Home Home Gym Guides The Best Heavy Bags For Your Garage Gym

The Best Heavy Bags For Your Garage Gym

280
0

The unassuming heavy bag is basically the essential tool for anyone who seriously trains in any sort of martial art.

But it’s not just boxers, MMA superstars and high kicking karate masters who love this type of training. Hitting a heavy bag for even a few minutes is an ultra-high intensity cardio workout that anyone can benefit from, as well as being incredibly fun (look at the amount of kickboxing and boxercise classes people do purely for fitness for the evidence of that!)

Almost any home gym will benefit from a heavy bag, but like any piece of gear, it should mesh with your fitness goals and what you’re training for. Our guide goes into everything you need to know, and what you should be looking for when making your choice.

So just what is a heavy bag?

A heavy bag, sometimes also just called a punchbag or punching bag, is a large weighted bag that’s designed to be hit full force, letting you train as realistically as possible without a partner.

Most heavy bags are between 3 and 5 feet in length, and commonly weigh between 80 to 100lbs, though at the top end bags can be 150lbs and up. Most heavy bags will require specialist mountings, which can add to the cost, and they need a lot of space, but a well designed set up can last for years.

You can use a heavy bag for target training, for striking practice, to build balance, coordination and movement skills, or simply as an intense fat burning cardio workout. There’s a reason boxers have such a reputation for fitness. Nothing will get you shredded faster than hitting the bag, which is why so many people are turning to them for their home gyms.


The best heavy bags for your garage

Best Overall
UFC Hanging Heavy Bag

UFC Hanging Heavy Bag

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

UFC branded and built for quality, almost anyone can benefit from training with this bag, whether they’re a pro gunning for their next fight in the cage, or an absolute newbie who has never thrown a punch.

The outer is solid PVC, making it resilient and tough, with an extra layer of foam laid down behind it that helps the bag to absorb the shock from your strikes and kicks. Striking, it’s available in a choice of three colours; black, red, and white, all with the UFC brand logo prominently displayed across the middle of the bag.

The bag itself is rated from 12 and up, but coming in rated at 80lbs, this is a good mid-range bag with a weight that’s suitable for almost anyone. Bear in mind the bag arrives at 60lbs, so you’ll need to buy your own sand to top it up. Mounting is simple, four nylon straps linked to a lanyard, a 360 degree swivel chain that keeps everything balanced and moving, all attached with solid stitching that’s designed to last.

But the main reason we’ve put this at number one is how generally good it is. No matter who you are, there’s a way that this bag will improve your training. Add in the fact that it’s easy to set up, and well made enough that it will last forever, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the best heavy bags on the market.


Best Heavy
RDX 17 Piece Heavy Bag Set

RDX 17 Piece Heavy Bag Set

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

This comprehensive set contains everything you need to fully equip a home gym with everything that you’ll need to get started with fight training.

The bag itself packs a solid set of specifications, with a choice between 4ft and 5ft lengths. The bags come loaded with around 50lbs of weight, but the open top fill design can take extra weight, up to a safe weight of 110lbs.

The bag comes with everything it needs to be wall mounted, including a commercial grade wall bracket. The bag is mounted with four nylon straps that attach to a 360 mount chain that clips straight onto the bracket, and the bottom of the bag has a tethering loop that can be used to hold the bag in place, letting you train harder and stop it from swinging.

The rest of the kit is a grab bag of useful things, including a set of gloves and hand wraps (essential,) a hand grip trainer (nice to have,) and a skipping rope (surprisingly cheap and plasticky, but skipping ropes are cheap to pick up.)

While the overall quality isn’t quite as good as the UFC Heavy Bag, our top choice, there’s a lot to like there. Unless you hit like a heavyweight, the slightly lighter and less durable bag is never going to be an issue, and this is by far the simplest way to get a whole home gym started and set up.


Best Free Standing
Gallant 6ft Free Standing Punching Bag

Gallant 6ft Free Standing Punching Bag

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

Balancing ease of set up and movement with loads of training options, free standing bags are a fast growing fitness trend.

Needing literally no mounting points, this bag can be moved from place to place, or even room to room, with absolute ease. When you’re done, you can just pick it up and tuck it away again, saving massive amounts of space.

The bag itself is 5ft 3 to the top, and made from synthetic leather backed with a 5cm thick layer of shock absorbing EPE foam that lets you hit hard without ruining the bag, or your hands. The bag itself is filled with microfibre, making it a little lighter than traditional bags, but there’s a still a solid weight behind every reaction, especially when the base is loaded down with sand.

Like everything, there are always downsides. A standing punch bag doesn’t react in exactly the same way as a hanging bag, so if that’s something you’re looking for, you might want to pick something else on the list.

