SPECIALITY OR FOCUSED WORKOUTS
Once you can punch repetitively with speed and power, you can begin targeting specific benefits or training results. You can do this by manipulating some factors of the equipment and how you use it. For general fitness you can use the normal speed bag stance facing front. But for Boxers and Martial Artists, you may want to use your defensive fighting stance and use the following guides for any single punching technique or combination.
Be sure and use hand protection, for these workouts will put maximum impact on your hands.
TO INCREASE STRENGTH
To focus on building shoulder, arm and punching strength – Use larger size bags. They are heavier, create more resistance and require more punching force to keep them going. Since they are slower, it will also be easier to count the rebounds.
- Create a single punch workout that uses the number of rebounds as a guide. From whatever stance you want, hit the bag as hard as you can and count the rebounds. Then add at least one rebound. As an example, perhaps you throw a jab, hook or circle punch at a 12×9 bag and it makes six rebounds before it stops hitting the board. Create a focused workout such as 3 sets of 10 single punches, where each punch must produced 6 rebounds. Less than six rebounds will not count. After a few workouts, add another rebound, so now the bag must make 7 rebounds. You must hit harder to make more rebounds. Do this for each punch or hand technique you want to focus on. For added targeting ability, do not stop the bag after the required number of rebounds is reached. Sight the bag as it slows down and punch when it is in the correct position.
- Do the above workout for two or three punch combinations, where each punch in the combination must create the required number of rebounds. As soon as the correct number is reached, sight the bag and throw the next technique. As an example, choose a three punch combination such as a Left Jab, Right Cross and Left Hook. Each punch in the combination must make at least 6 rebounds. From boxing stance, execute the left jab, once you count six rebounds, target the moving bag as it slows down and execute the Right Cross. Again count until the bag rebounds six times, then target and execute the Left Hook for six rebounds. Try to maintain correct balance natural movements. If any punch in the combination does not produce six rebounds, start the combination over again. Do this for 3 sets of 10 combinations. After a few workouts, add another rebound.
You can do speed focused workouts on any size bag and bag control may be an issue here. Larger bags will not go as fast as smaller bags. It may help to consider that each speed bag, not matter what size, has three general speeds. The First is SLOW, or warm-up speed, the second is NORMAL or workout speed, and the third is FULL speed. On any size bag, most people can only maintain full speed for a short period of time.
- Use progressively smaller bags, which go faster due to shorter rebound arch.
- Reduce the size of your swinging movement when punching. Large swings require the fist to cover a longer distance, and covering more distance takes more time.
- Interval workouts. These workouts require good control of punching technique and the ability to keep the bag going fast for at least 30 seconds or one minute. They will also require a timer and perhaps a coach or workout partner to call out time or count punches.
- Timed workout 1. Hit the bag as fast as possible for 30 seconds or one minute. Count the number of punches you do in that time period. Then increase the number of punches in the same time frame. This is easier if you pick one punch to count, such as the right Front Circle Punch (FCP) or Right Front Straight Punch (FSP). Start with that punch and count that punch every time it connects during the time interval. As an example, perform your basic rhythm or preferred punching pattern and count the Right Front Straight Punches. Using 1 minute as a time interval, start punching with the Right Front Straight Punch and begin your normal punching sequence. Go as fast as you possibly can during the interval, counting the right straight punches. Perhaps you did 40 right Front Straight Punches (FSP) in one minute. Great. Now reproduce that same number for three 1-minute sets. After a few workouts, add another punch, so you have to do at least 41 Right Front Straight Punches (FSP). Keep increasing the number of punches during the same time interval. You have to punch faster to be successful.
- Timed workout 2. Similar to the last workout, but reverse the measurement. Instead of setting a “time interval” of measurement, use a pre-determined “Number of Punches” and see how long it takes. Then try to reduce the time it takes. As an example, Start with the Right Front Straight Punch (FSP) and perform your normal punching pattern as fast as you can until you execute 30 Right Front Straight Punches. Perhaps that took 40 seconds. Do this again for three sets always executing 30 of the chosen punch. You must complete them within the time interval. After a few workouts, reduce the time interval. Then try to do 30 Right Front Straight Punches (FSP) in 35seconds or 30 seconds. The Trick is you must hit faster to be successful.
