t keep the ball out of your sight.
- Continue turning around the ball while you’re mixing all the combos.
Speed bag workouts consist of dexterity, accuracy and pace. Most of us like to challenge ourselves by speeding up from the start; however, we recommend to start slow. This is the only way to acquire proper techniques and build confidence and momentum.
Speed and coordination come with experience and can be acquired rather fast. Start with the basic workouts, gradually making your way up to more advanced drills.