Training for boxing without a partner isn’t all that tiring. What becomes draining is having to be creative with new combinations and drills to do alone. Unsurprisingly, you are very limited with the aspects you can train with when flying solo. That’s why the heavy bag plays such an essential role in a boxer’s training.
The heavy bag has been an important tool in boxing training since the sport began. It’s a good alternative to practising with a partner. And since it’s just a bag, you can go all out with your force without worrying about injuring your partner. It’s good for practising your form and execution, too. (At least you don’t have to bore your partner out while you throw the same punch 300 times.)
As you become more advanced, you’ll be able to come up with your own heavy bag drills. In the meantime, you can follow the five boxing combinations we’ve listed for you.
Before we begin
Of course, you will need a heavy bag to practice with. There are many types of bags, each with different purposes. If you’re not sure what kind of bag to get for your needs, check out this guide:
If you already have a bag, then great! But before we get into the juicy details of the boxing combinations you can do on the heavy bag, safety first! The heavy bag can weigh more than the average human. That said, repeatedly hitting it with force will definitely strain unprotected hands.
And if you injure yourself, you’ll have to take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to recover. That long without boxing training, can you imagine? It’d be a tragedy!
We don’t want that to happen, so please make sure to wrap your hands before you begin. If you need help with that, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to wrap your hands.
The boxing combinations
This guide has three parts. First, you’ll find a video demonstration of the drills you can do on the heavy bag. Then the second part is a description of the drills and how it translates to a real match. Then the last part is a whole workout program you can do alone.
There are two ways you can approach this guide. You may…
- Watch the video guide and go to town on your heavy bag, or
- Watch the video guide and read the rationale behind each combo before practising.
Either way, we recommend following the boxing workout to keep your fitness up.
If you want to know the tactical implications of each drill, we recommend reading too. It’ll help you understand what each drill does. Moreover, it details how you should expect your opponent to react and how you should respond.
Visit our Youtube channel to find more video guides!
Jab, Cross, Hook
This combination is great for landing the left hook around your opponent’s guard. You aim the jab and cross at your opponent’s face, bringing their guard to the front. The side of the face gets exposed as a result, and the following hook can land flush on the jaw, ear, or temple.
Try to keep the same tempo for all three punches. Some boxers (even the experienced ones) tend to throw two fast punches and pause before the left hook. This tendency, unfortunately, allows the opponent to bring their guard back.
Also, make sure to move in and out of the range between repetitions to practice your footwork at the same time.
Jab, Body Rip, Hook
Using the left (or right) punch three times in a row at different angles takes a bit of a learning curve. Like all things, though, it becomes easier the more you practice.
Focus on generating power by rotating your shoulders between the punches. Keep the jab snappy to catch the opponent off-guard with the first punch. Next, pull your left shoulder back before the body rip and again before the hook.
Allow yourself to practice the drill slowly at first, hitting hard rather than fast. As you get used to the motions, speed it up as much as you can without sacrificing power.
Jab, Cross, Jab, Cross
In this boxing combination, we aim to practice punching with both speed and power. Most people can punch with speed or power, but balance usually suffers when trying to do both at the same time.
It isn’t easy to stay balanced while punching rapidly and forcefully, but it’s possible. Take very small steps to adjust our centre of gravity, and it’ll keep you poised for the next punch. Practise landing on the left foot for each left punch and right foot for each right punch.
Do it slowly at first, then speed up as you get used to the motions. Later, you may increase the number of punches to six or eight straight shots. But make sure to keep your timing and balance as the number of punches increases.
Jab, Cross, Uppercut, Cross, Hook
In combo 3, we practised throwing multiple straight punches and keeping our balance. Next, we will take that further by including some uppercuts and hooks.
Focus on getting the timing of the punch right. You shouldn’t be pushing into the bag and slowing down your combination. Instead, you should strike the bag and end the force once you feel the punch connect to the heavy bag.
Also, make sure to draw your hands back to guard the face after every punch.
We can use the momentum of the bag to perfect our distancing. Giving the bag a little shove as you begin causes it to swing. This can be a simulation of your opponent stepping forward. And what do you do when the opponent steps forward? You punch as soon as they get into range.
In this combination, we aim to strike the bag at the distance that our arm is at its longest. If we wait until the heavy bag gets too close, we lose the snap of the punch, losing a lot of power.
This drill aims to practice distancing and develop power through punches. Try to hit as hard as you can without losing form.
Combine these drills with a few other exercises to give your self a simple but effective boxing workout. It’s a great alternative for the days when you can’t make it to the gym!
- Dynamic movement/stretches to warm up.
- 3km run
- 2 x 3 min rounds skipping
- 2 x 3 min rounds of shadow boxing
- (short rest)
- Heavy bag rounds (do each combo drill above for three minutes each)
*Do each combination repetitively with a short break between (2 or 3 seconds).
- Cool down with a light shadow box for a three-minute round and some stretches.
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