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Is a Punching Bag a Cardio Workout?

author image Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.
Is a Punching Bag a Cardio Workout?
Hitting the punching bag can help anyone improve their speed and quickness. Photo Credit XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

Boxers use the punching bag to work on their hand speed, instincts and endurance. It is a dynamic tool that gives fighters a great cardio workout. The punching bag is one of the most traditional tools used in boxing, and many outside the sport use it to work out and improve their overall cardiovascular conditioning. This exercise provides a cardio workout because it elevates your heart rate, uses a number of muscles in cooperation and has a rhythmic quality.

Develop a Rhythm

The way to hit the speed bag properly is to jab it consistently with your left hand. Make sure your left shoulder is facing the bag. Throw your left hand at the center of the bag and then let it hit the back rim, rebound to the front rim and then the back rim again before you throw another pitch. Hit the bag with two left jabs and then follow with a right cross. Keep going in this manner for three minutes at a time. That mimics a boxing round. Take a one-minute break and then repeat the drill.

Boost Your Speed and Timing

Hitting the punching bag increases your speed, timing and endurance. It also increases your confidence. Once you learn how to hit the speed bag regularly, it usually results in the knowledge that you can defend yourself if you need to. As you do this, you increase stamina and endurance as you build an effective cardio routine.

Improve Your Striking

In order to throw punches rhythmically and continuously, you must have your weight balanced on the front of your feet. To get an effective cardio workout, throw sequenced punches while remaining balanced. Left-left-right or left-right-left are typical patterns. In order to ensure that you get a great cardio workout, breathe properly as you hit the bag. Many new fighters tend to hold their breath as they begin a sequence and quickly exhaust themselves. Breathing regularly and through your nose will allow you to punch the bag with a purpose.

Strengthen Your Muscles

In addition to helping you get an impactful cardio workout, you can build strength and definition in your chest and arms when hitting the punching bag. Your muscles respond quickly when you have a full workout on the bag. You will feel fatigued at the end of two or three rounds, but your arms and shoulders will develop fully when you push yourself.

Protect Yourself

While you will feel tired when you hit the punching bag, you are not likely to get injured from your routines. The punching bag offers little resistance, and that is good for the bones, tendons and joints in your hands when you do the punching. Always wear hand wraps and bag gloves before hitting a heavy bag and hand wraps when using a speed bag. Although light in nature, the wraps are integral for protecting your joints.

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