Basic Punching Pattern and movement

When you normally see a person hit the speed bag smoothly with both hands, normally part of a boxing promo or pre-fight build up, you will often see them punching in what we call “the Basic Punching pattern.” Here is how we do that.

From the normal speed bag stance facing the bag with shoulders square, the bag should be hanging in the middle of your body. To hit the bag, your normal punching motions will find your hands moving either (1) inward toward the center of the body to hit the bag – or starting from the center of the body and (2) punching outward toward the shoulder. Generally, the inward punch will extend the hand away from the normal start position, and the outward motion will get it back. The two basic punches shown below are a perfect example of this. The Right Front Straight Punch (R – FSP) hits the bag on the front of the fist while extending the right arm. Follow this with a Right Circle Punch, (R – FCP) which connects the side of the fist and gets the right arm back to the ready position. Follow the Right (FCP) with a Left Front Straight Punch (L – FSP), which extends the left arm, and then finish with a Left Front Circle Punch (L – FCP).

All punches hit the front of the bag and require three rebounds in-between. You will quickly hear the “triplet rhythm” when doing this. (use five rebounds if three is too fast).

This creates a very rhythmic punching movement often called the Basic Punching Pattern, and is also referred to as “The Basic Rhythm”. The body motion and follow through of each punch sets you up perfectly for the next, and your hands flow easily IN to the center of your chest, then OUT to the home position. Notice the RR-LL, sequence of the hands.  This pattern can start on any of the punches, so it could also be R-LL-R, and it would be the same thing. It does not matter which punch begins the sequence.

This is THE single most basic speed bag combination, created by only two punching techniques.  This one combination will help open the doors to all the rest! And you will notice that repetitive continuous beat-sound of the bag is also acting at the auditory cue for your swinging. You might not realize that at a conscious level, but your brain knows.

All speed bag combinations work this way. Whenever a fist punch or elbow strike moves your hands or elbows into the center to hit the bag, there are always several fist punches or elbow strikes that will easily follow your body motion to get you back to the home position. This same natural flow of movement allows you to easily connect techniques from all around the bag, because no matter what bag area you hit, one technique takes your hand(s) into the center and another takes you back*. When you are more advanced, “back*” will not necessarily mean to the same side that you started from.


The elbows can be used much like the fists. The key is understanding the directions they can be used. An elbow can move to hit the bag in three directions:

Inward Elbow

Inward, (toward the center of the body). The inward elbow motion is similar to the Front Straight Punch and is often used with it. The Front Straight Punch (FSP) moves IN toward the bag, and the forearm point of the elbow follows on the same plane

This inward elbow contact can be joined with the fists to create various techniques. Below is a picture of the “Inward-Triple Elbow Strike” (I-TES)

Outward Elbow

Outward, ( away from the center of the body). The outward elbow motion is similar to the Front Circle Punch (FCP) and is often used with it. After a Front Straight Punch, the arm is extended into the center of the body. This also brings the elbow to the center of the body.  From here, simply rotate the shoulder to bring the elbow up and point it at the bag. Your fist should be under the opposite ear. The bag will connect the elbow on the tricep side. As the elbow connects in an outward motion, the fist can follow and hit the bag just like a Front Circle Punch After one rebound. 

Downward Elbow Strikes

Downward, (elbow strikes from above and moves down into the bag). The downward motion of the elbow is much like throwing a ball. The arm must be raised up in anticipation of this, and moves down into the punching area, connecting the bag in a downward direction. It can be used very much like the outward elbow strike, and joins easily with the Front Circle Punch. For instance, as the Downward elbow of the Right Arm connects the bag, you may let the bag rebound once and connect the side of the Right Fist.

**  There are several safety concern for Downward Elbow Strikes

First, The Thumb of the Downward moving fist can catch the frame of your Eyeglasses and knock them off.

It is recommended to take. off any eyewear when doing the Downward Elbow Strikes.  Second, The board overhead may also interfere with the downward fist, especially if you extend it. The chances of this increase as the bags get smaller.  Just be aware of the board overhead.

Inward, Outward and Downward elbow strikes can have one, two, or three parts hitting the bag. The names of the individual elbow techniques tell you how many parts hit the bag. For example, and Outward–Single Elbow Strike (O-SES) has one single part (the elbow) hitting the bag. The Outward-Double Elbow Strike (O-DES) has two parts hitting the bag. The Outward-Triple Elbow Strike (O-TES) has three parts hitting the bag. They are joined together into a single motion with one rebound in-between the parts.

Four way Elbow Strikes

Elbow techniques with four parts are called Four-Way Elbow Strikes, and are created by the connecting the Double Elbow Strike techniques together with only one rebound in between. There are two of these presented in The Speed Bag Bible.

The Out & Down Four Way Elbow strike (O-D 4way) joins the Outward double E.S and downward double E.S. with one rebound in between instead of three.

The Out & In four way Elbow Strike (O-I 4way) joins the outward double elbow strike and inward double elbow strike together with on rebound in between.

  • The elbow striking motions follow the same rhythmic pattern as the Front Straight Punch (FSP) and Front Circle Punch (FCP), moving inward and outward from the center of the body. Each elbow strike can be used to replace either the FSP or FCP. Simply think of the body position and fist motion and replace it with the most natural elbow strike from that position.  You do not have to force this.  If it does not feel natural, it is probably wrong.
  • You do not have to use elbow strikes to be proficient on the speed bag, but they can add a lot of variety and make the workout a lot more variety.

* Recently three more “advanced four way elbow strikes” have been demonstrated:

The Downward – Downward Four Way Elbow Strike, (D-D 4way)
which joins the downward elbow-fist motion of one arm with the downward elbow-fist motion of the other arm with only one rebound inbetween.

The second method is the “Downward-Inward four way elbow strike”, written as (D-I 4way) which joins a Downward-Double Elbow followed by and Inward-Double Elbow strike, all with one rebound inbetween. 
A third new four way elbow technique is the “Outward – Outward four way elbow strike, (O-O 4way) which joins an outward elbow-fist motion with the other arm outward elbow-fist motion. This is very difficult to do for the body set up and follow through motion makes this very awkward. But it is possible.  

It is suggest your read “writing speed bag techniques and combinations” next