- Want to land knockout punches?
- Want to be a deadly puncher?
- Want to have faster combinations?
Every fighter NEEDS to train on the double-end bag!
But for some reason, it’s only the more advanced fighters that do it.
I’ll tell you why the pros do it and then I’ll tell you HOW to hit the double end bag.
What is the Double-End Bag?
The double-end bag, (also known as the floor-to-ceiling bag, or the “crazy bag” or “crazy ball”), is a small air-filled bag suspended at both ends to the ceiling and floor by a stretchy cord. Double-end bags will vary in size, shape, and rebound elasticity to offer you different types or different levels of punching skill workouts.
You typically have the following kinds of bag training:
Heavy bag – great for developing your power and conditioning. The bag swings around freely allowing you to use your legs as you move with the bag. The heavy bag has its limitations such as being too easy to hit and not giving you anything to react to. This is perhaps why beginners have the most fun on the heavy bag, because it’s easy to hit and feel amazing.
Speed bag – great for developing your rhythm, timing, hand speed, and endurance. It’s a great way to condition your shoulder muscles and arm muscles for throwing many punches without getting tired. The limitations of the speed bag is that it’s quite predictable to hit after a while and doesn’t challenge you to move around or be accurate. You can pretty much use the same motion over and over to hit the bag.
Double-end bag – something in between a heavy bag and a speed-bag depending on how you look at it. It’s similar to a heavy bag in that you can hit it with proper punching technique and also move around the bag. It’s similar to a speed-bag in that it requires rhythm and accuracy to hit.
The benefits of training on the double-end bag
The double-end bag is the perfect tool to develop your punching skills and overall boxing ability! Many experienced fighters love double-end bag training to develop their higher-level boxing skills.
Timing - the double-end bag isn’t just stationary like the heavy bag, it moves back and forth quickly (more realistic of an opponent’s head) making it more challenging to hit. Not only do you have to hit the bag but you have to hit it at the right time to make your punch effective.
Accuracy - the double-end bag is a smaller target that moves around a lot requiring you to use your eyes and be more accurate. It isn’t like the heavy bag which lays there waiting for you to hit it and making it easy for you to hit. The double-end bag will raise your accuracy especially if you can hit it with multiple punches in a row.
Rhythm – the double-end bag moves constantly back and forth requiring you to build up a rhythm in your punches instead of only throwing punches at awkward moments. Developing this rhythm in your body makes your fighting more effective and energy efficient in the ring.
Reflexes - This is what I love about the double-end bag so much. It forces you to use your eyes and be 100% aware of the double-end bag. It develops fast eyes and fast reflexes unlike the heavy bag which allows you to be land punches even when you’re lazy and mentally only half-awake. Skilled opponents move more like double-end bags than heavy bags.
Hand speed – the double-end bag moves quickly requiring you to use fast punches all the time in order to hit it. This is an important workout because many fighters get used to throwing slow punches on a stationary heavy bag and end up being too slow in a real fight to land punches.
Endurance – the double-end bag doesn’t bounce your hand back at you like the heavy bag, which means you’ll have to use more muscle to retract your arm, especially when you miss punches.
Power – punching power is not the same as punching skills. Good technique and conditioning can make you a more powerful puncher but you need punching skills (timing & accuracy) to actually transfer the power to your opponent. This is why many high-level fighters use the double-end bag. The heavy bag is also not so important for older fighters because their hands are worn down over the years. They rely on their punching skills rather than brute strength anyways.
The double-end bag develops your
timing, accuracy, rhythm, hand speed, endurance, and power.
Different kinds of double-end bags
Recommended double-end bag setup for beginners:
- a single ball or pea shape (not a double-ball or peanut shape)
- not larger than 10″ in diameter
- positioned around shoulder height
- cords are elastic enough to make the double-end bag bounce back 2-4 feet when you hit it
- wear lighter gloves 12oz to 14oz
But if you have no choice, that’s fine too—use whatever your gym has.
