Anyone who’s tried boxing with ether pads or a bag will tell you one thing: It’s hard! A few punches can tire you out when you’re starting. This is one of the absolute best ways to lose weight and get a real sweat on, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to training in your home gym.
In this guide we’re looking at some of the benefits to bag work and at the home multi gyms that have boxing bags attached.
What are the real benefits to training with a punch bag
Should you buy a multi-gym that has a punch bag? Is it worth limiting your search to one that has a boxing station? Here’s some of the reasons you might want to:
- Cardio fitness – If I want to lose weight, there’s one thing I go to before running, rowing or anything else. Punching! I mean this form of exercise just burns calories like nothing else. It builds cardio fitness like nothing else I’ve found.
- Perfect companion for weight training – If you’re using your home gym regularly, perhaps even every day, it’s good to have a range of things you can do to break it up and keep things interesting. Having a punch bag on your gym opens a whole world of new training you can do, with everything from HIIT to rounds of boxing.
- Learn self defense – While bags are more a companion for a proper training in the discipline of martial arts, using a punch bag gets you used to striking and is a huge part of it.
- It’s fun! Learning to use boxing equipment is a lot of fun. Punching a bag and feeling it absorb your power and fly back is fun. And who knows, it could open up an entire new hobby for you, albeit one that involves hitting and getting hit!
- Build co-ordination – Good boxing is as much about precision and co-ordination as it is power and explosive fitness. It’s all about timing and co-ordination.
What are the best multi gyms that have boxing bags built in?
Buying a home gym that has a punch bag built in is a brilliant idea. Why? For one, you don’t have the hassle of buying an extra stand, or finding a suitable beam to hang your bag from. (Tried that and it’s not that easy!)
Also the inherent weight of the multi gym means that you’ve got the perfect base to stop your bag shifting around. As much as I like free standing bags and dummies, they REALLY move around when you’re using them.
There’s several decent home gyms available in the UK at the moment, with a range of prices which might do what you need. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular ones.
#1 – Body Sculpture Multi Gym with Punching Bag
Best budget priced home gym with boxing bag
Body Sculpture’s multi gym uses thick, square shaped steel that we’ve seen (and liked) on a lot of similar gyms. There’s a respectable 66kg weight stack here and a surprising range of exercises, considering this is one of the more compact multi-gym that have a boxing station.
Exercises you can do on this multi gym include:
- Punch bag drills
- Speed ball boxing
- Seated leg extension
- Leg curl
- Bench press
- Pull down
- Rowing station
- Pec fly
On the punching side of things, you actually get a speed ball and a medium weight punching bag, suspended by a chain. The bag weighs 18kg so you can go hard on this one and use the speed ball for precision work. And yep- both the bag and the speed ball are included.
#2 – Sportstech Premium 50-in-1 Multi Gym with heavy bag
Best quality gym with a punch bag
While it’s not the cheapest multi gym on the market by a country mile, Sportstech’s entry into the boxing bag multi gym market is a real beast of a machine. We absolutely love this gym. It’s huge. It’s sturdy and the boxing station is seriously robust.
There’s no crappy quality padding here. No sir. This gym is built to last and has the feel of a commercial bit of kit. There’s a wide range of exercise you can do here. While listing them all would take a full guide itself, here’s the basics:
- Pectoral fly
- Lateral pull down
- Leg extensions
- Preacher curls
- Bench press
- … and another 40+ to keep you busy!
At the opposite side of the punch bag is a proper dip station and pull up bar with a range of grips.
There’s also plenty of space around the bag, on the frame that means you’ll be able to move and punch without whacking anything you shouldn’t.
Available with a good quality punch bag… or just use your own
You can hang pretty much any bag you want on this multi-gym. There’s plenty of space for a kick bag, or a nice meaty heavy bag to practice your power. (Check out the Hatton Heavy Bag for one of the best).
If you don’t have a bag and want to get it all delivered at once, there’s an option to buy it with the punch bag.
Some handy tips for anyone new to punch bags
I’ve spent a fair bit of my life hitting, kicking elbowing and yes, even head butting punch bags. The latter I wouldn’t’ recommend so much, unless you fancy a headache. I’ve picked up a few tips that might come in handy if you opt for a new home gym with a punch bag.
- Is the punch bag included with the gym? An obvious-sounding thing to check, but it’s not always clear when you’re shopping for a martial arts style multi-gym. Especially when the pics all show a punch back! It’s worth double checking if the bag is actually included.
- Get some bag mitts, or other boxing gloves – While it might be tempting to just lay into that bag as soon as you get it hooked up, it’s unbelievable how fast you can take the skin off your knuckles and cause yourself some serious long-lasting pain. Some martial arts bags come with a free pair of gloves but, in all honesty, you’ll be much better off picking up a decent pair of leather bag gloves. Look after your hands.
- Don’t get finger-less gloves – While they look cool, I’d definitely recommend starting with some closed-in boxing gloves or bag mitts. The reason being it’s quite easy to extend your finger when punching and surprisingly painful to strike a bag with an extended digit (speaking from experience!) Go for some nice, comfy gloves. Your fingers will think you.
- Wraps – if you need them – Got to confess. In my boxing career I’ve never used wraps. And I don’t have any problems from long-term striking. But wraps (boxing speak for long strips of cloth you bind your hands in) do protect knuckles, bones and your wrist. They might be a bit over-the-top for a home gym punch bag, but if you feel you need the support, they’re cheap to buy on Amazon.
- Start small and build up – The day after my first session on a punching bag, I could hardly move my arms. Even if you’rte fit and have good overall strength, you might be surprised how much your muscles will hurt the next day! Start with smaller, timed sessions and build up.
- Get some proper training – There’s loads of good videos on places like Youtube and using a punch bag in your home gym is definitely not one of those exercises you can just jump in and have a go at. Good structure, especially in your wrists, how to stand and what the different punches are will really go a long way to helping you get started.
- Make sure you’ve got plenty of space around the bag area – One mistake I’ve seen a lot of people make with these kinds of gyms, or with hanging a punch bag in general is they don’t leave enough space between the bag and the wall. You’ll be amazed how much the bag will swing around. Even a super-heavy bag will pick up momentum and both your wall and bag can get damaged. Measure up and aim for at least 3 feet if possible.
References, research and further reading
- BodyBuilding have a nice guide on the benefits to using a punch bag in your home gym.
- Defensive planet have some good tips on protecting your hands when boxing.