If you’re a boxer, you must have struggled with choosing between a speed and a heavy bag for your practices. They are both fun to hit, and you’ve probably used one or both in your boxing gym before. However, each one serves a different role, so you’ll have to pick the one that works best for you.

Choosing between a speed and a heavy bag depends on what you want to achieve from your workout. A heavy bag will do if you’re looking to increase punching power and develop stamina. However, if you’re looking to improve coordination and speed, a speed bag would be your best bet.

If you want to get either of the two for your home, you’ll also need to consider some other factors. Some of the most crucial ones include the available space and the level of noise the bag will produce. Let’s get down to it and learn more about speed bags vs. heavy bags.

Do Speed Bags and Heavy Bags Serve the Same Purpose?

Speed and heavy bags don’t serve the same training purpose, although people use both during boxing workout sessions. Overall, training with the heavy bag helps fighters become more muscled, while the speed bag improves accuracy and speed.

Below are some pros and cons of using each bag. These are important to consider when making your purchase, especially if it’s your first time using either of them.

The Speed Bag 

Pros 

  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Increases arm endurance
  • It defines the shoulders
  • Increases hand speed

Cons

  • The speed bag does not simulate a real fight.
  • Drains energy faster, which is not ideal to start with if you’re planning multiple other exercises.

The Heavy Bag

Pros

  • You can train by throwing any hand combination at a heavy bag
  • It helps you focus on your footwork
  • Can provide a HIIT workout
  • Fighters can work at different tempos
  • Provides a full-body workout
  • You don’t need a partner
  • Increases punching power

Cons

  • Can cultivate bad habits such as keeping the hands too low when boxing 

How Is the Speed Bag Different From the Heavy Bag?

Speed bags are lighter and great for improving speed and coordination. Meanwhile, heavy bags help you focus on footwork and improve punching power. Both the speed and heavy bags provide great workout experiences.

Depending on your training goal, you’ll get more out of one than the other because they have different strong points. 

The most important thing is to establish your intended targets, then work your way up from there. Whether you’re a veteran or a beginner, they are both great cardio options.

Here is a breakdown of the speed bag vs the heavy bag.

The Speed Bag

This punching bag is great if you are trying to coordinate your right and left throws. When you train using a speed bag, you’ll undoubtedly get an excellent triceps pump 

Additionally, it helps in toning and strengthening your shoulders and arms. It is the go-to bag for fighters looking to improve their timing, accuracy, and speed. It is also easier on your hands because it is softer and involves less impact than its counterpart.

Having said so, I can confidently say this: the speed bag is a better contender if you want to achieve more accurate punches at a higher speed.

Speed bags require more skill, which is why learning to use them might take longer. You’ll need focus, timing, and rhythm when speed bag training.

As a consolation, training with a heavy bag is more strenuous. That is because you will be striking the bag harder and incorporating more foot movements when the bag is swinging. 

When to Choose a Speed Bag

Training on this bag is great if you’re interested in martial arts or boxing. The reason is that these sports require speed, timing, accuracy, and balance. Continually using the speed bag will cultivate these four critical skills. 

If you have never trained using one before, start by concentrating on hitting one specific spot at even intervals. Once you have the rhythm, it’s only a matter of time before your speed improves.

You’ll get a good shoulder and arm workout with this option, particularly for your front deltoids and triceps. Training using a speed bag is fast, meaning that you’ll have to put your arms in a ‘guard’ position quickly. This makes a great exercise for your trapezius. Your triceps deliver the power, and your biceps provide speed by quickly retracting your striking hand for the next punch.

After a few sessions, expect your accuracy to increase significantly, especially with your non-dominant hand. It is no secret that you need a high-quality speed bag for the best training. I would recommend the Cleto Reyes speed bag, available on Amazon. Its small size and leather exterior make it ideal for improving your speed and coordination. 

The Heavy Bag 

Training with a heavy bag is an excellent decision to make. However, you shouldn’t do so intending to be better at the speed bag. That is because the designers of a heavy bag shape it for slower, power-focused training, unlike its counterpart. However, it offers you several things that a speed bag doesn’t. 

For starters, you can hit the bag harder. Since you’ll be punching almost at a maximum force, you will be moving the entire bag’s weight with your fists. The sizes of heavy bags differ—you could be hitting anything from 50 to 100 lbs (22.67 to 45.35 kg). 

A heavy bag also allows for more movement than a speed bag. Because of the swing of the bag, you’ll have to step back and forth to hit it. The punches you throw will also involve your core significantly more than when using a speed bag. 

You can also use the heavy bag to boost your punching power. It provides some resistance workout, which stimulates muscle growth. When you are just starting your training, you might experience some soreness.

