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.



Scott said...

Cool. I used to have a heavy punching bag filled with coarse sand, but it was pretty solid (bleeding knuckles were a regular thing). The carpet sounds good.

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