How to Hit a Speed Bag

July 8, 2011 July 8, 2011 by Johnny N Bag Training, Boxing Training 53 Comments

How to hit a speed bag

If you’re like me, you may have gotten along just fine without the speed bag. My excuse was because I was always in a busy gym and didn’t like waiting my turn to use the speed bag. My REAL excuse was that I didn’t really know how and my trainer never bothered to teach me. It was embarassing to admit that I trained for a year before ever learning how to hit it.

Lucky for you, I eventually did figure out how to hit the speedbag and I even figured out an easy way to help any beginner learn how to hit the speed bag. This is the EASIEST way to learn how to hit the speed bag. Great for beginners or anyone to use one of boxing’s most useful piece of training equipment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any natural rhythm, coordination, or just suck at hitting moving targets. As long as you follow these tips, I promise you WILL be able to hit the speed bag!

Excited? Probably not, but anyways let’s give it a shot…

Learning How to Hit a Speed Bag


Here’s a video I made to help you learn faster.

 

Speed Bag Rhythm

The first step to hitting the speed is knowing the rhythm. Just know that the speed bag will rebound 3 times for every hit. So if it you hit it once, it will go FORWARD-BACK-FORWARD, and then come at you to be hit again. *HIT!*, wait 3 bounces, *HIT!*, wait 3 bounces, repeat for an entire round.

 

Tips to Hit the Speed Bag

1. Open your hands

Don’t make a fist. Don’t hit with your knuckles, at least not for beginners. Beginners hitting with their knuckles will quickly lose control and end up hitting the bag too hard or too fast. Hitting with the fingers will help beginners slow down the pace and get use to the rhythm. This is probably my best discovery for helping others learn how to hit the speed bag.

2. Hold both hands close to the bag

Keep your hands close to the bag. Keeping your hands close will allow you to hit the bag without having to race your hands to it. If you let your hands get too far from the bag, you’ll end up moving it too fast to hit the bag which makes you hit the bag too hard. Keep your hands close! When one hand is hitting, the other hand should be waiting right under the bag.

3. Hit in small circles

Your hand should travel in make small circles in the air when you hit the speed bag. You’re not swinging your fists back and forth, you are making small circles in the air. You can even practice making small circles in the air to get use to the motion before trying it on the speed bag. Just remember to make circles.

4. RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT-LEFT rhythm

The best rhythm for beginners is to go right-right-left-left. This means hitting twice with your right hand, then twice with your left hand, and repeat. On the first hit, you use the front of your fist. On the second hit, you use the bottom of your fist. It should feel like a natural setup for when you switch to the other hand.

Some trainers will recommend going 3 times for each hand. It’s up to you.

5. Stand square

You are not in your boxing stance. You should be standing square in front of the bag with both feet at equal distance from the speed bag. Stand a little closer than arm’s length from the bag. You can move closer or farther until it feels comfortable. Your eye should be level with the bottom of the speed bag, but a little lower or higher would also be ok.

 

Working the Speed Bag

I am pretty confident anyone can learn how to hit the speed bag in 10 minutes or less using the tips I put above. Once you get the hang of hitting the bag with your hands open, try closing your hands and hitting it with your fist. You will use the same right-right-left-left rhythm, but with a slight difference. This time you will hit with the front of your fist on the first hit, and then the bottom of your fist on the next hit. So it should go right-forward, right-down, left-forward, left-down. The speed bag is a great (fun) workout, improves your punch endurance, timing, speed, and accuracy. Nobody should be missing out on this!

Try teaching everyone this method and let me know how it works. I never let anyone tell me they can’t hit the speed bag.

Have fun and look up youtube videos to see more creative ways to hit the speed bag. It’s a fun and useful exercise for boxing.

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53 Comments

Gonzo July 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm

double end bag
Would you please show us the proper way to hit a double end bag?

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Johnny N July 9, 2011 at 5:55 am

@Gonzo – yes, will do in a future post.

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sam January 28, 2012 at 12:03 am

hi i was wondering what size that speed bag is. plz respond. thanks.

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Johnny N January 28, 2012 at 12:32 am

Sam, that speed bag is a small one. I don’t know what size but it’s as small as I’ve ever seen one.

