A Breakdown of the Importance of Punching Bags with Trevor Wittman
In the art of striking, there are so many helpful tools and techniques that can be used for all different kinds of situations. Having a partner to spar with is also important because it gives you an element of the sport that can’t totally be duplicated. Using a punching bag in conjunction with all these other tools and techniques is very important.
There are all different kinds of punching bags and that are all made to be used in different and specific ways. The shape, the way they hang, and how soft or hard they are all help you focus on different things. Understanding how and why certain punching bags are used the way in which they are will help you sharpen all aspects of your striking.
In this video, Trevor Wittman gives a technical breakdown of the different kinds of punching bags, what they are meant for and how he chooses to use them, check it out below!
The Wrecking Ball
The first punching bag that Trevor uses is the wrecking ball, which is a large and heavy ball shaped bag that hangs near chest level. One of the most notable features of this bag is the ability to throw all sorts of differently angled strikes at it. Being that this is a heavy bag, Trevor points out some notes that should be taken.
When punching a heavy bag, don’t just throw power shots. When you get in the habit of throwing tons of power shots at a heavy bag without incorporating any shadow boxing, while sparing with an actual person it is likely your punches are going to be swinging all over the place because you are used to the force of the bag stopping your momentum. This will cause you to become unbalanced while sparring.
The point of the heavy bag is to use that resistance to strengthen your shoulders, and to balance your power shots with lighter shots to get into a rhythm. Wittman also points out that it is always important to wrap your hands, especially when using a heavy bag. All heavy bags are different, so don’t just walk into a gym and start hitting a bag without feeling it first. Different spots on the bag may be harder than others, and it is important you know what you're hitting so you don’t injure yourself.
The Banana Bag
The next bag Coach Trevor shows is the banana bag, which is a full size bag and is probably what most people picture when they think of a punching bag. Trevor has his bag hung at an angle and recommends to do so if possible. The bag being hung at an angle is great for practicing boxing techniques specifically because of the awkward angle it creates. When boxing from the inside, people are usually slightly hunched over at a similar angle while they are protecting themselves so it makes things much more realistic.
This makes a great opportunity to work on your shovel shots to the body and to work on your leverage. The angle of the bag helps it carry more weight which is beneficial for these types of shots. A bag at this angle doesn't move a whole lot compared to bags that are hung at a 90 degree angle, so they are very good to sit there and practice the same shot over and over and really get a good feel for it.
The shovel shot is a powerful body shot, usually to the liver if you can place it correctly. Hitting someone in the liver in a fight will absolutely break them down and those types of shots are extremely important. Having a bag like this to practice the proper technique, placement, and power for a liver shot will drastically help your fighting.
The Teardrop Bag
The teardrop bag is a similar size and height as the wrecking ball bag, just shaped more like a teardrop than a ball. Like the wrecking ball, the teardrop bag is a smaller bag. Smaller bags are extremely important in helping your work on your footwork. They really help allow you to stay in a fluid motion and essentially have a dancing partner.
Since this bag is slightly slimmer, it more closely resembles a person. Start using this to move with the bag and work on defending with its movements. Grab it with grips similar to a collar tie, moving it around and move with it. Couple that movement with throwing some shots while working on the fluidity of your footwork. Throw some head movements in there too and you basically have a sparring partner.
The way Trevor trains his students with this bag is to first just have them just start walking with the bag while moving, without any fighting stance or throwing punches. Then he will have them get in their stance and start moving with the bag a little more, seeing how close they can stay to it and maneuver with it like they would in a fight. Then incorporate actually throwing shots with all of those movements. The important point he makes it that there really is no right or wrong way to do this, just get the practice hours in.
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