When it comes to boxing movies, punching bag training scenes are a staple. However, speed bags aren’t just a director’s sensation.
Legends like Tyson and Ali used different speed bag drills to complement their boxing skill sets and impressive physique, and it’s all for a good reason.
As time goes on, we keep uncovering more and more benefits of using a speed bag for training. This article will review the top six ways the versatile bag can help your body and mind. Let’s go!
What are the Benefits of Using a Speed Bag?
From killer upper body muscles to cognitive abilities, speed bag training seems to cover many health aspects.
Let’s take a close look at what the speed bag can do for you:
1. Improve Your Boxing Skills
Speed bag training improves different boxing skills, like speed, accuracy, rhythm, and much more.
Here’s how speed bag practices help you become a better boxer:
Develop and Maintain a Rhythm
One of the gains you’ll get from using a speed bag is improving your hand-eye coordination.
Because the speed bag rebounds off the platform when you hit it, you’ll have to focus on hitting it at the correct timing to keep it in motion. That’ll help you improve the striking rhythm.
Moreover, training with a speed bag teaches you to balance strength with timing. Sure, we all can get worked up after working on the rhythm and start landing more powerful punches.
The only problem is that it’ll make the bag bounce faster. So, unless you can keep up with the fast pace, you’ll need to maintain constant punching power, effectively keeping you at a steady balance.
Plus, developing better hand-eye coordination isn’t just limited to boxing or martial arts. Other sports, like tennis and baseball, require good hand-eye coordination. So, speed bag drills may benefit athletes in different sports too!
Work on Accuracy
Not only does training using a speed bag help you find your rhythm and land fast punches, but it’ll also increase your precision.
After all, the bag is fairly small, and it takes a decent amount of accuracy to hit the mark every time.
Remember that deviating to the right or left can throw you off rhythm, so you have no choice but to work on your aim or lose momentum.
Learning different boxing guards is as essential as hitting like a truck.
Usually, the basic guard involves keeping your fists up to protect your face and shield your head. Having the proper defensive stance is something speed bag training can help you achieve since you’re constantly in position, anyway.
That also increases your shoulder muscle endurance, which helps you keep your arms up without getting tired quickly.
On top of perfecting your box guarding technique, you can use a speed bag to work on your head movement to dodge punches with cat-like reflexes!
Even Out Imbalances
Generally, most people have a more dominant hand. A great way to tackle strength imbalances is through unilateral heavy lifting. Yet, if you want to build endurance on both sides equally, you’ll need to sustain exercise for extended periods with minimal resting between reps.
That’s where speed bag training comes in handy.
Suppose you can keep the punches going with your right arm for half an hour without breaking a sweat and only go for a couple of minutes with your left. This can indicate which side needs to be the focal point for the next few sessions.
Likewise, you can use the same method to test your speed by testing your punches per minute for each arm. Then, you can use those numbers as a benchmark to improve the speed imbalances and mark your progress.
2. Strengthen Your Upper Body Muscles
The speed bag can work different upper body muscles like shoulders, chest, neck, biceps, triceps, and even your core. You can elevate the load for an added burn to those shoulder muscles, improving your overall upper body muscle performance.
So, even if you’re not after improving your boxing skills, you can still add a few speed bag drills to your routine to tone your muscles.
3. Boost Your Cardiovascular System
Aside from engaging multiple skeletal muscle groups, the speed bag also works your cardiac muscles, improving your cardiovascular system.
It might sound too clinical, but that’s just cardio for you. Yes, speed bag training can double as cardio, too!
When you are in constant motion, like when using a speed bag, you burn more energy than at rest. The more muscle groups you work with simultaneously, the more oxygen you’ll need to re-energize.
To respond to the increased demand, your heart starts pumping blood faster, increasing your heart rate. Over time, constant exercising improves your heart and cardiovascular health.
4. Reduce Injury Risks
You have probably heard that warming up is crucial before any physical exercise. However, not all forms of warm-ups are efficient.
Normal static stretching isn’t as good as most people think. It can decrease your muscle strength and endurance, affecting your exercise performance.
Instead, a good warm-up should help reduce injuries by increasing the blood flow and body temperature. This prepares your muscles for the workout.
Thankfully, you can achieve that through the good-old speed bag.
Another perk of speed bag training is that it’s easy on the joints. Because the bag is mostly full of air, it’ll meet your attack with light resistance. That can be easier on your muscles and joints than heavy bag training for warm-ups.
5. Good For Recovery
Like a good warm-up routine, recovery is essential in any exercise program to give your body time to repair the damaged muscle tissues. That’s why rest days are a thing.
One way to help your body to heal faster is through active recovery because it makes the blood flow. Active recovery involves low-impact exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, and stretching. These can all provide the sore muscles with the nutrients to recover.
However, yoga isn’t the only way to go here.
Since you can control the speed and intensity of your punches on a speed bag to make it low impact, you can incorporate it into your rest day routine.
6. Enhance Your Academic Performance
Okay, the speed bag alone won’t improve your academic performance, but it may enhance your cognitive abilities.
Don’t just take our word for it. Recent studies indicate that coordinative exercises are closely related to visuospatial attention and memory.
Remember that the speed bag can be a beast of a trainer regarding hand-eye coordination.
So, the boost in cognitive skills like visuospatial attention and memory from regular speed bag drills can help with subjects that require spatial perception like geometry and math!
With more benefits of using a speed bag than you could imagine, it’s no wonder speed bag training isn’t just limited to boxers only.
It can help strengthen the upper body and improve agility, stamina, and reflexes. If that wasn’t enough, speed bag exercises might also enhance attention.
So, whether you want to improve your fighting skills, general health, or even cognition, adding a quality speed bag to your gym might be the thing you’re looking for!