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Does Hitting a Punching Bag Help Lose Weight?

author image Beverlee Brick
Beverlee Brick began writing professionally in 2009, contributing to various websites. Prior to this, she wrote curriculum and business papers in four different languages. As a martial arts and group fitness instructor, she has taught exercise classes in North America, Europe and Asia. She holds master's degrees in French literature and education.
Does Hitting a Punching Bag Help Lose Weight?
A woman hitting a punching bag. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

From the look of professional fighters and martial artists, you might think that a workout on a punching bag melts pounds off your body. However, a punching bag workout is much like any other kind of exercise when it comes to weight loss. If you do it right, and regularly, it may help. If not, your results are likely to disappoint.

Sustained Workout

If you want to lose weight by hitting a punching bag, you have to hit it the right way. Lots of people play around on a bag, striking it a few times for fun, but that won't get your body burning calories at the rate you need. Instead, you should work the bag intensely for rounds of two to five minutes, with one- or two-minute breaks between rounds. By hitting the bag this way, you elevate your heart rate enough to burn calories effectively, and keep it up through consistent activity.

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As a general rule, a heavy punching bag is a better tool for weight loss than a speed bag, double-ended bag, floor-to-ceiling bag or slip bag. The heavy bags resist your strikes, forcing you to work harder with each punch. The other bags build attributes such as speed, rhythm and timing, but they don't force you to work hard enough to burn calories.

Losing Weight

If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. A punching bag workout can burn significant calories -- about 450 per hour for a 155-pound person. However, if you eat extra calories to make up the difference, or you only work out occasionally, the extra calories won't be enough to stimulate significant weight loss.

Bottom Line

Hitting the right kind of punching bag the correct way can help with weight loss. But the key word is help. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to participate in a regular aerobic workout to the tune of 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderately-intense exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorously-intense. In addition, you have to stick to a healthy diet rich in fiber, lean protein, lots of fresh foods and low-fat dairy. If you adhere to this lifestyle change along with punching, you may see a shift in your weight.

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