Recently, a friend of mine asked me for some tips on starting to use a punching bag. As someone who has done many things wrong while punching a heavy bag and learned from those mistakes, I can provide 3 quick tips based on that experience.
- Wrap your hands for a while. Maybe for always. Eventually, your hands probably will toughen up a bit from regular use. But it’s still probably safer to keep them wrapped to avoid blood blisters (I learned this the hard way), and it should help a bit to cushion against broken fingers and other problems. These days I usually punch a heavy bag with minimal covering or without any hand covering, but I don’t recommend it as the way to start. Also, using a punching bag too often can cause problems from the repeated impact, and those are more severe without wrapping around the hands.
- Clench your fist tightly, but not quite so hard that it’s perfectly immobile, because you don’t want your fist to absorb the full force of the impact if it’s unable to adjust to an uneven surface. Also, keep your thumb outside your fist and below the first two knuckles to avoid breaking it. Your wrist should be held in perfect alignment with your fist to avoid spraining your wrist when you strike the bag (or any other surface). Strike so that you hit the bag primarily with the knuckles of your index and middle finger because they’re less likely to break.
- Don’t punch as if your target were the surface of the bag in front of you. For best results, punch as if you were hitting a target on the other side of the bag and put your weight into it. This way of punching through a target is how you would punch an actual assailant if you wanted to be effective, and so you should train to that. Don’t stop at punching, though. You can use elbows and knees to strike the bag. They don’t need quite as much padding, but when you’re first starting out, a little padding may be necessary depending on how calloused you are in those areas.
Kicking the bag is a slightly different process, and I may write a few tips on that later. I hope this was a helpful brief guide. Until next time!