When to Choose a Heavy Bag

When you do this workout correctly, it is similar to combined jogging and weight lifting. A workout involving a heavy bag will help you burn many more calories than a speed bag. 

You will burn about 200 more calories per hour. That’s because more muscles are involved: your triceps, shoulders, biceps, glutes, hips, and hamstrings.

This option is perfect for people looking for a cardio workout for fat loss. I can confidently recommend the Outslayer filled punching bag 100 lbs (45.35 kg). It’s perfect for those looking to burn those stubborn calories and achieve heavy, steady punches! 

Should You Do Both Heavy Bag and Speed Bag Training?

It’s best to do both heavy bag and speed bag training as they complement each other well. The heavy bag increases the power behind each of your throws and provides a great workout. The speed bag increases your coordination and speed.

Whichever you choose, your punching weaknesses will still be evident. If you only train with a heavy bag, you’ll have less coordination with your non-dominant hand.

Even after your left punch becomes powerful, you still won’t hit as hard with your right hand because of less accuracy. Your imbalance will get worse and become more glaring. If you attempt to throw a powerful punch and it lands wrongly, you could end up hurting your wrist or hand. 

This is where you’d choose the speed bag. It will force your left and right punches to even out. Since training using a speed bag requires more accuracy and focus, your punches will improve over time.

Why You Should Get a Speed Bag

The speed bag is crucial if you intend to become a great boxer. It provides fighters with many benefits once they master how to train with it.

Improved Coordination 

Coordination between the eyes and hands is crucial to the sport. As a boxer, you have to observe your opponent’s movements and, at the same time, land punches on them. That is vital for success.

The only way to achieve this is by successfully coordinating your hands and eyes. Training on the speed bag will increase your hand-eye coordination so that they can work in unison into the future.

Increased Hand Speed

As soon as you master speed bag training, you’ll be able to punch with precision and speed. A speed bag will allow you to reach your potential speed and continue increasing it. Higher speed means a better chance at landing punches and faster retreats.

Increased Arm Endurance

When working the heavy bag, you’ll usually need small breaks between the hits to recover actively. However, with speed bags, you’re constantly in action, causing lactic acid to accumulate in your shoulders and arms.

When you keep hitting the bag despite the discomfort you’ll experience, you’ll be training your arms to have more endurance. This will allow you to be fast even when you get tired in a fight or in sparring. Increased arm endurance is vital in improving your boxing skills. 

Defined Shoulders

Speed bag training is very intense on the shoulders. This helps to build muscular, lean muscle full of twitch fibers.

Speed bags will leave you ready to throw fast punches with precision. Boxing is also generally good for building solid shoulder muscles.

Why You Should Get the Heavy Bag 

There are numerous reasons to train using the heavy bag. Let’s go over some of them.

You Can Throw Different Combinations 

Training with a heavy bag enables you to sharpen your offensive skills by throwing every type of combination you want. If you just learned a new combo from your coach or thought of one yourself, try it on this bag. This makes heavy bags a bit more versatile than speed bags.

Improved Footwork

A heavy bag is just a resting target that you can fight. You can therefore box and move it around to improve your footwork. Mastering footwork is crucial for a good offense. You can use your feet to draw angles to help you land effective punches. It’s a good idea to learn to pivot your lead hook and follow that up with punches.

Increased Punching Power

Working heavy hits on the bag is a great way to boost your punching power. You can hit it with full strength repeatedly as a way of training your arms to throw more powerful punches. Overall, routine strength training will increase your punching power. 

Great HIIT Workouts

A HIIT workout refers to getting fast, intense training and slower aerobics in the same exercise round. For instance, you can throw fast straight punches for 1 minute and move to 1 minute of slow hooks. This is also a great way to burn fat.

You Don’t Need a Training Partner

Perhaps the best part of working on a heavy bag is that you can train with it whenever you want. You don’t need to wait for someone to hold your pads or for class to start. It means that it is possible to have a complete workout session without considering your partner. You’ll still get a good workout even when you miss class or do it from home.

Offers a Variety of Tempos 

You can use your heavy bag for slow aerobic workouts or fast high-tempo anaerobic ones. You could also easily switch from one tempo to the other and still get quality exercise. In a way, heavy bags offer a more versatile experience.

How Often Should You Train for Boxing? 

You can train for boxing as often as you like. 2-3 times each week is an excellent place to start, dedicating 20 minutes to the heavy bag or speed bag.

Remember that you will probably need some recovery time in-between when training with the heavy bag. Ultimately, your preference will determine the time you dedicate to training. 

Final Thoughts

There is nothing nearly as satisfying as training on bags to stay fit and on top of your game. 

Speed bags and heavy bags have several differences. However, they both work together to hone your boxing and fighting skills. The heavy bag is crucial for your overall boxing technique, while the speed bag sharpens your skill. 

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