With the Reflex and Double End Bag we have two systems that essentially train the exact same skills.
Then why is it you find far more Double End bags in boxing gyms, both new and old?
It’s true they are similar in how they work, but there are subtle differences when you dig a little deeper. In this article we will break down the exact differences in these similar boxing tools.
How are They Similar?
Both bags are used to train the same exact skills.
- Hand Eye Coordination
Even though the Double End bag has been around for over a century and is a time tested and proven tool, that doesn’t mean the comparative new kid Reflex Bag isn’t also good.
Any technical skill a boxer would need in their arsenal can be practiced on either a Reflex Bag or Double End Bag. It’s the type of workout you get that makes the difference. You have to really hit a Reflex Bag, so it provides a more thorough workout.
The “Cobra” style Reflex Bag (aka Cobra Bag) have begun to become more popular thanks to boxers like Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia.
Their workout videos are legendary and are helping to growing the number of Cobra Bag fans. Here is Ryan working out on a Fierce Reflex bag, designed by his father.
How They Differ on Important Aspects
As we dig into the details of each bag, you’ll begin to understand that even though they do similar things, the kind of workout and conditioning you get is different.
If you are looking to buy one or the other for a home gym, this section is important to read before choosing.
Design & Functionality
Both bags are designed to rebound after being hit, providing the responsive and interactive training needed in boxing. The rebound is different due to their different designs.
The Double End Bag is simply a leather ball with an inflatable bladder suspended between two suspension cords. The stretch cords attach to the floor and ceiling to provide the rebound effect.
The Reflex Bag is just a solid foam filled ball attached to a pole with a spring in the middle, attached to a heavy base. This is sort of like a standing punching bag with a speed bag on top.
As you will see later, the spring is the biggest differentiator in how they work.
Setup & Adjustability
The Double End Bag is versatile in its setup and adjustment. All you need to have an anchor point in the ceiling for the upper cord, and a weight or anchor point in the floor, attaching the bag in between.
This is not as bad as it sounds since the bag hardly weight anything at all, you just need to screw in some circle hooks to attach the stretch cord.
Height and tension are adjusted entirely by the length and strength of the bungee cords you choose. You can get a faster/shorter or slower/longer rebound by changing your bungee cords.
With the Double End Bag, you also have the option of different shapes and sizes of bags to hit.
- Ball Diameters 5”, 7”, and 9”
- Hourglass Shape (Mexican Style)
The Reflex Bag is far more limited. It simply sits on its base, and you can adjust the height of the target, and the weight in the base and that’s about it. The ball and spring are permanent parts of the unit and are not adjustable!
Action & Rebound
When you work with the two style of bags side by side you really see the difference in action and rebound.
Both provide a rebound, but the bags are different. A Double End bag is inflated, there is not much weight to it. It’s like hitting a leather balloon, with an in and out, side to side action.
Manny Pacquiao is known for working a very tight double end bag with very little movement. Other boxer like that longer rebound to work on defensive movements among their punches.
In contrast, the Reflex Bag is solid foam, and the spring gives it more resistance.
You must hit the Reflex Bag with some force for it to rebound. The reflex bag moves in more of an arc and has a far more solid feel to it.
If you want a more realistic feel of landing punches, you should get the Cobra Reflex Bag.
Reflex Bag is the best choice for strength and conditioning. More power is needed in your punches to make the bag move and rebound. This provides a more thorough workout.
With the Double End Bag, you aren’t punching as hard. The workout is more technical target practice.
You punch the bag and rebound whiles working on the same elements of timing, coordination, head movement, slips, bob and weave, and defense.
For a tougher workout the Reflex Bag is the better choice.
Cost & Replacement Parts
A quality Double End Bag will start around $50 plus another $20-30 for a few good sets of bungee cords.
When a Double End Bag gets deflated, all you need to do is buy a replacement bladder. When the shell gets worn out, you’ll just have to buy a new bag.
Not too bad right?
The cost of a Reflex Bag is much greater in comparison. The TITLE Cobra Reflex Bag costs over $300, and if the ball or spring is broken, there aren’t replacement parts to buy.
You can call TITLE customer service to ask, but they don’t currently offer replacement parts for sale.
Perhaps this is the reason why Reflex Bags aren’t as common in gyms? With heavy use and abuse, the spring and bag are more prone to breaking than the simple Double End Bag.
The most cost-effective option is easily the Double End Bag.
Which One is Better for a Home Gym?
Both styles of bags are going to work well in a home gym. It comes down to what you want to gain out of owning one or the other.
Let’s look at some other use scenarios to guide you to the right choice.
- Tougher Workouts – Cobra Reflex Bag
- Realistic Punching Feel – Cobra Reflex Bag
- Adjustment & Versatility – Double End Bag
- Lower Cost and Maintenance – Double End Bags
- Easiest to Setup – Either/Both to your personal preference
- Easiest to Move Out of the Way – Double End Bag
Portability and being able to move out of the way are usually important in the limited spaces of most home gyms. The Double End Bag is super simple to unhook and move, whereas the heavy base of the Reflex Bag is going to take some work to slide and roll away.
Give both a try if you ever have the chance. While they are quite similar in what you can achieve with them, it really does come down to personal preferences in what you want out of this style of punching bag.