Punching bags are a great investment when it comes to developing your fitness and health. They provide a direct & effective form of stress relief, that tones muscle, improves cardiovascular health and develops boxing technique.

If you’re looking to invest in a punch bag, it’s important to consider what type of punch bag is best suited to you and your requirements. Punch bags are available in various options and sizes, which is why we’ve put this guide together to help you determine which punch bag to buy.

Purchasing the right punching bag will help make sure that you get the most out of your bag and greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll enjoy your boxing workouts.

What to Consider Before Buying a Punching Bag

1. Where will you put your punching bag?

Before you actually buy a punching bag, you should consider where you are going to put it. The best punch bag for a garage for example, is going to be different to the best punch bag to use in the spare room of an apartment or flat.

Identify exactly where in your home or gym you’ll place the punching bag. Once you’ve allocated an area or space for your bag, consider if you’ll be able to hang a punching bag from the roof or wall within the area; how much overall room you’ll have to use your bag, and whether you’ll need to limit the amount of noise that the bag produces.

There’s nothing quite like the noise of a punch whacking into a heavy bag, however, if you’re going to use the bag inside your house, the rest of your family, or your neighbours, may not enjoy the noise quite as much!

2. Who will be using the punching bag?

Before you buy a punching bag, you will also want to consider who will be using it. The boxing experience level, the size and the fitness level of the user(s) are all important considerations. If you are buying a punching bag for a child to use for example, you’ll want to make sure they are tall enough to use it. A short, hanging punch bag for example, will probably not be suitable for an 8 year old child.

If the user has no boxing experience, then they may prefer the simplicity of a hanging punch bag, or a freestanding punch bag, as opposed to a speed bag or punch bag with a rotating bar.

boxing bag
boxer using hanging punch bag

3. What training goals will a punching bag help you to achieve?

Knowing what you, or whoever will be using the punching bag, aims to achieve, can help you to select the correct type of equipment.

Setting training goals is a good idea for a few reasons. Having specific, actionable and time-phased goals can help you to achieve the exact results that you want, and it can also help you to select the right boxing equipment which will allow you to achieve those goals.

Some goals when it comes to using a punching bag might include:

  • Building punching power & developing cardiovascular fitness
  • Improving boxing-specific reactions & footwork
  • Losing a predetermined amount of weight or body fat
  • Learning the fundamentals of boxing before attending in a class

Establishing goals will help you to select the right punching bag. For example, if you want to develop fitness a hanging or freestanding punching bag is probably the best option, whereas those looking to develop speed & accuracy for boxing, may benefit more from using a speed bag/reflex punch bag.

Types of Punching Bags

There are 3 main types of punching bag:

  1. Hanging Punching Bag
  2. Freestanding Punching Bag
  3. Reflex Punching Bag

In this section we will breakdown the pros & cons of each bag and what training goals they are best aligned with.

Hanging Punching Bags

A hanging punching bag is a traditional style punch bag that is attached to the roof, a beam or a wall with some kind of hanging bracket and a chain. The oldest and most traditional of all boxing equipment, hanging punching bags are still extremely popular with professional boxers and martial artists to this day.

The issue for many people when it comes to a hanging heavy bag, is that you will need somewhere to hang it. The METIS Hanging Punch Bag for example, comes with a chain that needs to be attached to the roof, to a bracket, or a beam. If that isn’t an option, or you don’t really want to drill any holes in your gym’s roof or wall, then a hanging punch bag probably isn’t the right option.

Because a heavy bag swings after you hit it, you can develop your timing, lateral movement and vary the angles of your punches to make optimal impact. Heavy hanging punch bags are touted as the best form of punching bag for developing powerful punches. Because of the weight of the bag, users will quickly learn to ‘dig in’ their punches and stay relaxed until the fist makes an impact. The hanging bag is also excellent for fitness training. The weight of the bag makes it extremely strenuous to punch and if you hit it with 100% effort each time, it will swing back within a second or two!

Because you are able to hit the bag with 100% effort, heavy hanging punching bags are also great for relieving stress. If you have a hanging punching bag set up at home, you can come home from a bad day at work and channel all the frustration into a productive punch bag workout.

