Improve Your Conditioning With This Heavy Bag Workout

STACK Expert Steve Green offers a great introduction to heavy bag workouts—both their benefits and how to do them.

A heavy bag workout doesn't have to be reserved for boxers and martial artists. Athletes in all sports can benefit from taking the gloves to the bag. The benefits of working with a heavy bag include aerobic fitness, power development and increased core strength and balance. If you are looking for a great way to condition yourself for your next match, game or contest, turn to the heavy bag to help you get there.

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Before you start hitting the bag, be sure you have the proper equipment. Hand wraps and gloves (16-ounce gloves may be a good starting spot) should be used to protect your hands. Be sure to practice proper form on your punches, and do not worry about speed or strength if you are new to the bag. Focus on form and basics first.

Perform the following rounds for three minutes each, with one minute of rest in between.

Round 1

The first round is all about warming up. Start with only a jab, but focus on incorporating head movement. Slip, duck and move your head before and after your jabs. Get your body in rhythm with your feet, and work out different angles that you can take. Keep an easy pace and work on fluid motion, getting your entire body to work together.

Round 2

If round one is a warm-up to gauge distance and start head movement, round two is introducing combinations. Start with a simple jab/cross combination before adding hooks and uppercuts. As you work through the three-minute round, work on changing the speed and rhythm of your combinations. Your pace should pick up noticeably from the first round.

Round 3

Round three will have you working from a southpaw (or unorthodox) stance. If you are naturally a southpaw, then switch to the orthodox stance. It will feel unnatural throwing combinations from the opposite side at first, but after some practice, you will develop greater skill.

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Round 4

The fourth round should be conducted at "fight speed," or with the speed and intensity you'd have in a competition. Since a bag won't hit back, focus on being on the offensive for the entire three-minute round. Switch your combinations up, move in and out, mix in a few power punch. You should treat this round like a real competition.

Round 5

The fifth and final round should be you emptying your gas tank. Move in close to the bag and stay there. Throw whatever combinations and punches you have left, or, in other words," stay busy" working the bag. At the end of this round, you should be tired out.

At the end of the five rounds, you have a few options. If you are sufficiently tired, you are done. If you feel up for the challenge, you can do the workout all over again. Or, if you have other exercises or lifts to do, you can do them. Regardless of how, and where, you incorporate this heavy bag workout, you'll see results.

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