15 Different Types of Punching Bags & How to Use Them

Boxing is a combat sport that requires good strength, agility, speed, and coordination. You need to be on top of your game before entering the ring. To hone your techniques and train better, you need a punching bag. Most boxers have a punching bag at home or gym to practice for their matches. 

Not only boxing and martial arts, but these punching bags are also ideal for fitness and cardio sessions. They are a great way to release stress. Are you considering buying one but can’t decide? If yes, then check out this guide on 15 different styles of punching bags and how to use them.

Heavy Bags

Heavy punching bags are typically found in gyms and fitness centers. These bags hang on the wall/ceiling with a chain to support them. Heavy bags help you master your kicks, punches, and uppercuts. Here are the types of heavy bags available:

1. Traditional Heavy Bag:

Traditional heavy bags are the most common form of punching bags. They weigh from 70 to 150 lbs and hang from the ceiling or are placed on heavy bag stands

These stands keep the bag stable when the user punches it. This bag is perfect for MMA, boxing, and Muay Thai practice. 

They are used to training for competitions and also in fitness and cardio sessions at the gym. They help develop upper body strength and exercises your hands and wrists. This bag ranges from soft (shredded fabrics) to hard rock (sand), depending on the fill inside it. You can choose the fill as per your training preference. The bag swings easily with softer material, and harder fill allows you to train your shins better. 

How to Use:

For the chained bags, people generally take the help of a partner who can hold the bag still while they punch it. It is suitable for potential boxers who want to work on their punching power, technique, and movements for a match. 

Related: Best Outdoor Punching Bag

2. Muay Thai Heavy Bag (Banana Style):

A Muay Thai bag is similar to a traditional heavy bag, but is longer. It is about 6ft long and weighs around 100 to 130 lbs. As the name suggests, this bag is meant for Muay Thai and kickboxing practice. They are designed for leg kicks and are stuffed with harder material.

They are also chained to the wall/ceiling. These bags are heavier, and as a result, they remain stable and don’t swing back and forth. You don’t need a partner to train with you while using this bag. Also referred to as banana bags, these heavy bags are available in a wide array of sizes, styles, and weights. They are made of leather or vinyl material. 

How to use: A Muay Thai bag resembles an actual opponent, enabling you to practice better. You can train movements, punches, and kicks with the bag. The bag is denser at the bottom, as the weight sinks down. Therefore, you need to be careful while practicing low kicks, or you might end up hurting yourself.

3. Pole Bag:

A pole bag resembles a banana bag, but it is thicker and heavier. It has an average thickness of 23 inches and weighs about 300 lbs. You cannot hang the bag due to its weight and should instead place it on a vertical pole to use. This prevents the bag from slipping down. You can use the nylon straps to hang it. It is not as easy to move once you place it somewhere else.  

How to Use:

You can practice low kicks, and the punches will go in harder. It is excellent for powerful level-changing combinations in heavy training. 

4. Freestanding Punching Bag:

This heavy punching bag stands on a sand or water-filled base. It is ideal for both gyms and private use at home. As you don’t have to hang/mount this bag to a certain surface, you can move it around when not in use. Also, these bags occupy less space. They only move the base so you can control the swing on them. They have softer foam, but it also makes them less durable. 

How to Use:

The freestanding punching bags are quite easy to use for sports like Muay Thai. You can practice kicks and punches on them. They put less stress on your bones and knuckles. You can use them for slow striking, cardio workouts that boost stamina. Unfortunately, freestanding bags are not suitable for footwork. 

5. Angled Heavy Bag:

The Angled heavy bag is wider from the top and is thin towards the bottom. This enables the boxers to throw an uppercut and left hook punches. It is made of synthetic leather and has a good lifespan. Most angled bags are filled with shredded fabric to provide the right amount of resistance during punches and kicks. 

This bag is available in two types: Single Angle or Double Angled. Single Angle allows you to practice uppercut and kicks and Double angled is suited for hook and uppercut work. 

