Working on the heavy bags can be surprisingly difficult and even intimidating when you first start boxing. Oftentimes people are not sure how to approach the bag, what strikes to throw, how to set a pace and, as a result, tend to get nervous or avoid it all together. So, here are a few tips to make your training time on the bag a little more productive and help you look like a pro.   

Tips for hitting the heavy bag:


1.  Have a goal:                                                                                          heavy bag 2

A great starting place is three, three minute rounds with a 60 second rest in between. You can adjust this as your goals change and your conditioning improves. Download a boxing ring timer app for your phone and get familiar with its features.   

2.  Start out of range and use your footwork when not punching:

Your first few punches don’t even need to land. This is a good way of developing your sense of range and will help develop good habits for sparring. Use this time to get into rhythm and work your shuffle steps, half steps and pivots around the bag. If you are standing stationary you are only working half your body.  

3.  Throw combinations, not single punches:

It’s ok to throw single punches if you are very new and just drilling a specific technique but get in the habit of throwing combinations. Combos like the Standard 4 and Reverse Standard 4 are nice infinite combinations you can work to build up your cardio. You can also double up strikes on one side and change the elevations of your strikes (ie. left hook to body and left hook to head).  

4.  Control the swing of the bag:

When the bag starts swinging, don’t hit it when it’s closest to you, this will only make it swing more. Instead try to hit right as it starts to swing back to control the swing. If you do find that the bag starts to swing too much, move in close for a shoulder bump and work some close range bent arm blows before moving back out.  

5.  Don’t forget your defense:

Just because the bag doesn’t punch back doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be practicing your defenses. When you look at the bag, imagine an opponent standing in front of you. Work on stepping in when you punch and then either cutting an angle or moving back out of range. You can also apply your defenses to whatever strikes you are throwing. For example, If you throw a 1,2 then you can defend the 1,2 with a catch and parry.


The heavy bag is one of the best training tools available to you but it’s not just for developing power. Treat it like any other opponent and use all your tools when training with it. If you are in the Portland area and are interested in learning more about boxing and Muay Thai, contact us today at 503 235 3435.