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A punching bag is a sturdy bag designed to be repeatedly punched, for use in physical exercise or stress relief in order to improve one of three areas: physical strength, aerobic fitness, or punching technique.


Punching bags have been used in martial arts and swordplay for as long as there has been a written history of military training.[1] Similar apparatus in Asian martial arts include the Okinawan makiwara and the Chinese mook jong, which may have padded striking surfaces attached to them.[2]

In martial arts and combat sports such as Karate, Taekwondo, and Muay Thai; heavy bags, standing bags, and similar apparatuses have been adapted for practicing kicking and other striking maneuvers in addition to developing punching technique.[2]


Punching bags are often filled with grains, sand, rags, or other material and are usually hung from the ceiling or affixed to a stand.[3] Other bags have an internal bladder to allow them to be filled with air or water. The design of a punching bag allows it to take repeated and constant physical abuse without breaking. The bag must also absorb the impact of blows, without causing harm to the user.

Types of bagEdit

There are different types of punching bags, with different names based on their size, use and mounting method. Almost all punching bags are covered with leather or synthetic materials such as vinyl which resist abrasion and mildew. Canvas is also used as a bag material where there is lower use and humidity.

Speed bags are small, air-filled bags anchored at the top to a rebound platform parallel to the ground. Speed bags help a fighter learn to keep his hands up, as well as improve hand-eye coordination.[1][2]

Double-end bags or Focus bags are light, round bags, often anchored to floor and ceiling with elastic or semi-elastic materials. These types of bags are used to practice mobility and accuracy on a moving target.[1][2]

Maize bags are not punched with great force but are used in boxing training to improve the athlete's head motion and ability to evade an opponent's punch, their name deriving from the fact that traditionally they are filled with maize.

A heavy bag is a larger, cylindrical bag, usually suspended by chains or ropes for practicing powerful body punches.[1][2]

Pedestal bags or tower bags are heavy bags mounted on a weighted pedestal rather than being hung from above. Other variations on the standard heavy bag include horizontal suspension from both ends to practice uppercut punches and non-cylindrical shapes.

File:Punching bag man.jpg

Body-shaped training aids such as the modern "body opponent bag" and the fabled "slam man" are made primarily of synthetic materials, and punching bags are sometimes mounted on a weighted pedestal rather than hanging from above. These are not punching bags in the strict sense, but modern versions of apparatus such as the wooden man apparatus of Chinese Wing Chun, the medieval quintain and target dummies used in modern bayonet training. Large inflatable balloons with weighted bases are another kind of punching bag, often painted with a picture and sold as a children's toy.

Safety precautionsEdit

Powerful strikes to the heavy bag are not recommended for younger athletes, lest they risk damage to their still-developing bones. Adult athletes who strike the bag with full force are encouraged to use hand wraps and bag gloves to avoid injuries such as the boxer's fracture of the fifth metacarpal.[1][2]

Turn of phraseEdit

A "punching bag" is a name used for a person who is the victim of bullying.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 DePasquale, Peter (1990), The Boxer's Workout, Fighting Fit, 176, ISBN 0962705004
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Lee, Bruce (1977), Bruce Lee's Fighting Method,Vol. 2: Basic Training, Ohara, 128, ISBN 0897500512
  3. NBC 30 Connecticut. Family's Punching Bag Holds Smelly Surprise (2007-05-17). Retrieved on 2007-05-26.

See alsoEdit

Look up Punching bag in
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de:Sandsack (Trainingsgerät) es:saco de boxeo ja:サンドバッグ ru:Боксёрская груша

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