This page will offer indepth discussions of the various Speed Bag Swivels.

Ball Hook Swivels

Chain link Swivels

U-bar swivels

Custom made Swivels

The SWIVEL is a key component of the speed bag setup and a science unto itself. It is also the subject of much interest and debate in the speed bag world, with many people having “their” favorite for one reason or the other. 

There are basically three types of swivels, The Ball-Hook, The Chainlink and the U-Bar style. Each is presented below in detail:

Ball hook Swivels

Ballhooks come in two basic designs (1) two pieced housing and (2) one piece housing. The main reason for this is because years ago, the main swivel manufacturers made both ballhook swivels and chainlink swivels. They used the same housing design that attached to the board and a bottom part for bag attachment, either ballhook or chain link, could would screw into that housing. The attachment part was the same size for both styles and you could simply screw in your bag attachment part to the housing attached to the board. that way, a boxer could unscrew the ball hook attachment and just screw in a bag attached with a chain link. As we will see below, chain links were much harder to change bags.

The two “main” pieces that you will probably deal with:

A:  Swivel Base. The this part

attaches to the board.

B: the Bottom part. the top Housing attaches to the board base and the bottom hook attaches to the bag. But this actually has 5 separate parts. They are normally assembled when you purchase the swivel. If you are lucky, you will never see most of them. 

  All the bottom parts are shown and numbered below

1. “S” Hook
2. Eyebolt shaft
3. Ball
4. Ballhousing and threads.
5. Set Screw (inside Ball)
6. 3mm metrick allen wrench (the size of mm metric set screw and “
wrench needed may vary
.)       
 

The only reason you should see these parts is IF you are punching and the set screw comes loose and the eyebolt flies out of the ball during the workout. Then you will need the allen wrench #6 to fix it.  

HOOK size and shapes have varied over the years. Several are shown below.  1.  Standard “S” hook
2.  Flat, wider “S” hook
3.  Open end wide “S” hook

Hook Size and shape mostly affects how easy your bag fits on it, and stays on it. Today’s bags seem to have thicker and wider leather loop attachment straps and they are very difficult to get onto and “S” with a small opening. And if you can get it on, good luck getting it off. Years ago “S” hooks would have an off-set curve to all for that, but they seemed to have vanished.

Below are some helpful pictures of issues with ballhook swivels.

Key:

S = Bag Strap
T = Tape (duct tape

Shown at right are two bags on a metal ballhooks 1&2.

On the left is a standard “S” shape hook (#1 above).  The yellow bag has a short, thick, wide leather loop that has to be forced through the small “S” opening and you see that the strap is too wide for the S. This will fly off very easily if mis-hit from underneath. The red bag on the right has a longer leather loop, but is the same width as the yellow bag, and is on the #2 “S” hook with a slighter wider bottom.  

On the right you can see grey duct tape has been wrapped around the leather bag loop to pinch it tighter, and also wrapped around the hook opening to secure the bag on the hook. finally, at the top, a few strands of duct tape have been wrapped around the eyeshaft bolt to deaden the chanking sound and help reduce wear on the metal.

The Plastic Ballhook

This swivel comes already put together as a single unit, but has several parts of plastic and metal.

A. Base – Plastic. attaches to board
1.  “S” hook – metal
2.  eyebolt shank – metal with threads
3.  Plastic ball with threads.

This swivel actually performs very well with one predictable exception: The Eyebolt almost always gets knocked out of the plastic ball. We have received many reports of this happening. fortunately there is a known fix for this problem. Unscrew the eyebolt shank (preferably before you strip it by knocking it out….) and apply some type of superglue that holds plastic and steel. Loctite is shown in this example, but any superglue will do.

picture of ballhook with glue and stuff

To do this, apply the glue into the hole of the plastic ball, then all over the threads on the eyeshank (#2). Then insert the eyeshank into the hole and screw it back in as far as you can.

** You MUST hold the ball inside the housing as shown in this bottom picture when you screw the eyeshank back in.

If you screw the shank in the ball outside of the housing, you will not be able to get the ball inside, for the hook will not pass through the hole. Allow it to set for at least 24 hours

This model ballhook swivel is not recommended.  The soft metal housing for the ball often bends from repeated contact and widens, letting the ball fall out. Then it is useless.

