Ways to Box Without a Punching Bag

When you close your eyes and think of Boxing, what comes to your mind? Probably you see a well-built man practicing punches with his gloved hands on a punching bag and throwing sweat all over while he does this.

Punching needn’t be like this every time. There are techniques and alternatives to a punching bag. They allow you to get the workout you need while saving resources such as space.

Boxing Without a Punching Bag:

Boxing is a combat sport and was made popular by movies like Rocky. Today, this martial art is also an accepted workout form. Boxing has many advantages. It improves endurance, cardiovascular health, burns fat, and improves stamina and confidence levels. Boxing helps in building and toning your muscles.

When you are feeling stressed out, boxing is a great way to let off all the steam and helps you cool down and relax.

While boxing is most commonly practiced using a punching bag, having access to a punching bag may not always be possible, especially at home. Buying a bag costs money and you will need space to put it. When these resources are limited, you can even box without the use of a punching bag.

We will list down different popular ways of boxing without a punching bag, and how you can go about with each of them.

Four Popular Ways To Box Without A Punching Bag:

1. Shadow Boxing:

When you do not have a punching bag or an opponent to throw your punches at, you can incorporate a training technique known as Shadow Boxing. As the name suggests, you are boxing with a shadow or throwing punches in the air.

Shadow Boxing is a good workout option when you do not have the necessary boxing gear. Just find yourself a room that is spacious enough to move around and throw punches, and you can start with shadow boxing.

Punching into the air may sound pointless. But it is a great technique to improve your concentration and stamina. Many trainers teach aspiring boxers shadow boxing first before teaching them actual boxing techniques on opponents. Seasoned boxers use shadow Boxing for warm up before entering the boxing ring.

Shadow Boxing for Beginners:

If you are new to Shadow Boxing, we outline a few simple steps to introduce you to box without a punching bag.

  • Learn your stance:

Most boxers prefer putting their left foot in front of their right when starting to box. You can choose to put your right foot in front of your left. The stance is important. Change your stance frequently while boxing. This will help you easily move around your boxing space. Changing your stance frequently will also help you work out your muscles on both sides of your body. Move forward, backward, and sideways to ensure a full-body workout.

  • Set your arm position:

Bend your elbows and place them close to your ribs. Imagine protecting your ribs from your opponent. Now make fists with your hands. Your thumb should cover your four fingers while making this fist. Hold your fists next to your face.

  • Start throwing punches:

Start by putting weight on your front leg and extending the same arm forward. The arm should be parallel to the floor, and your palm should face downward. Your other hand should be protecting your face. Now change the position and place the other leg forward. While doing this shift your body’s weight onto the foot so that your hip moves forward. Place the first hand in a hook position at a 90 degree and angle and punch the air in front of you. Push the other arm forward parallel to the floor and your palm facing downward.

  • Combine stance and punch:

Once you get comfortable with your stance and punch, simply combine them for a full-body workout.

Shadow Boxing is all about imagination. You can add ducks and squats as a means to avoid punches from imaginary opponents. You can also punch at different levels while imagining hitting your opponent on their head or stomach. Your imagination makes Shadow Boxing interesting and helps avoid monotony when working out alone.

2. Focus Mitts:

Another excellent alternative to shadow boxing is boxing using Focus Mitts. These mitts are padded surfaces attached to gloves. You will need a partner when boxing with the help of focus mitts. Your partner will wear these mitts and the pads become your boxing target.

focus mitts

Focus Mitts were used in the ancient far East Asian Martial Arts and were extensively used in the martial art of Muay Thai. Martial Art Guru Bruce Lee is credited with popularizing the use of padded Focus Mitts in the mid-60s.

During the late 70s and early 80s, these alternatives to boxing without a punching bag slowly started finding a place in training routines across training academies. Today, Focus Mitts are an essential training gear for boxing and workouts.

When training using Focus Mitts, your trainer or companion will yell numbers that represent the combinations of moves you have to perform. For example, when they yell 1, 2 and 3, you may have to do a jab, a cross, and a hook movement in quick succession.

Your trainer/companion will be ready with counter moves or defense, which will help you learn the technique and maneuvers when boxing without a punching bag.

3. Wrist Weights:

The primary purpose of wearing wrist weights is to increase resistance to your movements, thus providing for better workouts.Wrist Weights Wrist weights are significant because your hands are free and you don’t have to worry about holding something constantly while training. They provide you with all the resistance you need.

You can start with weights of about a pound for both your hands together if you are training for the first time. As you progress and get comfortable, you can increase the weights. Most professional trainers and boxers wear weights of 2 pounds and this is considered ideal.

Wearing wrist weights is an excellent alternative to shadow boxing because it helps you lose as much weight as you would lose when wearing boxing gloves, maybe a little more. Wearing weights also gives you a full workout because of the resistance the weights provide. Wrist weights help improve your shoulder endurance because of the extra weights.

You should wear wrist weights only when boxing without a punching bag. If using a punching bag to train, wearing wrist weights can cause injuries.

4. Tires:


Car tires are similar to punching bags. They are strong and soft and provide an excellent alternative to box without punching bags.

Tires are a great DIY alternative to punching bags. You will need 5 or 6 tires. Place them one over the other, make sure they stand firm and are attached well to one another.

Once you are ready with this setup, you can start practicing. Always wear gloves when using tires to practice your boxing moves. This will help avoid any possible injuries.

Follow the standard boxing instructions for beginners. You can practice different stances, punches, and combinations as you get comfortable boxing using tires.


While boxing at home is convenient and economical, having proper guidance from a trainer is important when learning to box. Once you have learned the basics and techniques, you can turn any room or area into your boxing ring.

Boxing without a punching bag is an easy and convenient workout. While we have listed some alternatives to boxing without a punching bag above, there are other things you can do too.

You can use floor bags, speed bags, or weighted bags instead of the regular punching bags. These are easier to store when compared to the regular punching bags.


Is it bad to Punch a Punching Bag Without Gloves?

No. It isn’t bad to punch a punching bag without gloves. Punching without gloves will help strengthen your wrist, forearm muscles, and knuckles.

But you must not do this frequently as the bones and your wrists and hands aren’t that strong.

You can use different gloves such as boxing gloves, hand wraps, MMA gloves, etc., interchangeably for the best results.

Can you get Ripped From a Punching Bag?

The quick answer is yes, you can. The detailed answer is that it may not be easy. Basic boxing alone may not get you the chiseled look. You must combine high-intensity boxing with other workout forms such as strength training and circuit training exercises.

Is it OK to Punch a Wall?

Punching a wall should be strictly avoided, especially if you are new to boxing. You can hurt your wrists and knuckles. You can do this only when your wrists and knuckles are sufficiently conditioned to take the blow or under expert guidance.

Can you Learn to Box by Yourself?

The good news is, yes, you can learn to box by yourself. There are many online videos, blogs, articles, and phone apps that can help you with all the training you will need. However, it is always a good idea to train with an expert first. This will help you learn the basics first.

What can I use instead of a Punching Bag?

There are many alternatives to punching bags such as floor bags, speed bags, boxing reflex balls, and punch balls with stands. Alternatively, you can use techniques such as shadow boxing. Adding weights to wrists is also a popular method of boxing without punching bags.