Many women are inspired by the idea of boxing to become physically fit and learn self-defense. However, some are unsure how they should train and for how long. Using a punching bag to train can help develop form, strength and endurance, but you have to follow the right routine to get your target results while preventing injury.
1. Purpose of Training
Before you start a heavy bag routine, you should first identify your goals. You need to decide if you want to workout with a punching bag to lose weight, improve aerobic fitness, develop strength, learn self-defense, alleviate stress or all of the above. This will help determine the bag weight you should choose. Punching bag weights typically range from 40 to 100 pounds; lighter bags should be used to improve cardiovascular function or punching technique while heavier bags may be used to increase strength and power and develop self defense. Your goals will also help you decide how intense your training should be and how long you should train.
2. Starting Out
Boxing is an intense sport and using a punching bag requires both force and endurance. If you are beginning to train in boxing, you need to gradually build up your workouts. Many boxers start by developing their physical endurance before they ever hit the bag. They may do this by jump roping or doing other aerobic activities. Shadow boxing is another pre-punching bag workout where you throw punches in the air to practice proper form. Once you develop your form and endurance, you can begin light drills on the bag.
3. Training and Frequency
Your physical abilities will determine how often you should train. Bodybuilding.com recommends beginners to do 50 minutes of heavy bag work two days a week. More advanced athletes may train for 90 minutes up to three days a week. Bag training sessions should consist of drills to practice specific punches as well as timed rounds. While training specific punches, you should focus on completing a set number of one type of punch at a time: jab, hook, uppercut or cross. You don't have to do them at full strength but you may. For timed rounds, practice a mix of punches as you circle the bag. Focus on developing endurance rather than force so that you can last the entire timed period.
4. Injury Prevention
Punching a heavy bag creates a lot of impact on your hands and wrists. You should always wrap your hands and wrists properly before you begin and wear boxing gloves. Throw each punch using the proper form so that the force is distributed properly across your hand and wrist. Warm up correctly to prevent muscle injury. Refrain from training on the heavy bag more frequently than recommended to prevent overuse injuries and allow muscle recovery.