IF you have one of these, keep reading.

In a short time you will probably need another swivel.

(VERY CHEAP BALLHOOK soft housing)

Many of the new bags today have larger bag attachment loops that are wider and thicker than in the past, making them very difficult (if not impossible) to get on a swivel, especially a ball hook with a small opening in the “S” attachment. This is because the thinner attachment loops were a main point of wear and ripped.  The only way to get some of these larger, thick bag loops on a swivel is often to use pliers an crimp the loop end together to get it to fit, and if you do that ….good luck on getting it off.

Speedbagcentral is aware of at least three individuals working on very high quality Ball-Hook swivel designs and prototypes we have seen and used are very encouraging. We are especially happy about this because the Ballhook swivel is the purest form of swivel and offers the purest rebound. Nothing in it is basic design or construction can interfere with the rebound action of bag. The bag goes exactly where you send it, with slight diversion in angle due to the swivel itself. Nothing is more frustrating than to have the swivel design or mechanics send the bag slightly off course!!   We are hopeful that these will soon be available to the speed bag public, at least on a limited special order basis, in the near future! 

A long time standard in boxing, The chain link swivel is a favorite of many gyms and healthclubs.  They are fast, quiet, and often difficult to deal with, for the locking pin that holds it together can be a pain without the right set of pliers.

Like that Ballhook, there are several different sizes of chain link swivels. Below is an older standard size link swivel.   

Chainlink Swivel Parts

1: Base: attaches to Board
2: Swivel Housing (ball bearings inside not shown)
3. Bag attachment link
4. Open link end
5: link locking clip
6: Retaining Ring Pliers or snap ring pliers (recommended)

Link Bag Attachment.

Below you see how to attach the bag to the chain link. Notice the Red Bag loop is almost wider than the link. You have to squeeze this loop to fit #4 retaining link and attach #5 locking clip.

The picture below demonstrates how the locking clip can be spread with the retaining ring pliers. This device is not mandatory but it will probably save your fingers from being cut, jammed or stuck with a knife or screw driver. 

It will also save the clip from being bent or ruined.   IF the locking clip is bent, broken or lost, you CAN use duct tape to wrap around the links. See the section on this below.

This picture shows all the chain link parts put together.

notice the locking clip (#5) is facing downards. You will also notice that this Everlast 4200 9×6 bag strap is narrow and fits on the link nicely.  That was an older model bag. More modern bags of the the last 5-6 years may not fit on these narrow links.

If the retaining lock clip used on the side of the Chain link gets bent or broken you can still use the swivel by using a thin strip of athletic tape or duct tape to wrap around the two bag attachment links and hold them tightly place – As  shown in the picture below. Be sure the tape is thin enough so it does NOT come down over the bags leather attachment loop or stick to the metal housing above the link. 

This should not interfere with the movements of the Bag or Swivel because it’s just holding the links together.

The same problem of thick or wide bag attachment loops can also effect a chain link style swivel, particularly the older model swivels with smaller link attachment as shown above. We have seen bag loops that have extended to about 1/8 inch past the link end, requiring extensive crimping with pliers to squeeze it the loop into the space and get the other side link on. This does not happen very often but be aware that some bags and chain link swivels will require this adjustment.  

  

U-BAR SWIVELS

Swivels with a “U-bar” bag attachment have actually been around a long time, but fell out of favor for a number of years. However various types of U-bar swivels are clearly seen in speed bag photos of the 1940s and 1950s.  They come in several styles and variations – mostly with the size and shape of the “U” bag attachment as well as the design of the locking pin.  They are very easy to manipulate and use.   

The Speed Swivel Parts

1: Base housing and ball bearings
2: Locking pin
3: Bag attachment U-Bolt

The fit together very easily. They are normally fast and efficient depending on the construction, which can vary widely by supplier.

This picture shows all the parts put together. Some swivel models have a cotter pin on the locking pin (#2), and some have a longer, more narrow U-Bolt

U-Bar parts

Some styles of U-Bar swivels come in two sections, like chain links and ball hooks, where the lower house portion unscrews from the base. Also, notice the cotter pin that secures the “U” on the shaft. Be sure to have a pair of pliers to pull it out.

