When it comes to boxing training, you have a few different options when it comes to choosing a punching target. Two of the most popular options are the Century BOB and the Heavy Bag. So, which one should you choose?

The Century BOB is a free-standing, body-shaped punching dummy. It mimics a live opponent, allowing you to practice critical strikes that would be deadly on a real sparring partner. A heavy bag is a traditional punching bag hanging from the ceiling or wall used to practice boxing. 

If you want to improve your boxing practice, it’s best to get yourself a Century BOB or a heavy bag. In this article, I will run through the factors to consider when choosing a bag. I will also discuss the main features and pros and cons to help you decide what’s best for you.

What To Consider When Choosing a Punching Bag

There are different types of punching bags to choose from for your workout or boxing practice. Some of these options include: 

  • Heavy bag 
  • Speed bag 
  • Free-standing bag 
  • Hanging punching bag 
  • Boxing dummy 

When you’re choosing which punching bag to buy, consider the following factors. 

Training Goals

Whether you’re working on precision and technique, footwork, or cardio training, the right punching bag can help you achieve specific goals.

While most punching bags allow you to practice sparring, a punching dummy is more suitable for striking techniques like crosses, hooks, and uppercuts. You can’t perform certain techniques effectively on a heavy bag, so if you’re practicing something like uppercuts, a heavy bag may not be the ideal investment.

You should also consider the type of training you’re focusing on. Are you working on speed or trying to develop power? For those who want to improve speed and accuracy, a lighter punching bag like a Century BOB is more effective. Conversely, heavier punching bags like heavy bags are more suited for developing strength and power. 

Body Size vs. Size of the Bag

The proper size for a punching bag depends on your physical size and your training goals. 

The bag should be small enough for you to hit without too much resistance but large enough that the weight of it tones your muscles. 

The best way to find the ideal match is to divide your weight by two to determine the size of the punching bag suitable for you. Round off this number to the nearest multiple of ten. The number you’re left with is the ideal weight for resistance training that works for your body. 

Your Training Space

Punching bags can take up a significant amount of space, and it’s best to consider where you’ll be placing the bag before investing in one.

You may keep it in a large space like your garage, where you’re used to exercising, or hang it outside on a nearby tree branch. Wherever you place the bag, you have to consider its weight and find out if there’s enough support, especially if you’re using a heavy bag. It’s best to invest in some sturdy chains as well, to hang your bag.

If you have limited space, it’s better to invest in a free-standing bag. With this kind of bag you can fill up the base and leave it standing in your desired training space. 

The Price of the Bag

Of course, some punching bags are a bit more expensive than others. Additionally, a heavy bag will require a stand, or some arrangement so you can hang it from your ceiling. However, a free-standing punching bag is portable, and you can place it anywhere you’d like and move it when you’re done.

While you can find cheaper bags on the market, keep in mind that they will wear out quickly and you may have to replace them sooner than high quality ones. 

The Durability of Your Bag

The durability of a punching bag depends on the cover material and the filler used. Foam is one of the highest-quality fillers and properly distributes the shock from a punch, significantly increasing its durability. 

High-quality heavy bags typically outlast quality punching dummies. For instance, the Outslayer Filled Punching Bag 100 lbs (45 kg), our go-to heavy bag, has a lifetime warranty. This implies that the bag can be used for life, unlike most other brands of heavy bags. 

Difference Between a Century BOB and a Heavy Bag

While both Century BOBs and heavy bags can be used for training, each comes with a set of features that make them suitable for specific training goals. 

First, let’s take a look at the features of a Century BOB and the advantages it has to offer.

Features of a Century BOB

Some distinguishing features of a century bob include: 

  • Mobility. A Century BOB is portable when empty and not fixed to a wall or ceiling like a heavy bag. So if you’re looking to change your workout environment, you can do so easily with a Century BOB. However, once you fill the base, a Century BOB is pretty heavy and immobile.
  • Customizable. You can quickly change the height of this equipment to practice particular techniques at different levels. You can also detach the Century BOB’s torso and use it as a grappling dummy without the base. 
  • Precision Training. If you’re training to compete, having a human-shaped bag helps you understand a live opponent better. Heavy bags don’t provide this level of realism, and a century BOB will allow you to practice liver blows, uppercuts, and solar plexus attacks more accurately. 
  • Material and Quality. A Century BOB is composed of high-quality plastisol. This material won’t hurt your foot or hands when you’re attacking the bag. You also don’t need to wear shin guards or other protective gear, unlike when sparring with a heavy bag. 

Pros and Cons of Century BOB

Pros

  • Easy installation due to portability. 
  • Suitable for apartments and small spaces. 
  • Striking points allows for more focused training. 
  • Adjustable height helps you practice with a live opponent in mind. 
  • You can fill the base according to your body size and training goals.
  • You can easily change your workout space if needed.

Cons

  • It offers less resistance than heavy bags. 
  • It doesn’t swing back towards you like a heavy bag, which helps with training. 
  • It can tip over easily if you hit it too hard. 
  • It’s relatively more expensive than heavy bags. 

Features of Traditional Heavy Bags

Traditional heavy bags come with features that set them apart from Century BOBs and target specific areas of training. Some include: 

  • Increased Resistance. Heavy bags offer excellent resistance for muscular development. As long as they’re the right size and weight for you, they can help you tone your muscles. The increased weight makes them ideal for building strength and power.
  • Material and Quality. Most heavy bags contain foam, sand, water, or material fabrics inside them. You can opt for softer filler options as a beginner and upgrade as you develop your skills and strength.
  • Training Variation. Traditional heavy bags move around when you hit them, forcing you to react and position yourself properly before the next strike. Unlike standing punch bags which are constantly immobile, a heavy bag can help improve your offensive skills. 

Pros and Cons of Heavy Bags

Pros

  • Most high-quality heavy bags are pretty affordable when compared to an average-quality Century BOB.
  • Manufacturers design most heavy bags with vinyl or synthetic leather, which lasts longer and resists splitting. 
  • You can invest in bags with gel or foam linings to make punching and kicking more comfortable.
  • You’re not fixed to one spot when training with heavy bags as the equipment usually sways around.
  • Heavy bags can help you quickly develop muscle tone due to the increased resistance.

Cons

  • Hanging a heavy bag can be quite  tricky as you need a sturdy base and robust chains.
  • You need significant space for a heavy bag, as you must be able to move around while using it.
  • A heavy bag swings around quite a lot which can be problematic for those working on precision training. 
  • You have to consider your physical size and height when investing in heavy bags as most come with a fixed amount of filler which you can’t alter.
  • Heavy bags are significantly more robust and can be problematic to move around when shifting your workout space.  

Which One to Choose – The Verdict

The kind of equipment you invest in depends on a few factors, like available space, training goals, and the kind of technique you’re working on. 

If you’ve got a small training space or you’re working out inside your apartment, a Century BOB is more suitable. This piece of equipment is also ideal for certain techniques and precision training.

Heavy bags are more suitable for developing strength and power and can help improve your footwork. It’s best to jot down your training goals before you invest in either so you can choose the right piece of equipment to match your requirements.

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