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KievPapa July 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

Thank you
Thank you for great tips, advises and videos! After stumbling to this site by accident, it has honestly became one of my most visited sites to mine for all the information I can get for the Sweet Science. It is truly a great resource for those of us who are forced to train just a few hours a week with sub-par trainers/partners. Keep up the good work!

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Johnny N July 11, 2011 at 7:05 am

@KievPapa – thank you!

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Pete July 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

AWESOME AWESOME work. Just got the new e-mail, everything is great

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seve July 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Keep up the good work ,I teach some of the stuf you teach -your a better a teacher -thanks

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Amit July 12, 2011 at 3:17 am

Thanks a lot
Again Thanks a lot sir. I tried it and its working so well….. I could continue for all 3 minutes rounds without breaks with the help of your technique…..

Amit

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Johnny N July 13, 2011 at 6:18 am

Thanks, everyone. Try teaching all your friends to learn the speed bag and let me know how it goes!

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Adrian July 13, 2011 at 7:17 am

what about the proper size and air in the speed bag should be used for best performance. I have the everlast up to 4lbs pressure dont really like it to much

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Johnny N July 14, 2011 at 3:29 am

@Adrian – errr… I don’t know what the right air pressure should be. It shouldn’t be too hard or too fast. If you’re a fast hitter, you might like a little more air.

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Shahin August 12, 2011 at 1:18 am

Brilliant tip, thanks Coach!!

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vibha October 18, 2011 at 2:50 am

can u please tell me wat kind of a speed bag 2 take and da kind of swivel 2 take

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Johnny N October 18, 2011 at 5:09 am

Any namebrand speedbag and nice swivel that cost more than $10 should work fine. If you’re need something better, by the more expensive stuff. Titleboxing has a pretty good selection.

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Gil November 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

Johnny,

Thanks for the tips. I haven’t hit a speed bag in about 16 years and I’m a bit “rusty”.

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Johnny N November 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

16 years is a long time, Gil. I can’t go 2 weeks without getting rusty.

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Eric February 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hitting the speed bag is definitely not as hard as it looks and can be learned in a relatively short period of time. I really don’t think it is all that valuable in becoming extremely proficient in it as long as the fighter keeps his hands held high while hitting the bag. I think besides developing some hand and eye coordination, the main purpose of the speed bag is to develop muscular endurance in the shoulders and arms while teaching the fighter to keep his hands held high.

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J March 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

can speed bags also improve reflexes? thats what it seems for me

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Johnny N March 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm

It might help but not really in my opinion.

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j March 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Following the sound doesn’t work so well for me i just swing when the ball bounces back and i meet the ball half way

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Steve B April 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Hi Johnny N,

Thanks for posting this. Ive got a bit of an embaressing story about this subject!
I started boxing when i was about 7 and when i joined the Army i went on to become a pretty decent boxer. Not great but i am better than average. I love all boxing stories and enjoy the movies and real life drama you get from the stage when it’s fight night.

So with years of experience it’s sad to admit that until about a week ago i have never even touched a speed ball for more than 2-3 minutes as there was never one is the gyms we used! But if ther was one in another gym i would avoid it for fear of embaressment.

I have just started using one this week! And already Im feeling I’ve missed out. I have picked it up pretty quick and now that i have read your advice i am confident i can master it in a few months of daily training!

Thanks

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moe April 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

i have a few speed bags, but ive noticed the vinyl bag i have rebounds much faster than the leather, can u plz explain??

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Johnny N April 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

Maybe the amount of air in the bags is different? Or maybe leather material is softer and absorbs more of the impact energy. Either way, I use leather bags and put more air if I want faster rebounds.

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Gil August 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

SteveB..I wasn’t the best at the speed bag either but now, it’s my favorite piece of equipment.

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johnny September 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

kinda new to punch and speed bag but i know useing punch bag training mitts good for at home training but are they benneficial for speed bag training or would i bennefit from actual boxing gloves for the speed bag ?

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Johnny N September 13, 2012 at 9:02 am

Speed bag training can be done with bare hands or with wraps. I wouldn’t recommend using boxing gloves for the speed bag because they slow you down.

