The rising popularity of mixed martial arts and other fitness programs incorporating training equipment has increased the demand for a wide variety of bags. It can be difficult for anyone contemplating a change in workout regimens to tell which type of training bag will be right for their needs.
There are five key factors to consider before you make your ultimate purchasing decision of a training bag. These are the weight, filling, bag cover, use for and desired mobility of the bag. Read on for our quick guide to understanding these five factors.
Choosing the right bag weight will go a long way toward maximizing your training. A bag that is too light will not yield the same results as a bag that is the correct weight. On the other hand, a bag that is too heavy can cause injuries to hands, wrists and legs, especially if the person using it is has not yet developed proper striking techniques.
A good rule of thumb when selecting a hanging training bag is to look for one that is roughly half your weight when filled. As your training progresses, you may need to purchase a heavier bag to continue getting the best results.
Freestanding bags have weighted bases, so the same ratio does not apply. It depends rather on how you plan on using the bag. If you’re planning to use your bag for cardio kickboxing, or if the bag will be used by a young martial-artist-in-training, a bag with a ‘lighter’ base (approximately 170 lbs. when filled with water) will suffice. Examples include the Cardio Wavemaster® and Youth Powerline Wavemaster® Jr. If you are a larger person, or you plan on throwing hard kicks, you will likely want a bag with a 270 lb. base like the Wavemaster® 2XL Pro or BOB®.
Century Wavemaster 2XL Pro
Cover and Filling
Most training bags, whether they are freestanding or hanging, will be covered with leather or a durable vinyl shell. Genuine leather lasts a little longer, which is why some bags like the Creed 100 lb. Muay Thai Heavy Bag are made with leather tabs, to lend longevity to the straps used to hang it.
Hanging bags are typically filled with shredded cloth for cushion and bulk with sand dispersed throughout for weight. Freestanding bags offer a slightly different feel. They use a high-density foam, with either a plastic or foam core. Their weight comes from their bases rather than the bags, which can be filled with water or sand.
There are some exceptions, however. BOB® and BOB® XL training dummies are covered with plastisol and have foam bodies. This is because BOB® is designed to feel like a real human for sparring simulation, and the plastisol has a more ‘skin-like’ feel than other bags.
Purpose and Mobility Factors
Some martial arts styles call for training bags with certain features, and, likewise, some bags were designed with a particular martial art in mind. You should also have a good idea of how you’re going to be using your bag before you buy one. For example, a hanging heavy bag like the XL HydroCore Heavy Bag is would be great for someone wanting to improve their kickboxing power, while a bag with handles at the top like the Versys™ VS.1 or VS.3 is ideal for practicing grabbing and knee strikes. A speed bag is good for boxing training but is an inefficient kicking target. And someone who wants to learn Krav Maga, judo, or any other art with throws and groundwork, would get the most benefit out of a grappling dummy like the Versys™ VS.2. Some other bags designed with a specific art or age group in mind include the Taekwondo Wavemaster®, Youth Powerline Wavemaster® Jr. , and Kick Kick® Wavemaster® or Lil’ Dragon® Wavemaster®.
Depending on your living situation, mobility may also be a factor. One of the main benefits to having a freestanding bag is that they can easily be pushed into a corner or storage area when not in use. This can be great for people who don’t have that much free space. There is also no need to drill into a wall or ceiling to install them.
If you are set on getting a hanging bag but want something that won’t require affixing anything to your ceiling or walls, getting a heavy bag stand may be the right option for you. Although not as readily mobile as a freestanding bag, a bag stand can hold any style of hanging bag. Century offers several bag stands capable of holding bags up to 100lbs, including a stand with an attached speedbag platform and the Cornerman, which features six height adjustments and is designed to give you the most striking space.
No matter what you decide, Century Martial Arts has a bag that fits your specifications. Our assortment of training bags includes the Century BOB®, heavy bags, Versys™ bags, Wavemaster® training bags, lifelike grappling dummies and much more. With Century customer service representatives on hand to help you, you’re sure to find the perfect bag for you!