The first addition of many home gyms for combat sports is either a speed bag or double end bag. However, space and financial restrictions may prohibit your home gym from including both. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves, which should I choose: a speed bag or double end bag?

Choosing between a speed bag and a double end bag depends on what you want to achieve from your workout. A speed bag will do if you’re looking to improve coordination and punching speed. However, if you’re looking to improve your reaction speed and timing, a double end bag would be your best bet.

In this article, I’ll look at the pros and cons of speed bags and double end bags. Afterward, you’ll be able to easily identify which type of bag is best for you.

What’s the Difference Between a Speed Bag and Double End Bag?

While both bags are excellent, there are some crucial differences between the two. Understanding the differences can help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing which one suits you best.

The difference between a speed bag and a double end bag is that the latter has dual suspension. Speed bags have a single suspension from the ceiling. Additionally, the double end bag simulates a fight, whereas speed bags build specific techniques, like timing and endurance.

In the speed bag vs double end bag debate, whichever you choose is dependent on your needs.

Speed Bag Pros and Cons

There are many functional and logistical differences between a speed bag and a double end bag. I find pros and cons helpful for weighing every aspect of deciding which is best for me. In the debate about speed bag vs double end bag, this is the best way to decide.

Speed Bag Pros

  • It teaches you to keep your hand up. The speed bag forces you to keep your hands up because of the frequency of strikes required. Forcing you to keep your hands up is why I love the speed bag for beginners. 
  • Develops shoulder endurance. You’ll notice your shoulders burning shortly into your speed bag exercise. This is an important step to building muscle endurance.
  • Develop a rhythm. Speed bags are rhythmic and will develop your boxing rhythm.
  • Easy to begin. While there is a knack to the speed bag, it’s easier to begin than a double end bag. 
  • Increased reflexes. Reflexes are important for quick decision-making in boxing. A speed bag will accelerate your reflexes because of the speed required.
  • Perfect for a home gym. Speed bags are cost-effective and space-efficient. A speed bag is perfect for a home gym, especially if you’re short on space.

Speed Bag Cons

  • No footwork involved. Using a speed bag doesn’t require using any footwork. Footwork is an integral component of boxing, and unfortunately, a speed bag won’t improve your footwork.
  • Less of an intense workout. The lack of footwork involved in a speed bag impacts the intensity of your workout. Staying stationary will decrease the number of calories you burn working out compared to a double end bag.
  • Doesn’t develop much striking accuracy. Since the speed bag has predictable movements, it won’t affect your accuracy.
  • Outdated. Some experienced boxers argue speed bags are outdated technology. With innovations in boxing equipment, people consider speed bags archaic.
  • Repetitive. Since a speed bag doesn’t simulate a fight, it can be quite repetitive. Experienced speed bag users can even use it with their eyes closed! The repetitive nature can make speed bags boring to experienced boxers.

Double End Bag Pros and Cons

If you feel like the speed bag is right for you after those pros and cons, hold on! We still need to dive into the double end bag advantages over the speed bag.

Double End Bag Pros

  • Simulates a real fight. The unpredictability of a double end bag’s movements will accelerate your boxing skills faster than a speed bag.
  • Double end bags work your form. Since the double end bag is light, you won’t work on the power behind your punches. Rather, you’ll slow down and focus on proper form.
  • Develops striking accuracy. Double end bags have unpredictable movements that force you to focus on striking accuracy.
  • Develops accurate timing. The double end bag doesn’t move in an exact rhythm, which means you’ll have to focus on timing your punches more. 
  • Lots of footwork. A double end bag has a wider range of movement than a speed bag. 
  • Versatility. You can practice offensive moves like jabs, hooks, and uppercuts. Additionally, you can practice defensive moves like blocking and head positioning.
  • More intense workout. Since you’ll utilize your footwork for positioning, you’ll have a more intense workout. 

Double End Bag Cons

  • Tougher for beginners. The unpredictable nature of a double end bag makes it tough for beginners. 
  • Can’t work on power. The double end bag is fantastic for technical skills. However, you won’t be able to work on more powerful punches. To work on your power, you’ll need a heavy bag.
  • Difficult installation. There is more complexity to hanging a double end bag because of the two suspension points. 
  • Require more space. Double end bags require more space than a speed bag because of the increased range of motion. However, double end bags still require less space than other cardio equipment.
  • Less intense workout than a heavy bag. A heavy bag will be more effective than a double end bag if you’re strictly after burning calories.

Which Is Right for Me? A Speed Bag or Double End Bag

A double end bag will likely be the right choice for you. However, beginners may find a double end bag frustrating and lose motivation. Therefore, beginners may prefer a speed bag. The absolute best way to decide for yourself is to try both at a local boxing gym.