On top of that, standing bags are reasonably expensive, and a little lighter than other options. But the flexibility on offer, and the fact that you can just carry it to a corner when you’re done, are just so big in terms of benefits that it’s hard not to appreciate free standing bags like these.


Best Leather
Ringside Real leather heavy Bag

Ringside Real leather heavy Bag

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

It’s hard to beat the look, feel, even the smell of a real, well used and broken in leather heavy bag, but it’s becoming surprisingly hard to find good examples. A whole lot of bags that advertise themselves as ‘leather’ conveniently leave out the faux or synthetic.

Out of every bag we looked at, this stood out. One, for its striking looks. It legitimately looks almost exactly like the bags you might see through a haze of sweat and cigarette smoke in the back of an old time strongman gym, and that’s an aesthetic that just can’t be faked.

Available in red or black, the bag is branded right across the centre, with four large chain mounts at the top, which are even held in place with traditional studs. Coming unfilled, it weighs in around 70lbs when filled, and sits at a comfortable 3.5ft in length, slightly shorter than most here, but not to its detriment.

A leather bag isn’t for everyone. Until you’ve worked the bag a bit, the harder outer and lack of cushioning can feel unforgiving. But once you’ve set your bag up and trained with it, it’s going to be undeniably yours, and will last literal decades, and nothing else on this list could ever say that.


Heavy bag stands and brackets

Best Leather
AQF Heavy Duty Wall Bracket

AQF Heavy Duty Wall Bracket

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

The simplest, easiest to set up wall bracket we could find, this comes with everything you need to set up basically any heavy bag, with a couple of caveats.

Made from powdered steel, it’s resilient and well built; rated up to 60kg (132lbs) which is enough for 90% of bags (and everything on our list.) The outer is treated to be weather safe, meaning this can be mounted to any outside wall without issue. The bag is hung from a large, simple D shackle that should accept any bag’s mounting chain, and the 43cm extension gives you more than 180 degree access to the bag.

In terms of installation, the instructions are comprehensive and easy to follow, and the kit comes with everything you need, besides tools. However, here’s where the caveat comes in. Buy larger hex bolts. The ones that come with this are quite short, and might keep a bag suspended, but have a chance at failure if you get the bag swinging.

But apart from that one tiny issue (which honestly isn’t an issue. Mounting bolts are cheap, and almost every manufacturer does this) this is the simplest way to mount your heavy to any load bearing wall in your home or garage.


Best Leather
HOMCOM Freestanding Heavy Bag Frame

HOMCOM Freestanding Heavy Bag Frame

Best overall spin bike

It has a well-rounded set of workout options, a solid build all around, and a really impressive fitness app with impeccable class quality.

Check Latest Price

If you can’t mount your heavy bag to a wall, or want the flexibility of movement, then a free standing frame is the best option for you.

Built from tough steel tubing, the frame is incredibly tough, rated up to 100kg (220lbs,) more than enough for literally all but the largest bags. You can add some extra weight and stability if needed by placing standard weight plates on the mounts on the bottom frame. The whole thing can be put together in less than an hour, a benefit of the simple but solid construction, though we’d recommend having a second pair of hands… on hand to help.

The frame itself takes up less than 2 square meters, with ample access to bag from every front angle, giving you a lot of options when it comes to training. Another bonus is the speed bag mount positioned on the back. While it’s not something everyone will use, it’s a sweet little addition, and more options are always nice to have.


What you need to look for when buying a heavy bag?

Size and weight

Like most fitness gear, your punching bag should be sized to fit you. A heavy bag can come in a dizzying array of lengths and weights, so for someone buying their first bag, the choice can be surprisingly difficult. The standard for a heavy bag is that it should be half the weight of the person training on it. This means if you weigh around 180lbs, you should look at buying a bag that weighs somewhere in the region of 80-90lbs.

In terms of length, it’s much simpler. Buy a bag that’s between 4 and 5 feet. A bag of this length will be long enough to practice effectively with, no matter what you’re training.

Realistically though, these rules are academic, as long as you use a good rule of thumb. Can you hit your bag without it flying around the room uncontrollably? Good. Then you can train with it.

The outer skin

The outer skin

The surface of a heavy bag can have a big impact on how it feels to train with, and how long it’s going to last. Bags tend to come with one of three outer surface materials: Leather, synthetic, and cloth.

Leather outers

Tough, traditional looking, and oh so stylish, a leather heavy bag is the closest you’re going to get to training old-school, unless you’re planning on punching a frozen side of beef. Leather is the toughest and strongest outer material, and looks undeniably great, but also costs the most.

