Using the heavy bag can be a great way to improve your game.  It is there to help better your endurance, strength, and to work on proper punching techniques and combinations.  Despite the name, the punching bag shouldn’t just be a bag that you punch.  It should be treated as a true opponent so that you can prepare as much as possible for the real thing.  When fighting an opponent, important things to consider are blocking effectively and using many combos to keep your opponent on his toes.

The jab_____________________________

For a righty, the left jab is your lead punch.  Although the jab isn’t as powerful as the cross (right/strong arm), it is there to setup scenarios where a cross can be landed- it is usually the start to every combination.  The cross is meant to stun and trick your opponent so that a big punch can be landed.

With your right hand by your chin for protection against the punching bag (your opponent), a jab should be very quick.  As a starting position both fists should be by your chin for protection.  It is very important that after a jab is thrown, you return back to the starting position.  The fist should be turned 90 degrees when throwing a jab, starting with your thumb faced up and making impact to the punching bag with your thumb to the side.  Again, even though you may be training with a heavy bag that won’t necessarily attack you, it is important to always come back to your chin to protect yourself.  Practice makes perfect.

Don’t let the punching bag win____________________

Whether it is the jab or any other punch, it is important to remember to make contact primarily with the pointer and middle finger knuckles.  There are many injuries because punches are landed right between the middle two knuckles.  These injuries can last months or years, so this is not something to scoff over.  Injuries can occur with a bag or with an opponent.

Whenever you throw a punch, it is important to effectively transfer weight into your punches and to keep your opponent on his toes.  I love this sport so I could chew your ear off forever giving you thousands of punching bag techniques- Instead of doing this, I just want to stress a few of my favorite shots and shifting your weight effectively.

Jab:  Strive to punch straight forward and retreat straight back, using hips for power.  To ensure a straight punch, line up your fist with a spot on the heavy bag and just focus on staying in line with that spot.

Left body shot: Lean in towards the heavy bag, use power from hips, pivoting off the ball of your left foot.  Many times this shot is meant to contact the kidneys because it takes a lot out of your opponent.  With proper pivoting and weight transfer, you should be able to move the punching bag a good amount.

Left hook: Ensure elbow is at the same elevation as your shoulder for a strong punch.  With your arm bent at a right angle, pivot off your back foot.  Again you should be able to move the punching bag a good amount.

Remember to have fun, stay focused and get the most out of training with your punching bag.  Even though the heavy back won’t hit back, remember to keep the guard up.  And even though it might be fun to just use your stronger arm and throw crosses constantly, the jab is really the shot that sets up the fight so that the stronger punches can have a place later.

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Dave Toub is the owner of Punching Bags Pro and absolutely loves the sport.

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