Different variables in double-end bag setup:
- size (accuracy) – obviously a smaller ball will move faster and be harder to hit.
- shape (accuracy/punch-angles) – the shape of the double-end can force you to be more accurate with your punches. The shape can also allow for more punching angles. Some double-end bag shapes (pea shape) only allow straight punches and hooks whereas other shapes (ball shape) make it a little easier to hit with an uppercut. This isn’t a big deal because this training is mainly for timing, accuracy, and speed, not actual punching technique.
- 1-ball vs 2-ball shapes (head vs body punches) – some bags come with an “upper and lower” ball for you to practice your head and body punches. If you only have a single ball shape, you can still practice your body punches by hitting the cord
- cord elasticity (punching/defending rhythm) – this is probably the biggest variation. No gym will ever have the exact same cord elasticity and so every double-end bag setup will force you to train at a different rhythm. Generally speaking, using tight cords will keep the bag from moving too much. The bag will wiggle very quickly and force you to throw faster (and perhaps smaller) punches. Using very loose cords allows the bag to move all over the place making it more challenging to be accurate but at the same time, easier to time because you have more distance to aim your punches. A bag with very loose cords can also force you to slip because the bag will swing back enough to hit you. It’s not uncommon to see gyms with both a “tight double-end bag” as well as a “loose double-end bag”.
Double-end bags varying in size, shape, and cord elasticity
offer you different types of of punching skill workouts.
How to Hit the Double End Bag
Watch my video to see how I hit the double-end bag!
1. Start with small combinations (LLR or RRL)
Use small quick combinations
This is crucial but I see so many beginners doing it wrong. Don’t hit the bag so hard that it flies far away. This makes it hard for you to land a combo and impossible to get a steady rhythm going. Use small punches that don’t make the bag go back any further than 6 to 12 inches. It’s easier for you to control this way and develop quick fluid combinations. Start with combinations, rather than single power shots!
The double-end bag is more like a speed bag than a heavy bag.
Hit it with consistency, not power.
Hit with a LEFT-LEFT-RIGHT or RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT rhythm
This is one of those things that changed my life but nobody ever taught me. Nobody that is, until Pepper Roach (Freddie Roach’s brother) came over and told me how to do it. It’s a great starting rhythm and will teach beginners how to understand the punching rhythm in boxing.
The reason why you use a left-left-RIGHT or right-right-LEFT rhythm is so that it teaches you how to chain big shots after small shots without breaking your rhythm. The first two punches are to help you find your opponent (the bag) which then sets him up for your final finishing “power shot”. The problem with beginners is that they’re always coming in with a power-punching mindset and trying to hit with a left-right-left-right rhythm which then becomes a slow rhythm without first setting up the “opponent”.
Again, throw 2 quick tapping shots with one hand, and then finish with a power shot on the other hand. (When I say “power”, I just mean like 50% power or even less….don’t hit it with everything you have or you’ll lose control and break your rhythm again.)
Double-end bag rhythm for beginners:
left-left-RIGHT or right-right-LEFT
Throw any punch you want
The double-end bag is about rhythm, timing, and accuracy more so than technique and strategy. This means you can throw any kind of punch you want and relax a bit. Sure, you can mimic realistic combinations like always start with the jab but I find double-end bag training to be more effective (and creative) when you start throwing experimental combinations.
For example if I use the LEFT-LEFT-RIGHT combination, I’m experimenting with all kinds of punches:
Likewise if I use the RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT combination:
- etc, you get the point
Free your hands (free your mind), stand square if you like, break from your “perfect boxing stance” and loosen up your shoulders. Start developing a rhythm from all angles and with all punches.
2. Keep throwing (DON’T WAIT)
Do not wait for the bag
This is another one of those things every beginner does. They can’t hit the bag (maybe because they hit it too hard in the first place) and so they wait for it to stop moving before they hit it again. If you wait for the bag to stop, you’re defeating the point of double-end bag training–which is to build timing, rhythm, and accuracy. Generally speaking, you should throw the next combo 2-3 seconds after the previous combo.
