Q: What are punching bags for besides punching? Is it to make your punches stronger or faster or what?
A: Punching bags are used to build a variety of boxing skills. At the most basic level, a heavy bag is used to take hard punches from a boxer.
There are many skills one can develop from a punching bag. The punching bag can be used to simulate a moving opponent. I like to tell people to use punching bags that hang freely and can swing freely in all directions 360 degrees around the bag instead of the stand-attached ones. The free-swinging bags allow you to move around with the bag and attack it as it moves. In a sense, you’re learning how to move and attack a moving opponent. You stick and move, hitting and then side stepping out of the way as the bag comes at you.
Anybody can learn how to punch hard. Punching accurately and with rhythm takes more. You want to hit the bag in the center so that it doesn’t spin. Some bags make a very nice pop sound when you crack it just right with a good punch. Other people will put small pieces of tape around the bag as target points.
Training on the bag can also help to condition your bones to withstand repeated impact during a real fight. Lastly, you can also duck under a punching bag as it comes back at you. This is more cardio than it is for defensive practice. All in all, a punching bag is used for more than just punching. Use your imagination and treat like a live opponent. Don’t drop your hands just because you’re in front of a bag.