Written by: Adam Snow on July 8, 2013
This article has been read 179 times.
Get fit and beat back the heat with the heavy bag workout
Working out is never easy, and frustrations are only exacerbated by the intense summer heat. On the heels of one of the hottest heat waves on record, here are some tips and tricks for one of the best all-around exercises you can do while in a nice, air conditioned room: the heavy bag workout.
One of the most appealing aspects of smashing a bag is what many of its proponents tout time and time again: Its a great way to let off some steam. But take care to pocket this approach when youre first starting, as unleashing on a boxing bag without first learning proper form can result in serious injuries to your wrists and back.
There are many techniques to learn and understand before you can truly unleash with confidence, but dont let all this talk of training dissuade you. The ability to unleash on a bag for a sustained period of time once youve mastered the basics is indeed a great stress reliever and is also incredibly empowering. Its worth all the necessary training.
But theres more to the heavy bag workout than hitting it as hard as you can. In fact, thats one of the least important facets of it. Striking a bag develops muscles in your arms, back and legs and is perhaps one of the best sources of cardio available.
You dont need much to get started. A bag is necessary, but if you dont have the funds or the space for it, there are many boxing gyms in Vegas with bags available, including the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC). If you do want your own bag, youll need a place to hang it from or a stand to let it swing from. Both configurations have pros and cons; hanging from the ceiling means you can work the bag from all around, which can offer a more intensive workout, while hanging it from a stand means you can place it (and move it) much more easily.
Whether you purchase a bag or use one at a gym, the weight of it is important to consider. Bags generally range from 60-120 pounds. The weight you need depends on your size, and the larger you are, the bigger bag youll need. If youre under six feet tall, stick with either 80 or 100 pounds. If youre above that height, use the 120-pound bag. Youll know a bag is too light when it swings around even when youre barely hitting it. A bag at the optimal weight will swing, but not so much that youre waiting for it to come back to you after every heavy hit.
There are two different types of bags. The most common is a bag filled with sand, which is the most traditional but suffers the problem of settling after prolonged use, making the top too soft and the bottom hard like a brick wall. The second type, water bags, are filled with water and foam padding that ensures each hit will impact the same resistance, as water doesnt settle over time. Many consider water bags preferable, however, they are also slightly more expensive.
Once you have the bag, its time to choose the gloves. Never neglect these, and never hit a bag without wearing them (unless you want wrist problems for the rest of your life, of course). Find a pair you like at a sporting goods store that fit well but not too snug, and be prepared to drop at least $80 for a decent pair. This is not the area you want to skimp on, as a glove is one of the only things standing between your fragile hand and the massive weight you are pounding on. Make sure to try a few on and experiment a bit; gloves with some gel lining are well-reviewed, but in the end, it all comes down to your own preference and what you feel most comfortable using.
After choosing some gloves, pick a few rolls of hand wraps to use to coat your hands and wrists before you slip them into the gloves. Its fine to get something cheap here; its just a roll of cotton, after all. Just make sure that you order hand wraps that are 180 inches long so you can have enough material to properly cover your wrists and knuckles. (For tips on applying your hand wrap, search on Google or YouTube. There are many different techniques, and each have their merits. Find the one you think is most appropriate for you, and dont be afraid to tweak it a bit to better suit you).
Read more next issue.
- ^ More about Adam Snow (www.unlvrebelyell.com)
Workout tips from CrossTown Fitness | WGN-TV
Ana is around town at CrossTown Fitness in the West Loop. http://wgntv.com/2013/07/01/around-town-crosstown-fitness/
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