Don’t wait for the double-end bag to slow down
before you throw the next combination.
Rely on the LLR or RRL rhythm
Again, this is where the LLR/RRL rhythm comes in handy. Let’s say the bag is moving too much and you can’t see it, let alone even hit the bag…the worst thing to do is to throw LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT rhythm because you will miss.
The smart thing is to throw a bunch of quick little punches from the same hand to help you control and “find” the bag which then sets up the real punch from the other hand. For example: if you throw multiple lefts, you will see that it’s easier to hit the bag, and even if you miss, the bag will come to one side of your hand…which then makes it easy for you to guess where to throw the right.
The LEFT-LEFT-RIGHT or RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT rhythm
helps you hit a moving target.
Mix up your combos
Throw a LLR, then RRL, then LLR, maybe LLR again, maybe LLLLLR (because the bag was moving too much), then RRL, another RRL, RRRRRRL. Whatever you like. Use the base rhythm and then mix up your punches. Once you get the hang of hitting this crazy ball, you can break from the standard LLR/RRL rhythm and throw your typical combinations that you use on the heavy bag.
3. Move around in between combinations
Take one step after every combination
This was something one of my coaches stressed. Always take a step after every combination. It can be a step in any direction. It can be a linear step or a pivot. It can be big or small (preferably just a few inches) as long as you develop a rhythm of always being able to hit and move. Even if you throw a combination and shift one foot just slightly that will do you plenty good later in the ring.
After a while, you’ll be able to move your feet more often without feeling like you’re punching with lifted feet. For example, I’ll take small steps with my left hands, then throw a harder right hand, step over to one side, then come back with another combination. Other times, I’ll stay in place and use the [boxer's bounce] with every punch. You should watch my video above to see how I punch and move at the same time.
Train on the double-end bag with a partner
One of the best ideas is to train on the bag with a partner. Take turns hitting the double-end bag so that when one guy finishes, the other starts immediately. This way, both of you will be forcing each other to raise the pace and always stay ready to punch. It’s a great way to push each to be faster, more aggressive, and more accurate. (Completely new beginners can also practice this drill on the heavy bag.)
Then, if you can, take steps while the other guy is punching. So when your partner is punching, you move (just 1 or 2 steps). Then when you punch, your partner is moving. You can quickly develop your hit-and-move skills very quickly this way. Again, don’t focus on power, focus on rhythm, timing, and accuracy!
Train on the double-end bag with a partner
to push each other to react faster.
The Ultimate Goal of Double-end Bag Training
Technique and conditioning gives you power.
Timing and accuracy allows you to use that power.
Throwing power punches is easy. (TECHNIQUE)
Landing power punches on a moving target is hard. (SKILLS)
Training on the double-end bag took my boxing skills and punching skills to a whole other level. I’m faster, sharper, more energy efficient. I know how to time my punches and I can throw quick snapping punches that land at the perfect time to do the most damage. I’m not just a better puncher but I’m also able to move better because I have more rhythm in my body (developed from skipping rope and double-end bag training).
There’s really no substitute for the double-end bag. And no, the reflex bag is terrible. I really don’t like that bag at all, it seems similar to the double-end bag but it feels so different. There’s a reason why the pros and higher skilled boxers rely on the double-end bag!
The next time you find yourself waiting for the heavy bag at the gym, go over to the double-end bag instead which is probably not being used. It might be humiliating at first because you can’t apply any of your macho strength to it but give it some time. Learn to relax and get a rhythm going and you’ll notice your punching skills improving faster than ever.
Training on the double-end bag has now become one of my many “resting exercises”. I’m always bouncing and hitting the double-end bag even when I’m talking to people at the gym or watching others spar. It’s a crucial piece of boxing equipment and you’d be cheating yourself by skipping it.
- Double End Bag Drills