Balazs Boxing Newsletter - December 2002
The Perfect Workout: The Heavy Bag
A punching session on a heavy bag is a perfect workout routine. Why? This one exercise combines three key elements of fitness success: 1) high intensity aerobic activity 2) resistance strength training and 3) motivation.

High intensity aerobic conditioning. A routine on the heavy bag requires non-stop movement for the whole body. Constant footwork and combinations along with ducking and weaving keep your legs and torso in motion. Like skipping rope or running, this all-body activity really elevates the heart rate. If that wasn’t enough, throwing up to 30 punches per minute should push your anaerobic limit! Punching on it’s own is a full-body exercise. Proper technique requires use of the muscles in the arm, shoulder, back, stomach, buttock and legs. If you’ve never tried this before, start out with a routine consisting of rest and workout intervals of one-minute each.

Aerobic boxing videotapes and classes typically include all of the above without actually hitting targets of any sort. Adding a bag to offer resistance greatly increases the intensity and benefits of this activity—making it perfect.

Resistance training. Targeting a 50, 70 or 100 lb heavy punching bag in your workout can provide exponential results. The reason? As Newton told us, bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, and bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Sending a punch through the air requires only energy to move the hand and arm and body, but throwing a punch into a heavy bag that resists movement requires significantly more energy. It is this resistance that leads to muscle growth, just like weightlifting. Increased resistance requires greater strength and energy. Lifting weights creates slow, bulky muscles but punching a heavy bag develops muscles that are quick, strong and lean. If the thought of achieving physical gains like this isn’t enough to keep you coming back, the mental benefits are sure to get you juiced!

Motivation. Let the heavy bag be the canvas for the expression of your frustration, energy and power! Release the stress of the day. Still frustrated? Punch harder. Feeling good? Get you feet shuffling faster. With your favorite song in your head, create rhythm and music with your routines. Each session you choose a new reason to get into the shape you want. And it takes only 30 minutes—ten minutes to warm up, jump rope, shadow box; next, hit the bag for three rounds (three minutes of exercise, followed by one minute rest), then cool down for ten minutes with shadow boxing, stretching, sit ups and push ups.

Stop wasting time thinking of another exercise that can compete—get yourself a heavy bag today! You’ll feel great, de-stressed and ready for whatever the world throws at you!

Find more on boxing workout routines through books and videos found here!

Decisions, Decisions...
Choosing the right Heavy Bag
The right equipment makes any job easier and more fun. Choosing the right heavy bag will allow you to workout worry free and achieve maximum results. Use the following guidelines and the chart below to choose the right bag for you.
WEIGHT:
Rule of Thumb: Choose a heavy bag that weighs 50% of your body weight.
Exceptions: If you are “in-shape,” add another 25%-100% to the weight of the bag.
If you are totally out of shape: Subtract 25% from the weight of the bag.
BAG COVER MATERIAL:
Rule of Thumb: Choose the most durable cover material your budget can support.
BAG FILLER:
Rule of Thumb: Choose filler based on your physical needs. Bags filled with rag material are the most common style of bag. Water filled bags using rubber bladders and foam lining are less jarring on fists, wrists, elbows and shoulders.
 
Heavy Bag Selector Chart
Click the image to view a comprehensive chart
 
CHECK OUT THE HEAVY BAGS AVAILABLE AT http://www.boxingsource.com/gear/equipment/bags.htm
4 Safety Checks You Should Perform on a Weekly Basis!
A safe, effective workout begins with safe equipment. Take 30 seconds before each workout to make sure your equipment won’t be the thing knocking you out of competition!

1) Check your gloves for ripped seams, torn leather, or brittle areas.
2) Check the hook-and-loop strap or laces on your gloves to ensure they are secure and will not rip or loosen during use.
3) Squeeze the foam padding in the fist part of your gloves to check for softness. The foam should have the same firmness everywhere. If the firmness is irregular, replace the gloves as soon as possible and refrain from using them in sparring. Boxing gloves take a lot of abuse and they don’t last forever. Replace your gloves regularly (more on this below) to avoid potential for injury.
4) Check your heavy bag chain, s-hooks, swivel and spring, for wear, thinning metal or signs of wear. If there are any signs of thinning metal or significant wear, replace the worn parts immediately.

Here is some advice from former boxer and fitness trainer, Andy Dumas...
“Using running shoes as a comparison, as soon as your shoes are not giving heel and mid-foot support, the bottom tread is worn down or the cushioning foam is compressed, then it is time to purchase new shoes, about every 500 to 700 miles.

So how can we apply this to boxing gloves? A visual check of the actual leather: any areas that are extremely worn down? any tears in the leather? I’d say the biggest factor is the cushioning foam. Once the foam starts to wear down it is time to replace them—especially if they are used for sparring.

Assuming the gloves are used by only one boxer, and you are working out with them three times a week, I would suggest replacing them at least every two years, if not sooner.”

Visit www.BoxingSource.com to update your outdated or worn gear and find replacement parts!

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