  • Great for developing punching power
  • Tend to be less expensive than freestanding bags
  • Great for cardio-workouts
  • Tones shoulders & arms
  • Great for constructive stress-relief
  • Requires a relatively large space to set up
  • Needs to be installed to a roof, beam or bracket
  • Relatively noisy when punched
  • Usually not possible to move all the way around the bag
boxing bag
hanging punch bag

Freestanding Punching Bags

Convenient, and great fun to use, in recent years freestanding bags have become a very popular choice for people setting up a home gym.

Freestanding punch bags are mounted on a strong & sturdy base and do not need to be hung from a roof, beam or bracket. When purchased online, freestanding punching bags normally arrive in 3 or 4 separate pieces, which are relatively easy to put together by hand.

Freestanding punch bags are a great option if you have a limited amount of space or you don’t fancy drilling any holes in the wall or roof. If you fill the base of your freestanding bag with water, you should be able to store it in the corner of your gym, and pull it out to the centre when you want to use it. If you fill the base with sand, the freestanding bag will have an additional level of stability, but it can be much more difficult to move it around. The METIS 6ft Freestanding Punch Bag for example, weights up to 150kg when filled with sand. This provides an unsurpassed level of stability for punches & kicks, but makes it a 2 or 3 person job when it comes to moving it! Adding water &: sand will make the base even heavier, but also more stable. You can still move a heavy bag by removing the base and rolling it to the required position.

In my experience, another great thing about freestanding punch bags is that you can move all the way around them. For example, if you want to practise circling your opponent and intermittently throwing a jab, then you can circle 360° when using a freestanding bag - as long as it’s not placed right against a wall.

  • Requires less space than traditional punch bags
  • You can move all the way around a freestanding bag
  • Can be taken outdoors (if base is filled with water)
  • Doesn’t require additional hanging & fixing tools & equipment
  • Easy to set up
  • When the base is filled with sand they can be used for practising kicks
  • As they don’t swing, freestanding bags aren’t as good for practising timing of punches
  • Freestanding bags tend to be more expensive than hanging punching bags
  • Lower quality freestanding punch bags will often fall over when hit with full force
6ft punching bag
base of free standing punch bag

Boxing Speed Bags With Rotating Bars

Punching bags that feature a rotating bar or arm are great fun to use. Providing a varied & enjoyable workout, they are fantastic for developing boxing head movement, reactions & timing. You can practise advanced boxing techniques such as bobbing & weaving, lay-back/shoulder rolls, and the defensive stances including the cross arm guard.

Another benefit of a punch bag with a rotating bar, is that it will teach you to keep your hands up! Rather than dodging the bar, you can block the bar and practice throwing precise and quick counter-punches. Every time you throw a punch, you’ll either have to block or dodge the bar, which makes it an excellent tool for boxers who are looking to develop their ability to avoid counter punches.

Punch bags, which feature both a speed bag as well as a rotating arm, are also touted by many users as great for practising “trapping” techniques that are used with martial arts including Wing Chun and JKD. Some Muay Thai and MMA fighters, even use the bar and the speed-bag for practising blocking punches and stepping forwards with a close range elbow counter.

Because rotating bar punch bags aren’t designed to take the impact of power punches, they tend to be relatively light. This means you can move the bag easily into the centre of a given room, or garden, and practise your footwork 360° around the bag. This is a big advantage over a bag that is hung using a wall bracket, as you can’t usually move behind the bag.

Once you’ve got the timing of the bar down, you can start practising throwing combinations. For example, you can throw a left jab, then a right cross when the bar rotates around, and dodge the bar as it swings around. You can mix up combinations, blocking and dodging the bar - it’s not just a case of repetitively punching and then blocking or dodging the bar!

  • No hanging equipment or tools required
  • Develops punching timing & reactions
  • Teaches boxers to keep their hands up
  • Ideal for developing head movement & footwork
  • Great for recovery between heavy bag workouts
  • Not noisy
  • Not designed for throwing powerful punches
  • May prove frustrating to use if user is new to boxing
rotating bar punching bag
boxing bar height

METIS Punching Bags

Understanding the specific requirements of people using or looking to use punching bags, from those aiming to get fit to professional boxers, has enabled us to create a range of high-quality punch bags and boxing equipment. With punch bags manufactured using only the best, ultra-durable materials including mircofibre leather, and featuring a number of innovate designs including the METIS hanging punch bags 360° spinner, you can rely on METIS for quality, durability and performance.