martial arts

Types of Punching Bags – Which Punching Bag Type is for You?

Best Types of Punching Bags

Whether you just started boxing, or have been training for years, this article will cover the different types of punching bags and which one is best suited for different training purposes. First, we will explain the basics of punching bags and then dive into which type of bag is best suited for your training. 

Types of Punching Bags 

Punchbags or punching bags are sturdy cylindrical cloth sacks filled with materials of varying hardnesses. Punching bags are typically used to train the body when studying martial arts. The bags can also come in handy to practice using a sword when reenacting military history. Mixed martial arts training like Muay Thai and Taekwondo involve a lot of kicking so punching bags evolved into heavy bags and standing bags to help improve skills. 


When it comes to buying a punching bag, you’ll need to know the different types of bags and what each one is used for. Listed down below are the different types of punching bags and what each type of punching bag is best used for.

Hanging Heavy Bags

The most popular punching bags are hanging heavy bags. People often prefer hanging heavy bags because they allow for a full swing which mimics an opponent’s movements. Full swinging hanging heavy bags also allow the martial artist or boxer to move around the bag to practice skills. The hanging heavy bag is the most typical punching bag used in martial arts training. This bag is great for kicking and punching which makes it ideal for boxing, muay Thai, taekwondo, and kickboxing. 


Because hanging heavy bags are the most versatile, you can expect to see it at most gyms that offer boxing, muay Thai, and MMA training. Hanging heavy bags are perfect for developing strength, power, precision, and footwork. Usually, heavy bags are hung up at waist height. Most standard heavy bags will measure 4 ft to 5 ft. The amount of swing and feedback can be adjusted by changing the filling and bag weight. The most common filling for heavy hanging punching bags is torn pieces of fabric. The fabric shreds give the bag more realistic feedback and feel when practicing punching and kicking. Over time, it is normal for the fabric to compact and get harder at the bottom. Sand is another option for heavy bag filling although it is much harder to punch, it will improve your conditioning faster than soft material. 

Free-Standing Punching Bags

What if you don’t have enough space for a swinging hanging heavy bag? If you live in an apartment or working out in your garage, you may want to invest in a free-standing punching bag. free-standing punching bags attach to weighted bases. The bases are usually filled with water or sand. This is a great option if you have limited space and need to be able to move the bag when it’s not in use. If you are going to practice kicking and punching, we recommend tall free-standing punching bags. The heavy style punching bags with larger bases aren’t mobile and are best suited for kick-heavy training like muay Thai. 


All round, free-standing punching bags are great for beginners and advanced martial artists. They can be the perfect solution for practicing at home. They can also be hung from the ceilings or on the walls of your home. These bags come with chains that can be attached to your ceiling. If you just need a standard punching bag with no frills, a free-standing punching bag is exactly what you need. The cons of a free-standing punchbag is that there is limited feedback on your punches. Since the bags don’t swing, you are punching a stationary object and you are going to feel it in your joints. If you are going to be practicing once or twice a week on this bag, you will be okay. However, free-standing bags are not recommended for daily practice. 

Freestanding Reflex Bags 

Another freestanding option is the reflex bag, they are great for novice boxers or those looking to add a new type of workout to their repertoire. Reflex bags are smaller than free-standing punching bags and are popular for warming up and providing a fun, cardio workout. Traditionally, reflex bags are used in improving the speed, strength, agility, power and accuracy of boxers. The best part about reflex bags is that they are low-profile and can fit into small spaces. As an added bonus, most freestanding reflex bags are easy to assemble and do not require a drill, brackets, or chains. 

Speed Bags

Speed bags are typically used for boxing training. The name speed bag is due to the fact that this training tool develops punching speed and timing. The speed bag forces the boxer to hit the bag at the exact time to keep it going back and forth. Otherwise, they lose their rhythm and the speed bag falls out of step. Speed bags are always mounted at head height. This helps train boxers to keep their hands up which improves their sparring skills. Keeping your hands up protects your head and can make the difference between winning and losing a match. Most of the time, you will only find speed bags at boxing gyms and at people’s homes. 

Double End Bags

If you need to improve your hand-eye coordination, rhythm, accuracy, and/or combo speed, then a floor-to-ceiling double end bag is for you. As the name implies, these bags attach to the ceiling and floor with brackets and rope. The bag’s height and rope tension can be adjusted easily to fit your body ergonomics and exercise goals. The more tension on the rope, the faster the bag will rebound towards you. 


When you hit a double end bag, it will boomerang back towards you which increases your agility and speed. Larger double end bags are easier to hit because they have more surface area. If you are focusing on accuracy, make sure to get a smaller double end bag. More experienced boxers will also see improvements in their rhythm and timing from smaller floor-to-ceiling bags.