The above speed workouts are similar but offer some variety. In WO-1 you increased the number of punches within a pre-determined time interval, and in WO-2 you decrease the time interval required to perform a pre-determined set number of punches. In either case you have go punch faster to meet the goal.
ENDURANCE AND CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUTS
- Punch the bag continuously for longer periods of time. Vary the speed of your punching. Start at slow or warm up speed for 30-60 seconds or 40-50 punches. Then increase to your normal workout speed, which is where you feel the most comfortable and in full control. Stay at this speed for one or two minutes. Then jump to full speed, and go as fast as possible on that bag. Here you are almost out of control and will feel the shoulder arm burn quickly. Back off down to workout speed until the burn goes away. Go back and forth between workout speed and full speed several times. Three minutes of this is a long time! Every few workouts increase your time by .15 or .30 seconds.
- Speed is not the issue in these workouts, so use larger bags for your endurance. It takes more force and effort to keep the larger bags going and you may fatigue quickly. Advanced users may be able to get these benefits from smaller bags because you can keep it going longer. But regardless of speed bag skill, here you want to increase your physical efforts, not necessarily your speed bag ability.
- Since you are punching for longer periods of time, the routine of punching can get boring. Add variety by focusing on one arm punching. During the routine, use the left arm only for 6-10 punches and then the right arm. Vary the number, and change arms repeatedly. You may think it is a math test, but the variety of constantly changing hands will take you mind off the drudgery of punching for three or more minutes.
- To punch for longer times, learn to do the elbow strikes. These require more shoulder rotation and body movement. Elbow striking actions will help relieve the burning sensation in the shoulders and arms. After 8-10 elbow strikes, the shoulder and arm pain should be relieved enough to change back to fist punching techniques. With elbow strikes, you can extend you non-stop punching time to 5 or 6 minutes or longer.
Hit to music, which helps combat punching boredom and makes the time pass faster. See hitting to music below.
MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING WITH SPEED BAG
The speed bag is very effective for martial artists. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked in their training dojo or training facilities. Maybe it is seen more as boxing equipment, or it was not a normal part of training programs from each styles ancient oriental roots. Regardless, hand speed, rhythm and timing are also required in any form of martial arts. Training ideas for this area are offered here.
- Learn how the speed bag works and how you can practice your hand techniques or kicking techniques.
- To practice specific techniques or combinations begin from any or your preferred defensive stance. Be sure and adjust your distance for any forward or retreating body motions.
The speed bag can be use for any of the open hand techniques and punches, such as fist punches, Elbow Strikes, knife hands or Ridge hands.
The speed bag can be used for certain kicking techniques. It works best for the Roundhouse, Hook and Crescent kicks. * Warning! The board is very close to the foot! Use larger bags for kicking. The belly or target area is further underneath the board. You may also want to increase this distance by adding an “S” hook onto the swivel.
Remember the Rules Of Rhythm also apply for kicking combinations. Repetitive roundhouse kicks with the right leg will follow each other after an odd number, such as 5 rebounds, since each comes from the same side of the bag. But a right leg Hook Kick followed by a right leg Roundhouse kick (off the same chamber ) will require and even number, such as 4 or 6 rebounds. That is because the roundhouse kick will return on the opposite side from the hook kick.
FOOTWORK AND SPEED BAG
Since the bag is fixed and doesn’t move away from you or sideways, it is more difficult to practice footwork. But the following will help focus on your punching footwork.
From a defensive stance with your left or right leg forward, start very close to the wall nearest your back.
- Depending on your ability, choose a punching technique or a two, three or four combination. Beginners can use a single punch, such as a jab or backfist. Those will more experience might use a double jab, right cross combination.
- Now start punching and begin your circling shuffle steps. Maintain your balance and step correctly. Do not cross your feet. Keep moving around the bag until you reach the other wall. This should be 5 or 6 steps depending on your step size. Now go back the other way, while completing the punching combinations. Try to blend all your motions with the bag rhythm and flow of movement.
- Since your footwork is the focus, and not bag skill, you can use any number of rebounds. Start slow and punch only at half power to get the feel. Increase punching power and speed only when you footwork can smoothly follow.