Guide to Heavy Bag Training for Muay Thai
Bag work is a standard and important part of Muay Thai, and also for almost all stand-up striking. After adequate warm-up, and perhaps a few rounds doing shadow boxing, it’s off for a few rounds on the heavy bags. There are various ways of training with a heavy bag in Muay Thai as it is a versatile equipment. It can be used to build cardio endurance, strength, power, and balance. Common ways of heavy bag training include repetitive striking (e.g. 100 kicks, 100 knees, 1-minute punches), freestyle bag work, resistance band workout, and combination drills.
Benefits of Heavy Bag Training
There’s a reason why bag work is an essential component at every single Muay Thai training session. In fact, here are the top 5 reasons:
The impact of training with heavy bags leads to the strengthening of muscles and bones over time. This allows the body to better withstand the hard impact and throw more powerful strikes gradually.
Throwing repetitive kicks on the heavy bag can help to improve body coordination and balance. The swing of the bag can be quite forceful and throw one off balance. Hence regular bag work can train a person to focus on balance while strengthening leg and core muscles for a better stance.
Working with a heavy bag forces you to get creative. The standard one-two-kick combination gets stale very quickly, especially in a fight. Regular bag work challenges a fighter to develop a wide range of combos so as to be more unpredictable.
Form is an important but often neglected aspect of Muay Thai. Good form translates to more power and better accuracy. A poor form can send a sharp pain when working with a heavy bag. This motivates people to work on improving their form and techniques.
Installing a heavy bag at home offers great convenience as it allows one to train anytime, without the need for a trainer or partner. While nothing can replace proper training in the gym under the guidance of an experienced trainer, a home setup is a great way to get an intense workout 24/7.
Types of Heavy Bag
Heavy bag has a long history in martial arts, evolving over the years when martial artists first used gunny sacks filled with sand. Today, bags are more commonly filled using shredded cloth and rags. They also come in different sizes to target different aspects of training. Heavy bags typically weigh between 25 to 55 kg (55 to 120 lbs) and come in the following models:
This is the most common heavy bag that is used across all pugilistic sports. The regular bags make up most of the bags in a Muay Thai gym as they are the most versatile size, mimicking the human torso. Except for the low kick, this is the best size for training all weapons of Muay Thai.
Low Kick/Banana Bag
The low kick is an effective weapon of Muay Thai and the long banana bag is used for developing those leg-chopping power. Banana bags tend to swing less, and are heavier than regular bags. They are also found in all Muay Thai gyms but sometimes to a lesser extent compared to regular bags.
Teardrop bags are less common in Muay Thai gyms. However, they offer some advantages over regular bags due to its shape. Teardrop bags can be used for training body shots, knees, uppercut punches, high kicks and jumping kicks.
Wall-mounted bags are increasingly seen at Muay Thai gyms. They are used mainly for training all manners of punches, as more Thai fighters find themselves competing in kickboxing promotions where elbows are restricted.
YOKKAO Heavy Bags
YOKKAO offers a variety of heavy bags in different sizes and models. Constructed with heavy-duty real leather, YOKKAO Heavy Bags are long-lasting and perfect for martial arts gyms and the homes of fight enthusiasts alike. Available at YOKKAO online shop.
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