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Rich September 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

To clarify, don’t you mean you hit it with the front of your fist then the side of your fist? (not bottom)?

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Johnny N September 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Ahhh good question. The “side” and the “bottom” change depending on how your fist is oriented. By “bottom”, I mean the side of my fist by the pinky, not the side where the fingernails are.

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Omar October 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Which is the kind of swivel that only moves back and forth, is it the U swivle?

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Johnny N November 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I’m not sure what you’re referring to. All swivels I’ve seen swing in every way.

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don December 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm

sir jhonny is it advisable to use a speed bag with wrist weights or not?

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Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

NO! Terrible idea! Don’t do it.

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Chris J January 16, 2013 at 5:17 am

Hey Johnny,

Awesome post.

Pretty much using the open hand method i was going in about 10 mins.

Just one thing though – what’s the best way to speed up?

I think it might be my speed bag as it needs to be a bit tighter.

Can you recommend the best speed bag platform please?

Chris

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Johnny N January 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

The best way to speed up is to hit with smaller circles, using better timing, and perhaps even a little more energy. The best speed bag platform has 2 support bars instead of 1 support bar (much more stable without shaking). There are many different brands. A really good one can cost around $500 and up.

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Bill Pendleton January 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

is there any problem working the speed bag barehanded with no wraps or gloves?

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Johnny N January 23, 2013 at 11:56 am

I prefer bare-handed myself since it has better grip than with handwraps. As for gloves, you’re not supposed to hit it with gloves on.

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Nate Smith January 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Hi Johnny,

When I hit the bag it swivels alot. Any tips on getting a more controlled punch back and forth.

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Johnny N January 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Hit more accurately. Try aiming a little higher on the bag instead of right at the tip. Do it with barehands instead of with wraps on. Use a quality speed bag platform.

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Josh March 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

Great tips, thanks!

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John March 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Dear, Johnny
I got a question on hitting the speed bag. My friend who used to be an undefeated club fighter down in Tooele, Utah suggested to me that I hit the speed bag in an alternative way.
He suggested the I throw hit the bag like I was throwing a jab (cross hitting it with pointer finger knuckle, and middle finger knuckle) then come back across with the same hand (cross hitting it with pinky finger knuckle and ring finger knuckle) and then just keep switching back and forth between hands.
He said that most boxers hit it the way that you are teaching how to hit it but, he said it helps you have better form to punch it the way he said to punch it. I was just wondering if this was correct or not.
Thanks, John

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Johnny N April 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Try both methods and see what you like. That’s the beauty of learning; you get to explore through many different methods.

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Ki April 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

Johnny wanted to know is hitting a bigger speed bag more difficult than hitting a smaller one?

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Johnny N April 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hitting a smaller speedbag is harder.

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Pau-pau May 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm

hitting a speedbag is so hard…. it swivels in so many places! i just… argghhhhhh! anyway, thanks for the help and i hope i can figure this speedbag thing out. :)

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Jeremy July 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Thanks Johnny, I just got a speedbag and this is a good vid, the open hands closer together has really helped. Cheers! :)

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Erwin Angeles August 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Hey Johnny.

Good Afternoon, I still have trouble hitting the speed bag. What are its advantages in a fight?

Thank you ,
Erwin

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Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

The speed bag is great for shoulder & arm conditioning…which means better punch endurance, punch speed, rhythm, timing, accuracy.

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Erwin Angeles August 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Thank you Johnny

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Chris September 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Johnny,

I am a complete novice to boxing but I am looking to get a speed bag to use as part of my fitness routine. However, I have also just come across some articles and your video about the double end bag which looks like a lot of fun also. I am now not sure which one I should buy to get started. Could you give me any advice?

Great website by the way!

Cheers
Chris

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Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

How about trying both at a boxing gym and see which one you like before you buy? I also don’t see why they couldn’t both co-exist. Have fun, Chris!

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Hipgn0stic September 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I FOUND FOR ME NOT LOOKING AT THE BAG AS MUCH AS LISTENING TO THE RYTHMN HELPED.

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Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

This is true! I’ll sometimes look at the bag only to see the angle that it travels but I rely on my ears to tell me when to hit.

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