Beginners should focus on a couple of things to overcome the biggest problems to learning. Keep it simple.

  • Make sure your equipment is correct for you or it may retard your progress. The two main reasons for failure are (1) the bag is too small or fast for your level of ability and (2) The bag is not at the proper level, probably too high. Make sure it is set correctly or you will use an improper swing to hit it. The proper setup and stance is shown at right.
  • It will be easier if you understand as much as you can about how the bag works. Review that information so you know what to expect.
  • Another reason for failure is hitting too hard. The bag will rebound several times by just the weight of your hand contacting it. Hit easy!  Think control bag rather than speed bag.  A good tip to gain control over the speed and force of your punching is to count the rebounds. The bag can quickly outrun your ability to count, so you will have to go slow. As you gain control, you can go a little faster.
  • Try to increase your punching speed by swing smaller, not harder. It is easier if you relax.
  • Start with only a few Single fist punching techniques from the front of the bag, such as the Front Circle Punch (FCP) and Front Straight Punch (FSP). Front Fist Rolling is also fairly easy.
  • IF you want to learn to hit the speed bag in a more comprehensive manner (called by some: Speed Bag Bible Style Punching) from all around the bag with fists and elbows – than the set up shown here is the most efficient setup.


Here is the simplest beginner progression for punching the front of the bag. It includes a level for everyone and easily adapts for people that cannot easily begin with the normal “basic triplet rhythm of 3 rebounds. You can use each level for several workouts until you progress to the next

  • 1. Hit the bag once. Stop the bag. Get ready and hit again. This eliminates any need to control your punching force or speed. Hit it as hard as you want. Just stop it before you hit again.
  • 2. Hit the bag. Let it swing until it stops hitting the board. Just before it stops, hit it again. Again this eliminates any need to control your force, since you will wait until it almost stops. Watch the angles of the bag rebounding. When it almost stops – punch again.  
  • 3. Hit the bag and count the rebounds. Start with a high number, such as seven. Punch again after the bag makes that number of rebounds. After a few workouts, reduce the number or rebounds to five. Here you will have to start watching your force and movement for you need to be ready to punch after the correct number of rebounds. This level starts to let your ears take control of your timing.
  • 4. Hit the bag on three rebounds. This is called “The Basic Rhythm” or “Triplet Rhythm” The most basic speed bag sound. When you can do this repetitively, try and go faster.
  • Try to increase your punching speed by swinging smaller, not harder. It is easier if you relax
  • If you are just hitting from the front area of the bag, you might move back slightly which will make the fist contact later in your arm extension. This will reduce the size of your follow through motion and help give swing control. 

Be patient. It takes time.  When all else fails, blame the swivel. It was probably loose. 


By this, we mean You have good control over your punching force and swinging motions.  You can hit as fast or slow as you want, and keep the bag going for several minutes. Perhaps you can do a few other fist techniques or elbow strikes. Whatever your skill, you are ready to advance on to learn new things. Here are a few tips:

  • Start learning new techniques. Perhaps all the front fist techniques or some elbow strikes ( internal link to Elbow Strikes). There are outward, inward and downward elbow strikes. They will combine with the other front techniques after an odd number of rebounds.
  • Consider using other areas of the bag, and learning the three reverse techniques. They are the Reverse Single Punch (RSP), the Reverse Double Punch (RDP) and the Reverse Fist Roll (R-Roll)
  • Learn to create combinations from different bag areas. Try and “link” the front and reverse bag area techniques together.  Begin by passing a single fist “through the bag” to hit from behind. Keep the elbow up. Use a Front Circle Punch which hits the side of the fist, and move the fist straight through. You do not have to duck your fist under to go behind the bag. Slow motion analysis reveals that the bag is touching the board over your hand when you extend your fist straight out. When the bag descends off the board your fist is already behind it. The secret is the elbow position. These combinations occur after an even number of rebounds. You can use either four or two rebounds. Two rebounds will create the single fist pass through rhythm. (tip: If you have problems going from the front to back, start the combination from behind the bag and do the reverse punch first. The reverse technique is usually more difficult since you can not see that contact area.)

Try passing both fists through the bag, from a Front Double Punch (FDP) to Reverse Double Punch (RDP). Do the front double punch and extend your fists straight out by extending the elbows. Then bring your fists straight back. This is normally a smooth movement and they fists should not hesitate or stop anywhere in the movement. This will create the double fist pass through rhythm. If going front-to-back is difficult, start with the fists behind the bag and do the Reverse Double Punch first.

  • Try combining the reverse techniques with the elbow strikes. You can do this with either a single fist or double fist. The secret is understanding that once the elbow hits the bag, the rest of the elbow technique IS fist contacts. Just let it pass through like before. For example, in the outward-Triple Elbow Strike, ( picture below ) the elbow hits the bag first in an outward direction, then the lead fist and second fist make contact with one rebound in between. The two fists could also be a double punch.
  • The secret to creating combinations from all around the bag is learning to maximize your linking ability. The key is the double fist techniques: Front Double Punch (FDP), Reverse Double Punch (RDP) and Side Double Punch (SDP). You can always link, or pass through to another area, the (1) lead fist (2) the second fist or (3) both fists from a double punch. Depending on how many techniques you are proficient with, these three linking options can open up hundreds of combinations.

From here it is suggestion you go to Focused Workouts to begin personalizing or customizing the benefits of your training.