How to Use:

You can learn complicated footwork with angled heavy bags. With its differently proportioned top and bottom segments, it can brace you for punches and kicks.

6. Teardrop Heavy Bag:

Shaped like a teardrop, this bag is thinner on the top and thicker at the bottom. This allows you to hit the bag at different angles. The weight at the bottom adds more swing with each punch. It mimics an opponent, and you can use it to work on your timing. The swing is also affected by the material used to fill the bag.

These bags are perfect for kickboxing and Muay Thai. It is more like a traditional heavy bag, except for the basic difference in shape. 

How to Use:

As the bag gets closer with the swing, you can practice your elbows and kicks and brace for shorter-ranged attacks. It also helps you to perfect your timing and footwork for the match.

7. Wrecking Ball Heavy Bag:

A wrecking ball heavy bag can be usually found in the boxing gym. It is used to train for western boxing and won’t work for Muay Thai or MMA. It is shorter but thicker as compared to average heavy bags. It is better suited for punching than kicking. You can use it for a full upper body workout. 

It has to be chained to the wall/ceiling like most heavy bags. Many brands add nylon straps to hang the bag. When not in use, the bag can be easily stored, courtesy of its size. 

How to Use:

This bag is excellent for upper body workouts, including short jabs, uppercuts, and hooks as it is mounted high. You can perform power punches and head movements on this. The bag is too short for the kicks.

8. Bowling Pin Heavy Bag:

The bowling pin heavy bag resembles the opponent’s body to help get your moves right. It offers realistic training as compared to the standard heavy bags. It is generally used for Muay Thai kickboxing training. They are made of leather material and usually come with nylon straps to hang them on the wall or the ceiling. You can fill it with any material depending on the training you wish to undertake. 

How to Use:

You can position this bag higher and use it as a traditional heavy bag. You can go into a clinch and throw knee kicks on the bag for the Muay Thai practice. The lower part of the bag where most weight is present acts as the opponent’s chest for this purpose.

9. Slip Bag/Maize Ball:

The maize ball derives its name from the fact that it is filled with dried maize. It is shaped like a pear with a leather exterior which is responsible for its durability.

This bag is usually smaller and hangs on the ceiling or a wall through a long chain. Owing to size, it swings a lot allowing you to practice head movements in the training session. But is also available in large sizes depending on the training and exercise you wish to do. 

How to Use:

A maize ball bag is for rhythm, timing, and defense. It is used to train for head movements while you try to dodge it. Unless you are a professional, you are bound to be hit by the bag on the head. Perfection comes with practice to use this bag, and it also requires focus and coordination. It can also be used to exercise your uppercuts and hooks.

10. Uppercut/Wall Bag:

This horizontal bag is to be wall-mounted with the help of screws. It has an angular shape and is suitable for limited spaces such as home gyms or your room. The thicker upper section of the bag allows you to exercise your uppercuts. As this bag sticks to the wall and has no room for the swings, it cannot let you practice a lot of combinations. You have only one angle to hit the bag. 

How to Use:

Due to its limited capacity, you can only perform hooks, uppercuts, and punches on this bag. It is meant for fast boxing techniques rather than traditional martial arts. Make sure you tape your fists or wear proper gloves while hitting the bag to avoid wrist injury. 

Specialty Punching Bags

To become an ace boxer, you need to practice your timing, hand speed, hand-eye coordination, and reflexes, in addition to kicks and punches. For this, you need a specialty punching bag. Here are a few that you can choose from as per your requirement:

11. Speed Bag:

This a small bag that either hangs from the ceiling or is mounted on a swivel. Also known as speedballs, it trains you to keep your hands up and shift weight on the feet while throwing punches. It increases your stamina, allowing you to practice for longer periods of time. It may also help develop your arm and shoulder muscles. You should be focused and have good coordination during the training.  

How to Use:

It swings a lot, and you need to hit with rhythmic punches. It helps you develop muscle memory and speed. You can learn better hand-eye coordination, which will improve your performance in the ring. You should at least do 5 minutes sets, three to four times a week, to boost your stamina.

