The best punching bags out there can be used for a number of different exercise modalities, including boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts (MMA) training, and more. Whether you’re starting home boxing classes or simply want to shake up your current fitness routine with a new full-body exercise, a punching bag is a great option for your home gym. If you’re looking to build strength using a punching bag, SELF spoke with fitness experts to learn more about the best punching bags and its recommended uses.
“When shopping for a punching bag, depending on your level of experience with boxing, you will need to pick accordingly in order to challenge yourself and still be safe,” Sandra Gail Frayna, founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports, tells SELF. Before you start swinging away, Noah Neiman, CPT, co-founder of Rumble Boxing encourages warming up by getting into your proper boxing stance and practicing the basics—jab, cross, hooks, and uppercuts. He adds, “Working the fundamentals of strength training (with deadlifts, squats, lunges, bench press, rows) coupled with some road work (runs, jumping rope, rowing, assault bikes) are all great compliments to your heavy bag routines.”
What to Look for When Buying a Punching Bag
Durability: Durability is important in a punching bag to ensure you’re getting the best use of your investment. For maximum durability, check out ones made of leather or powerhide. Chad Price, fitness expert, says bags with a power hide surface are extra durable, so you can feel confident that your splurge will last a good, long while. “As long as you find something that’s half your weight, a comfortable height, and fits in your workout space, it’s the right fit for you,” he says.
Set-Up: Bags can be either free-standing or hung. With free-standing bags, you won’t have to invest additional money in hanging them or worry about where you might place them in your home. These are easy to install and easier to use. However, keep in mind that free-standing bags typically have less resistance compared to hanging bags and take up more floor space. They can also be pricier since it comes with a convenient stand. Hanging heavy bags are great for intense workouts since they’re made to give you a wide range of motion and a smooth, solid punch. They’re usually far more durable compared to free-standing bags and can withstand more force. The drawback with hanging bags is they aren’t as easy to set up and have limited portability.
What’s Included: A complete kit with accessories like gloves, jump ropes, wall mounts, hand wraps, and even stands, can be incredibly helpful to those getting started. These punching bag sets include all the essentials at a fantastic value for a quick setup, a heart-pumping warm-up, and a killer workout.
Below we selected 13 of the best punching bags, according to personal trainers and fitness experts.
The Best Punching Bags
1. RDX Punching Bag
If you want everything you need to get started with your boxing workouts, this kit makes for an excellent investment. “It has all the tools and materials you will need to make your own home gym or practice area,” Frayna tells SELF. She says this bag avoids swaying after a punch, making for longer training sessions undisturbed.
2. Quiet Punch Doorway Punching Bag
Kevin Harris, personal trainer, wrestling coach, and the founder & CEO of NANBF considers this an ideal choice for its all-around usefulness. “This option is great if you are strapped for space or you’re renting and can’t make any changes to your walls or ceilings,” he says. Bonus perk: It makes a great quiet workout that’s easy to set up to your door joints without damaging your home or taking it with you while you travel.
3. Combat Sports Muay Thai Punching Bag
Stephanie Thomas, a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), considers this heavy bag by Combat Sports perfect for experienced users who want to get more out of their workout. Harris adds that he loves using Muay Thai bags because they’re extremely versatile compared to traditional boxing bags. “They’re longer and heavier, making them perfect for a more experienced fighter, or if you want to practice kicks,” he says.
4. Aqua Punching Bag
The Aqua Punching Bag is so popular that four of the experts we chatted with selected it among their favorite picks. Neiman tells SELF that he and his Rumble colleagues searched “to the ends of the earth” for the best bag to bring to their studio and group fitness experience until they found the Aqua Training Bag. “With a rounded sleek teardrop look, you have the ability to throw a variety of punches safely.” He adds that “Uppercuts punches, which are traditionally a little more dangerous to throw on traditional bags, roll like butter on these Aqua bags.”