The heavy bag provides a solid tool for getting into shape, whether you are an experienced boxer or someone who likes to add a bit of variety to his workout. Punching and kicking work a lot of different muscles, and good boxers and kickers generate power especially through their core muscles. This leads to an productive abdominal workout that stresses your core and burns fat.
Wrap Those Hands
Before you start working with the heavy bag, you should have some experience with boxing. If you plan on kicking the bag too, you should have some martial arts or kickboxing experience. You can easily hurt yourself by connecting badly with the bag. Make sure you are wearing hand protection. Some people like light bag gloves, but if you are a hard puncher or are planning on doing regular bag work, you should use boxing hand wraps and boxing gloves to protect your hands.
Hooks and Uppercuts
Almost all boxing and kickboxing movements require you to use your abdominal muscles to stabilize and generate power. To maximize the effect, you should concentrate on movements that require more core rotation and also focus on exaggerating the extent to which you twist and rotate. Power punches such as hooks and uppercuts work well for this, as power should be generated explosively through your hips and your core. Kicking also works the abdominals. Throw roundhouse kicks to the bag, being sure to drive the kick by turning your hips, rather than trying to generate power through your legs.
Don't Forget Combinations
Focus on movements that stress the core. Chain together combinations that make you rotate your body. Punching combinations such as a left hook-right cross-left hook allow you to really empahsize the rotation of your core. Also, boxing and conditioning coach Ross Enamait points out that you should be punching at high intensity to ensure you get real benefits. Other things you can incorporate into your workout are bobbing and weaving, slipping and head movement. Exaggerate your movements and really twist at the waist.
Tap into Tabata
Add other exercises into your routine. You might hit the bag for a time, then do a set of situps, before hitting the bag again, and so on. Other options include altering the length and number of your sets. Enamait recommends hitting the bag at full power for 20 second intervals with a break of 10 seconds. This is known as the Tabata protocol provides an intense workout.
After Your Workout
Finish your workout with some dedicated abdominal work. You can hold the plank, the side plank, and you can perform any variation on situps. After you have finished, stretch. Your shoulders, glutes and abdominals will have borne the brunt, so focus on these areas. The heavy bag puts demands on your whole body, so you will also need to allow yourself time to rest afterwards, a point stressed by boxing coach Mike Bresnahan.