2 piece U-bar housing

Problems with the U-Bolt design.

Every swivel style has its own design flaws, and this swivel is no exception.  Pictures A & B show the bag sliding along the bar. This will happen occasionally as the swivel spins and you makes contact with the bar aligned toward you. That means you hit the bag while the cotter pin if facing you, not the open “U”. Sometimes when contact is made in this alignment, the bag will slide along the bar, as seen in picture A & B. Another problem we find is that sometimes the bag tends to “float up” off the bar, as seen in picture C

All three of these situations can alter the bag rebound, change your rhythm and contribute to a mis-hit and possible breakdown in your punching.

The fix for the above problems is the same fix for most other swivel problems. Duct Tape.

A few thin strands of regular Duct tape (# 4) is wrapped around the bag loop to squeeze the loop together and hold it to the bar. You can also run a few figure eight strands of tape around the ends of the bag loop and bar, actually taping it directly to the bar, but you must be sure the bag is centered on the bar. If it is not centered, It will have a warped rebound pattern.

As mentioned before, Not all U-bolts are created equal. Some have a short, wide U bag attachment and some have a longer narrow attachment. As shown at right.   Notice how the longer U makes for a longer swivel, and this will drop the bag lower under the board, lengthening the rebound arc of the bag, making it a bit slower.   A shorter rebound arc usually results in faster bag action.

It is also important to realize that the width of the bag attachment loop and the U bar of the swivel may interfer with each other.

Notice below the comparison of the Bag attachment loop to several U bars. Notice in the inset, the Blue line over bag strap indicating its width. That same line (copy & pasted) is placed in pink over the narrow U-bar to show that this bag strap is too wide to fit inside the U-bar easily. This can happen with various bags that have wide attachment loops.

Below you see the end result of the bag attachment loop and narrow U bar. Of course you can try to cram the bag loop down into the bottom of the narrow slot but it will not interact correctly and will adversely effect the action of the bag.

The bag shown in this sample is a common model of Cleto Reyes. They are excellent speed bags of very high quality, with great rebound action.

This problem occurs with ALL brands of speed bags when using a narrow “U”. Again, many modern bags seem to have thicker, wider bag attachment loops than in days gone by. 

The purpose of this is to show you a possible problem with of the narrow
U-bar swivel.  Speedbagcentral does not recommend the narrow U-bolt model swivel because of this potential problem.  In the modern era of online sales and mail ordering of speed bags. You run the risk of this happening.  

CUSTOM MADE SWIVELS

There has always been that individual with the desire and technical design and fabrication talent to make their own speed bag equipment and that is certainly true for Speed Bag Swivels. Over the past few years Speedbagcentral has encountered various speed bag enthusiasts the have undertaken the challenge to design and build their own version of a speed bag swivel, most often the Ball Hook due to its purity of rebound. For the more comprehensive “Bible Style Bagging”, hitting non-stop from all around the speed bag it has always been the number one choice.

Basically it is comprise of a housing to hold the ball, a round ball with some type of attachment to hold the bag. Most all of the home made versions we have used were of high quality and functioned spectacularly well. Early models, (no longer available) were made almost entirely of metals. Todays versions utilize a variety of high tech methods and materials.

The only drawback to Custom made swivels is there long standing availability. To date No custom maker has yet found a reliable way to move their design and quality to mass production. With each swivel made by hand, their long availability has never been assured and most have only been available for a short time, like 2 to 3 years, until the individual maker could no longer continue for whatever reasons.

All of the current models listed below are designed and made by people who are themselves high skilled speed baggers. the staff at Speedbagcentral personally knows the creators and have used their swivels. Each product is highly recommended, being deadly fast and accurate. They are also very high quality, able to withstand the most rigorous of workouts. We suggest that IF you prefer a ball hook swivel, and you chose a custom model … Purchase as many as you can while they are available.

( And NO, we don’t get commissions from sale links off this site.)

The Thrasher House

and while you’re there, check out his cool videos of Punch Drumming!