Thursday, May 24, 2007

150-Pound Punching Bag DIY Instructions Now Available

I'm a little slow getting these around, but the instructions for building your own

150-pound heavy punching bag are now available.

I've written them up with a lot of detail and put them in an ebook that includes photos,

diagrams and even a short video to help you with one part that's particularly


The ebook and video are absolutely free, but the files are really huge so I didn't want

to put them right in the blog -- OK, I also wanted a way to know who all is really

reading this blog. Just put your name--I don't care whether it's real or made up--and

your email address in the form below and hit "send".

Although the confirmation message will indicate you're subscribing to something, you

really aren't--I just need a place to send your ebook.

id="GRSubscribeForm" accept-charset="UTF-8">


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Monday, May 21, 2007

Warrior Style Weight Loss

In my own training right now I'm backing off the strength training just a bit and putting some effort toward deflating my spare tire.

Now, I'm not normally real concerned with keeping my midsection real trim, when I realized that I was beginning to outgrow the pants that I bought because I had outgrown the previous set of pants, I decided it was time to do a little maintenance.

I'm really big into the warrior mentality and I hate aerobics, stair-steppers, treadmills and Fit-TV (though I do watch a program from time to time for a good laugh.). Tae-bo might be alright if it wasn't set to sissy pop music. That said, I thought my fellow warriors out there might like to know some of my tactics for eliminating the enemy at my waistline.

Here are the main components:
1. Get disciplined about food--Discipline is essential to the warrior's success. Starve your enemy out by controlling the supply line--don't take in more food and calories than you need each day.

2. Morning walk every day--I stumbled on this pretty much by accident, though it fit some theories I've known about. I started walking as a means of spiritual discipline. AFter dropping off the kids at school, I go for a walk to pray and think before starting my day. I only go a mile or two, which only burns about 100 to 200 calories, but it boosts my metabolism for most of the day until I can get to my main workout.

3. Kettlebells --Three days a week, baby! Right now I'm diong the “> Enter the Kettlebell program, which includes clean & press ladders, snatches and swings. Kettlebells burn lots of calories while conditioning the body for combat situations.

4. Minimize strength training--With the high calorie burn going on, it's difficult to add much muscle, so I do just enough strength training that I don't lose what I've gained over the last year. That amounts to barbell training one day a week and odd-object lifting (stones, barrells, pipes, sand bags) once a week.

5. Heavy bag work--After training with barbells, I do 30 to 45 minutes of punching and kicking on my heavy bag. I work various drills and combinations and try to keep my heart rate up around 150-160 and push it to 180-185 two or three times during the workout. If the weather is good, I use my homemade 150-pound bag outside. (Detailed instructions for making your own will get posted later this week).

6. Jumproping & sprinting--After my mid-week kettlebell workout, I do 20-30 minutes of alternating jumproping with spriting (100 rope jumps, two sprints up and down the alley, couple minutes of rest; repeat 4 to 6 times).

Schedule works like this:

Monday-light kettlebells: 5 clean & press ladders up to 3 reps per side, 10 minutes of snatches at a comfortable pace

Tuesday-Barbells (Deadlifts, bench press, squats) and heavy bag work

Wednesday- moderate kettlebells: 5 clean & press ladders up to 4 reps per side, 10 minutes of snatches and swings at a challenging pace

Thursday-odd-object lifting

Friday- off

Saturday- Heavy kettlebells: 5 clean & press ladders up to 5 reps per side, 10 minutes of swings doing as many as I possibly can in that time (175 this weekend).


Of course, 5 kids and a business to run get me off schedule from time to time, but I pretty much stick to this.

Stay strong, stay fit

John Fike

Friday, May 4, 2007

Homemade Heavy Bag is Like Hitting a Real Opponent

In my basement I have a 70-pound Everlast heavy punching bag. The only problem with it is that when I hit it, it doesn't feel all that heavy. It swings all over the place--especially when I kick it. Now that's not so bad for practicing timing and mobility, but it doesn't condition me for hitting a live human being. Let's face it, the point of self-defense and martial arts is to be able to defend against another person, so you have to train to do that and most adults weight a lot more than 70 pounds.

For a couple years now I've had some ideas about how to build a heavier punching bag. A couple weeks ago, I finally put those plans into action. The end result is a 150-pound heavy bag that does a wonderful job of conditioning joints, bones and muscle to endure the impact of hitting a real person. As you can see from the vido below, the bag barely moves when I hit it! It's also tall enough that I can practice hitting any location on an opponent from knees to head--my 70-pound bag barely lets me get a groin shot in if I hang it high enough for head strikes.

Check it out:

If you want to try building one of thse for yourself, I basically took two bags of tube sand and wrapped them in carpet and carpet padding. Then covered it in 3 mil plastic to resis moisture and finished it off with a layer of duct tape. The carpet is in two layers; the first layer has the soft pile facing the sand bags to minimize abrasion that might tear the bags, the second layer faces outward to give more cushioning to the hands when striking the bag. Between the two layers of carpet is where I wrapped the rope for hanging the bag. The rope is covered with duct tape to keep the carpet backing from fraying it. Tube sand was out of season at local stores when I finally got around to building this, so I made my own from heavy-duty 3 mil plastic garbage bags (box of 12 for about $8) and duct tape. In all, I used 120 yards of duct tape.

First time I used this heavy bag I didn't wear wrist wraps and it didn't take long before I had to switch to kicks to give my wrists a break. I won't make that mistake again in the near future. You can make your bag more wrist friendly by using more carpet padding than I did. It might also work to include a couple layers of bubble wrap between the carpet and carpet padding.

Good luck with yours, more detailed instructions will be available soon.

Stay strong, stay fit.