The use of a punching bag
To improve the durability of our punching bag we must first understand that:
- In the context of a serious workout, the punching bag is one of the most mistreated training tools, so it would be wise to choose one of medium-high quality level
- It doesn’t matter if we will eventually make our bag aesthetically less beautiful; the goal is to train our body in striking (power, resistance, etc.), not have a piece of furniture
- The protections and precautions to preserve our punching bag should be taken before the occurrence of damage due to wear (rust on the chain, tears, etc.)
- In this article, we will not talk too deeply about installation methods and options
Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
An intelligent installation of the punching bag
Prevention is always better than cure, especially if the funds at our disposal are limited. 50% of the difference in terms of duration is connected to an internal or external installation.
The risks related to a constant exposition to the elements causes:
- The chain to rust (and in a relatively low time to break)
- The stitches to weaken
- The filling to rot
- The bag to become heavier
- The formation of lumps (if the padding is made with sand)
Internal or external installation?
Interior installation is always the best choice (in most cases it doubles the duration of our training tools):
- No damp rooms – Even if it is not fundamental, when possible, the punching bag should be hung in a room with a good damp balance (at least inferior to 70%)
- No heat source – The installation place must be away from constant sources of heat (at least 3m away)
- No obstacles – There must not be touching obstacles or against which the punching bag could clash (a 3x3m free area should be good)
- No unstable supports – The punching bag is designed to be hit at full power and in a continuative way, the support must be fixed to a solid metal structure or screwed into reinforced concrete
Outdoor installation is a qualitatively worse option but often it is a forced solution, so let’s see what precautions to keep:
- No elements exposition – If we do not have the opportunity to place our punching bag internally, at least let’s avoid exposing it directly to the elements (or worse, to leave it to the mercy of insects and animals)
- The ideal place – Installing our punching bag under a porch is a good compromise (but it can also work under a large waterproof tent or other as-much-as-possible ample covering structures)
- Limiting damages – Even under a good cover, the risk of indirect exposure to the elements must be assessed with precision (wind, sunlight, rain, etc.); we have to choose the most protected area possible
- An easily removable structure – Providing an easy removal support allows us to save space and especially to store our punching bag in a safe and dry place at the end of each training session / period of inactivity
Protect our punching bag: preparation and ordinary maintenance
Here are some simple tips and precautions that can be applied immediately after acquiring the punching bag:
- Oil the chains – The (specific) oil prevents the formation of rust and above all extends the life of hooks, chains and metal parts
- Use fabric protectors – These products are made to protect from humidity (eg. Scotchgard) and must be applied regularly to be effective
- Use the duct tape – Although the aesthetic result may not be amazing, covering the seams with multiple crossed turns of duct tape increases exponentially the durability
These tips are instead about the ordinary maintenance:
- Keep oiled the metal parts – There is no fixed rule on when / how much to oil (it depends on the frequency of use, atmospheric events, etc.), we have to manually check every week
- Keeping the bag clean – In addition to a hygienic reason, cleaning our punching bag (with a damp cloth) prevents insect infestation and the accumulation of elements that could facilitate the breaking of the external structure
- A regular use – We have to avoid to do wrong things like clinging on it, using weapons, rigid protections or sharp objects of any kind (it may be a choice but we will damage it quickly, even by striking at low intensity);
- Cover it with a tarp – When not used, to close our bag (chains included) with a cover that does not allow the humidity to penetrate is a good protection against the influence of various external factors
A note by Master Kongling – If we buy a black bag, with black tape, even the aesthetical effect will be partially saved.
How to apply the duct tape
Apply the duct tape means:
- To make the punching bag more durable (due to the increased elasticity and resistance)
- To maintain its original shape for a longer time (many times, low-level boxing bags quickly deform)
- To solve / prevent all of the most common problems (holes, lacerations, scuffing, etc.)
To correctly apply the duct tape we have to:
- Hang the filled punching bag (differently, it would be very inconvenient to proceed)
- Prevent the punching bag from swinging so as not to hinder our work (helping ourselves with a solid chair if it is very long)
- Clean and then dry the external surface of the punching bag (to have maximum adhesion)
- Apply the tape linearly leaving no unattached / poorly attached parts
- Cover the seams of the punching bag, first vertically, then horizontally (2-4 turns)
- Cover the ends of the vertical tapes with full horizontal turns
- Cover the lower part of the punching bag, the most subject to weight, with various “X” crossed turns (15-25)
- Cover the middle part of the punching bag, the most stressed one, with various turns (10-20)
A note by Master Kongling – It must finally be said that some people cover the entire punching bag with the duct tape but it is not mandatory.
A few conclusive thoughts:
- As we said, in our school, the training with the punching bag is fundamental but not for beginners (it starts at an intermediate level, there are many other exercises to temporarily replace this tool); we firmly believe that it is wrong to train power before precision and speed
- What we said can be done even after a first partial damage (as in the photo) but only if the structure is not already compromised (eg. a hole over 1 third of the diameter)
- It is useless to say that, if someone has the money to periodically change the bag, everything we said can be skipped; the tips we have shared do not improve in any way the training functionality
In-depth video courses
- DIY training tools for martial arts – A set of easy to build training tools for 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s practice
- Fa Jing: how to develop explosive power – A complete and advanced path to develop power for combat
- How to make a punching bag with tires – An easy and effective way to replace a boxing bag
- Secret Shaolin training tools – The ancient practices of the legendary Shaolin Temple’s monks
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Are you working on a new or damaged punching bag?
Author: Master KonglingFounder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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