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The heavy bag is one of the most underutilized areas of training in Muay Thai. Even when it is used in training, most people don’t use it very effectively. You will often see people at the gym casually punching the heavy bag as they are chatting up the person beside them.
If you train at a typical Muay Thai gym there is a good chance that you probably don’t use the heavy bag effectively in your training. This is especially true if you are at big commercial gym that is more focused on a cardio workout, than building technique.
Hitting on the heavy bag will improve all aspects of your game. While you might not see improvements right away, over time you will become more fluid, develop better technique and build better stamina.
5 Benefits of the Heavy Bag Training
Increase Your Endurance
It is no secret that the Thais use the heavy bag to work on their endurance. If you train for a fight in Thailand, you will end each training session with 10 minutes of cardio on the bag. This usually includes doing something like 300 knees and 300 teeps at the end of every session.
Developing good stamina doesn’t happen over night, but with enough time and dedication you can build yourself into a cardio machine. The best way to get better cardio is to start slowly and slowly add more volume over time.
Improve Your Technique
Hitting the heavy bag is the perfect time to work on improving your technique. This is the time when you can work on all of the little things that your coach keeps on telling you to do.
When you are trying to improve your technique it is important to be hyper critical of every move that you make. Ask yourself how is your footwork? Are you turning your hips over when you kick? Put a microscope on your technique and try to pick out things that you need to change.
If you aren’t able to analyze your own technique, video yourself on the bag and show it to your coach. A technical trainer will be able to analyze your technique and give you some useful pointers on what you can do to improve.
Increase Your Power
One of the best ways to increase the power of your punches and kicks is to work on it when you hit the heavy bag. The heavy bag is a great place to work on developing more explosive power from your core.
There are a number of exercises that you can do that will help you build strength to your core and allow you to generate more power into your techniques.
It is no secret that Mike Tyson, one of the hardest hitting punchers of all time, used the heavy bag consistently in every training session.
Work on Combinations
Did you watch a Youtube video of a combination that you want to learn? Start working on it on the heavy bag and drill it until it becomes second nature.
Drilling is the key to learning combinations. Even though you might know how to do a lot of stuff on paper, drilling techniques and combinations on the bag is where you start implementing those techniques into your game.
When drilling combinations try to stick to the basic 3-4 hit combos. Those fancy 6+ punch/kick combinations that some trainers teach, might like good on pads, but they are not effective in the ring.
Improve Your Footwork
One of the biggest mistakes people make when hitting the heavy bag is they don’t work on their footwork. Heavy bag training should try to simulate a real opponent as much as possible. You have to imagine that the heavy bag is your opponent and you have to use your footwork to move around and find better angles to strike him.
Work on circling in and out as the heavy bag swings towards you. Always move around and try to get better angles and continuously treat the bag like a real life opponent.
The heavy bag is a great way to improve your conditioning, technique, footwork, power and combinations. You don’t need to have a coach or training partner around in order to hit it effectively.
Anyone who is looking to take their game to the next level should try to work the heavy bag for at least 15-30 minutes in training. Make sure you work on new techniques, but also drill techniques and combinations that you already know.
The key to getting better on the heavy bag is to work on it through constant practice and drilling. You aren’t going to kick like Buakaw after a few months of training. It takes hard work and dedication to achieve the goals that you want.