Which Is Better for Beginners? A Speed Bag or Double End Bag

A speed bag is better for beginners. Beginners will find a double end bag is tougher to control than speed bags. To avoid being discouraged early on, beginners should start with a speed bag as they get the hang of boxing and upgrade to a double end bag as they get more advanced.

Which Is More Budget-Friendly? A Speed Bag or Double End Bag

A speed bag is slightly more budget-friendly than a double end bag. However, both speed and double end bags are fairly cheap in the scope of workout equipment. A high-end speed or double end bag almost always costs less than $100.

What Speed Bag Should I Get?

I recommend the Cleto Reyes Speed Bag (available on Amazon.com) because it is an exceptionally round speed bag. I know that seems like a strange compliment, but a rounder bag will make for more accurate bag movement.

What Double End Bag Should I Get?

The 9-inch Ringside Boxing Double End Bag is my recommendation for double end bags because of the high-quality build. Double end bags endure abuse because of the nature of boxing. You should purchase a high-quality product to ensure longevity.

How To Use a Speed Bag

To use a speed bag, follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill your speed bag. The first step is to fill it with air. Use a hand pump to inflate your speed bag up to a point it is wrinkle-free and firm. For an exact weight, refer to your exact speed bags manual.
  2. Finding the right space. Speed bags require a decent-sized space. You don’t want any interfering objects in your space.
  3. Hang your speed bag. Hang your speed bag so the fattest part of your speed bag is hanging at eye level. If you hang your speed bag too high, you’ll cause stress on your shoulders.
  4. Take the proper stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and face the speed bag. Ensure your shoulders are square. Position yourself a few inches from the bag.
  5. Follow a striking pattern. If you’re a beginner, try alternating two strikes with each arm. 

Visual Learning for a Speed Bag

You may want a visual guide if you’re completely new to striking a speed bag. Lots of people learn better this way, which is understandable. Before you begin, ensure that you have the right equipment. Check out Shraims Academy’s beginner speed bag guide:

How To Use a Double End Bag

Follow these easy steps to properly use a double end bag:

  1. Fill your double end bag. Fill your bag with air until it is firm and wrinkle-free. Check the user manual for exact inflation instructions.
  2. Finding the right space. You’ll also need a large space for a double end bag. An important note is that a double end bag has more range of movement, so you’ll need enough room.
  3. Suspend your double end bag. The two points of suspension can make installing a heavy bag tricky. Refer to your user manual.
  4. Take the proper stance. Square up to your double end bag just like you would with a speed bag. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, face the bag, and square up your shoulders.
  5. Strike lightly. Lightly strike your bag. Getting a handle on a double end bag’s movement is tough, and hitting it hard will only make it tougher.

Visual Learning for a Double End Bag

You may be more of a visual learner and you prefer to see techniques instead of reading about them. You may prefer visual instructions if you’re new to the double end bag. Check out this double end bag striking guide for visual instructions:

How Do I Maintain a Speed Bag or Double End Bag?

The maintenance for a speed bag and double end bag is almost identical. The first key point is to keep your bag inflated. Check if your bag needs more air before each use. To clean your punching bag, use a half and half mixture of water and vinegar.

Step By Step Cleaning Procedure

Here is a step by step cleaning guide for a speed bag or double end bag:

  1. Gather supplies. You’ll need vinegar, water, a towel, a bucket or washbasin, and a spray bottle.
  2. Mix vinegar and water. Mix 50% vinegar and 50% water in your washbasin or bucket.
  3. Fill the spray bottle with the cleaning solution. Now that your cleaning solution is mixed, fill your spray bottle with the cleaning solution.
  4. Spray down your punching bag. Give your punching bag a handful of sprays, being careful to catch the entire surface area of the punching bag.
  5. Wipe down your punching bag. Using a towel, wipe the cleaning solution off your punching bag.

Should I Use Hand Protection With a Speed Bag and Double End Bag?

You should use hand protection with a speed bag and double end bag. As you obtain more experience and perfect your form, you can consider removing your hand protection. However, you need to be sure you’re ready before removing any protective equipment in combat sports.

Final Thoughts

I believe the double end bag is a superior piece of boxing equipment to include in your home gym. However, the speed bag will always be an integral piece of boxing training.

Ideally, you’d include both the speed and double end bags in your training regimen. However, if you have to pick one, I’d recommend grabbing a double end bag for most people.

Regardless of which you choose, you’ll have a fantastic piece of boxing equipment. Therefore, don’t stress too much about which to choose; they’re both great tools for any boxer.

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