Synthetic outers

Whether it’s synthetic leather, nylon or vinyl, a synthetic outer on a heavy bag is a cheaper option that still feels good, and is resistant to weather, mould and mildew, making them a good choice for bags that are going to face the elements a little more.

Cloth outers

The cheapest option, cloth bags aren’t suitable for heavy work, but they’re a good stop gap, and also really easy on the hands, so they’re great for light training and kids.

If you don’t have room for a heavy bag but still want to get the benefits of this kind of exercise then see our guide on HIIT boxing from home for more help.

Buying a heavy bag for kids and teens

Buying a heavy bag for kids and teens

The training focus for kids and younger teens should be around technique, rather than raw power. This means that they can get away with smaller, lighter bags that don’t have to take heavy impacts. Younger children can train on standard heavy bags, but should be careful not to hit too hard. The bag isn’t going to react like it would if it was punched by a fully grown adult, and the difference in weight means that their body will experience much more force, which can lead to injuries.

How do you mount a heavy bag?

Wall brackets

The most ‘traditional’ way of mounting a heavy bag, a wall bracket bolts or screws directly into a load bearing wall, with the bag hanging from a hook mount at the end. Wall brackets are secure, and tend to be reasonably easy to install. External walls, especially brick and breezeblock, will accept heavy anchoring bolts without issue, and internal stud walls can have the bracket anchored directly to the timbers. The major downside of a wall bracket is that, once it’s up, it tends to be fixed in place, and removing it from the wall will leave holes that need to be filled. But that’s balanced out by stability, and ease of finding available walls.

Ceiling brackets

Designed to be screwed into concrete ceilings or wooden ceiling joists, a ceiling bracket is a great choice for garages which have strong, load bearing structures. Brackets like this take a little more installation, and require specialist tools to make sure that the anchoring bolts don’t fail because of the weight involved. Out of every type of heavy bag mount, we’d recommend ceiling brackets the least, which is why our list doesn’t include any. Any room that can take a ceiling bracket should also be able to take a wall mount, and that’s always the preferable option.

Standing frame, or A-frame

A heavy bag can easily be mounted into a strong standing frame. Frames can be sold separately, but if you’ve already got a strong metal frame, for example a power cage, it may already have mounting points that are strong enough to hold a heavy bag. (You can normally find these in the middle of the front upper bar.) This is a great option if you want to switch out the use of different bags, or you want to be able to take the bag down when it’s not in use, but if you don’t already have one, buying a frame as well as a bag can be expensive.

Free standing

Slowly increasing in popularity, free standing heavy bags can be a great tool for home training, especially if you’re looking for a target training tool. As the name suggests, a free standing bag uses a large, weighted base to keep the bag vertical as you slam into it. Weighing less on average, free standing bags are easier to move around, and a good choice if you’ve got less overall space and need something that you can shift as needed.

Heavy bag fills: What goes inside, and why

Sand

Heavy, dense, and resistant to impact, sand is the premium option for a heavy bag fill. A bag of builder’s sand is easily available from any hardware store, and can be thrown in the corner when it’s not in use. The main downsides with sand are vulnerability to the environment; sand gets nasty if it gets wet, and the sand escaping through seams and damage to the bag, but neither issue should be a problem if you’re looking after your heavy bag.

Water

Water filled bags have always had a reputation for being cheap and nasty, with a propensity to split. That’s not the truth any more; most quality water bags will have a layered interior reservoir that’s capable of taking some serious punishment.

The main advantage of water fill bags is how easy they are to fill. Everyone has easy access to water, which lets you fill them how and when you need to. However, water fill bags still aren’t as dependable as other options, so shouldn’t be the main choice if you’re planning on something more permanent.

Textile

Soft and forgiving, textile is cheap and easy, but light, and deforms easily under force. A lot of lighter bags and bags designed for martial arts will use textile fill, and it’s also common to see heavy bags with a textile layer and a solid sand core to add weight.

FAQs

How much space does a heavy bag need?

Like everything, the answer here depends on how you’re planning on training with your bag, and what your current set up looks like.

When setting up your bag, you’re going to need around 24 inches of space between the bag and the wall, to give it space to swing and move. More is better, especially if you’re looking to train heavy and hit it hard, especially with kicks.

It’s also preferable to have around 3 and a half feet of room all around your heavy bag if you plan on training correctly, with a little more if you’re training heavy side and front kicks. If possible, put your bag as close to the middle of the room as possible, which will give you access to the entire thing and let you train footwork and movement.

If you can’t find the room for full 360 degree access to your heavy bag, mount it close to a single wall and look for 180 degree access to it instead.