A punching bag provides an effective workout for boxers and fitness enthusiasts alike. Hitting a punch bag will condition the muscles of your arms, shoulders, chest and core — your abdominal muscles, waist and lower back — as well as burn plenty of calories.
At $150-plus, a punching bag can be prohibitively expensive but you can make a homemade version for a fraction of the cost. Always wear hand wraps and/or bag gloves when working out with your homemade punching bag to minimize your risk of suffering a hand injury.
Homemade Punching Bag
Make your punching bag with a duffel bag, clothes, rope and duct tape.
- Turn the duffel bag inside out and check all of the seams — inspect the seams for weak spots. Reinforce any seams that need strengthening using sail maker's thread and needle.
- Turn the duffel bag right side out and begin to stuff it with clothes or rags. Alternate a 4-inch layer of clothes with a 1-inch layer of sawdust.
- Compress the filling by putting your foot inside the bag and stamping down the stuffing to pack it as densely as possible. Continue filling the bag until you are 12 inches from the top.
- Shake the filled bag from side to side and then compress the contents one more time by stamping down on the filling.
- Close the bag and tie the rope around the neck.
- Take the middle of your rope and loop it around the neck of the bag. Wrap the rope ends as tightly as you can around the bag, making two or three turns and securing with a knot. Make sure that you leave sufficient rope to hang your bag up.
- Stand the bag on its base and wrap the duct tape horizontally around the bag. Work your way up from base to just below the top in one continuous strip. Make sure that each loop of tape slightly overlaps the previous one so that no duffel bag material is visible.
- Repeat this process until you have two to three layers of duct tape on your punching bag.
- Use the loose ends of rope to secure your punch bag to a suitable overhead anchor.
Workout Tips for Punching Bags
Punching bag workouts quickly get your heart pounding and blast calories. Training with a punching bag is an effective way to build endurance for sparring with a partner. And, according to Harvard Health Publishing, a person weighing 155 pounds can burn 335 calories per 30 minutes of sparring. That number jumps to 400 calories for a person weighing 185 pounds.
Wrap your hands when working out with your homemade punching bag. This provides stability to all the joints in your hand to help distribute the shock when hitting the bag.
Warm up by performing some light cardio, stretching and shadow boxing before working out with your punching bag.
Never hold your thumb inside your fist when punching as this will result in injury.