Heavy Bag

September 1, 2012 in Dragons Pulse, Sanshou - Tip of the Month

heavybagHitting the Heavy bag is a comprehensive cardiovascular and anaerobic workout that builds strength, stamina and quickness. Training with the heavy bag incorporates all of the body’s major muscle groups and is a functional exercise that can lead to better muscle balance and joint stability.

Heavy bags are filled with sand, water, or synthetic material, a heavy bag is hung with the top about a foot or two above your head. A good pair of handwrap will protect the bones and tendons in your hands from injury and provide support for the wrists. For small hands, choose 120″ wraps and opt for 170″ or longer for medium to large hands. Handwraps can be WASHED and reused, but if you train often you’ll want to invest in a few pairs.

Start wrapping at the wrists and work up the hands, remembering to keep the marked “this side up” to Velcro the wraps properly. Wrap the wrists and hands tight enough that the wraps are firmly in place but not so tight that they impede circulation. Lastly, find a good pair of bag gloves. Bag gloves are perfect for a brisk session with a heavy or speed bag, but are not appropriate for sparring. Bag gloves protect the hands and can offer limited wrist support, depending on the model. Leather gloves are a superior choice because of their durability, and you’ll want gloves that secure with Velcro unless you have a partner to lace your gloves for you. Push your fingers into the gloves as deep as they will go and wrap them around the internal bar for a proper fit.

The proper fighting stance for right-handed boxers is to put your left foot three to six inches in front of your right, lean forward with 60 percent of your weight on the balls of the feet, and stand with your feet hip-width apart. The knees are bent with kneecaps roughly even with the balls of the feet. The upper body should be loose and the shoulders should be slightly in front of the hips. Point your left shoulder toward your target. Keep your chin down and your hands up around your chin or cheeks. Test your stance by asking someone to give you a push; you shouldn’t stagger in any direction.

You can improve your overall quickness, agility and coordination with speed training on the heavy bag. Try training in one-minute intervals, throwing continuous combinations of four or more punches at a time. The key in speed training is to throw as many punches as you can as fast as possible with proper form. Lightly pepper the bag with jabs, straight punches, hooks, and uppercuts– save the heavy hitting for power training.

The most basic speed drill is the “outside drill,” where you circle the bag and throw jabs with your front hand and then move to combinations by adding straight punches with your back hand. After your interval is up, take a 30- to 60- second breather.

Power bag training increases your punching power and overall strength with intervals of hitting the bag as hard as possible while maintaining proper technique and form. You will run out of energy much faster when power punching than in speed training. For power training on the heavy bag, punch 15 to 25 repetitions or in 30-second intervals with a minute of rest in between. Try the “inside drill,” where you get close to the bag and throw only hooks and uppercuts, bobbing and weaving in between punches. As your stamina increases, increase the workout time and decrease the rest interval.

It always helps to have a certified coach around for at least your first few heavy bag sessions. The heavy bag is not forgiving on the joints if your technique is off. Start slow in practicing fighting bag techniques to avoid injury, and remember that it takes hours of repetition to develop sound form.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious” Vince Lombardi

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