A heavy bag hung at the optimal height responds to punches similar to an actual opponent, providing valuable feedback during practice. Because the heavy bag is an important tool for learning correct technique, it is essential to hang it so that it responds consistently to a correct punch.
Heavy Bags and Boxing Technique
The heavy bag teaches punching technique primarily through feel. When the boxer connects with the bag at the correct point and in the correct way to score an effective punch on a human opponent, it should feel approximately the same to strike the bag as it would to strike the person. Punches at the height of the head should make the bag move backward, while punches to the height of the body should resist the force a bit more. Either way, the bag shouldn't move too much or feel too soft or too hard when being struck. The height of the bag affects all of these factors.
If you don't have a strong beam or ceiling capable of supporting 70 pounds to 100 pounds that vibrates every time it is struck, you may need a freestanding heavy bag instead of a ceiling-hung bag. It is possible to knock a heavy bag and its chain out of the ceiling with a powerful punch, which can damage the ceiling or the beam from which the bag is hung.
The Head-Height Approach
One approach to determining the proper height for hanging a heavy bag is to line up the top of the bag with the top of your head. The rules and tactical approach of boxing favor the knockout strike to the opponent's head, so it makes sense to hang your heavy bag at a height where it will be easy to practice punching a target at head height. However, if the bottom of the bag kicks back when you hit the bag, you need to make adjustments. When the bag is hung at the proper height, the entire bag moves backward with your punches.
Finding the Sweet Spot
Every punching bag has a "sweet spot," or optimal place to land most of your punches. If your punch lands below the sweet spot, you will feel too much resistance. If your punch lands above the sweet spot, the bag will spin around without moving backward. If your punch lands on the sweet spot, the bag will be knocked back, just like an opponent staggering backward from the power of an effective punch. Most heavy bag manufacturers place a label at the sweet spot on the bag, so if you hang your punching bag so the label is around the level of your own eyes, you can find the sweet spot easily and consistently. By placing your punches with correct technique on this exact spot, you can learn how to hit with knockout power.