12. Reflex Bag/Ball:

A reflex bag is mounted on a pole on a floor stand. It is like a freestanding bag but quite smaller and has a pole. As per the name, it enhances your reflexes, precision, and also muscle memory. You can use it for both boxing and martial arts training. Unlike the standard punching bags, they can be moved around easily. Most reflex bags have adjustable heights to match your own height. Also, they require very little to no assembly. 

How to Use:

The bag bounces back and forth, allowing you to work on your timing to throw a punch. You can also work on your speed and hand-eye coordination with this bag.

13. Double End Bag (Mexican Style):

A Mexican-style bag forms the shape of an 8 with two balls. It also has two straps to install it in place. One strap hangs on the wall, while the other is attached to the floor. It moves in a straight line and is suitable for professional use. You can work on your rhythmic punching technique and improve your striking ability. It can also enhance your coordination and reflex.

It is made of genuine or synthetic or PU leather. Synthetic leather is cheaper but less durable compared to original leather bags. If you wish to work on your technique, a double end bag is the right way to go. 

How to Use:

As the double end bag is still in one place, the boxer needs to move around it to practice punches and footwork. Its shape allows you to strike at the bag from different heights for a better workout. You can learn head-body combinations on it. 

14. Aqua Bag:

These bags are filled with water instead of the regular sand or fabric. They are known for their realistic feel, which is very much different from the standard punching bags. You will feel as if you are hitting an actual person. It comes in different sizes, ranging from 30 lbs to 200 lbs. It is made of synthetic material like plastic and has a rubbery texture. 

They are heavier, which prevents them from swinging too much. One downside to these bags is that there is also a risk of them leaking or tearing during a training session. 

How to Use:

An aqua bag puts much stress on your body and hands, enabling you to train for longer sessions. The water inside absorbs your kinetic energy and lets you utilize strength every time you hit the bag. You can exercise your elbows, knees, and kicks using this bag.

15. Body Opponent Bag: 

For some professional-level training, you can go for the body opponent bag, aka B.O.B. It has a head, chest, and torso like a real opponent. It’s a mannequin, with which you can practice your style and techniques before you go into the actual ring. It is suitable for martial arts like Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, etc., and self-defense training. 

It is made of vinyl, and it stands on a hard and sturdy plastic cylinder for added support. The bag can either be filled with water and sand. It is available in different heights for you to choose from.

How to Use:

The bag is the best for practicing your grappling techniques, including punches and kicks. You can even knock the bag down. It can be used for improving speed, balance, and coordination. 

How To Choose The Right Punching Bag

Choosing the right punching bag can be a bit confusing, especially if you are a newbie. Here’s a mini buying guide you can refer to make the right decision:


A punching bag is available in different sizes, and the right size for you depends on your weight. Divide your body weight by two and round up your answer to the nearest multiple of 10. For instance, if your weight is 175 lbs, a punching bag of 80-90 lbs should work. 


A traditional heavy bag or freestanding bag is the right choice to practice your punching and striking techniques. For kickboxing, you should go for a Muay Thai heavy bag. If you wish to improve your hand-eye coordination and speed, you can use a Double End Bag, Speed Bag, or a Reflex Bag.

Training Level:

You need to clear about your goal and the training you usually undertake. For speed, you should opt for a bag that weighs 24 to 40 lbs and above 40 lbs for strength training.  

Filled vs Unfilled:

Although most punching bags are filled, unfilled bags give you the freedom to add the material of your choice. You can make it firmer, softer, and heavier with shredded fabric, sand, or foam material. 


With the pandemic and social distancing norm, punching bags can be your best training buddy. Many punching bags are designed to exercise a specific part of your body or sport skill. Therefore, you need to choose carefully as per your requirements.

We suggest you go for a quality punching bag that is also durable. Also, always wear boxing gloves during the training for your safety.