Based on personal experience, Muay Thai is one of the most grueling kinds of combat sports. It pushes you to the absolute limit but once you reach the end of every workout session, you feel so proud of yourself for having gone through such intense drills and exercises. In Muay Thai, a workout session involves the use of a type of heavy bag, and for best results, you should practice and train using the best Muay Thai heavy bag available.
Here, we're going to explain the different types of punching bags, factors to consider before getting a Muay Thai heavy bag, recommend the best Muay Thai punching bag, and the particular benefits you get from heavy workouts.
Different Types of Punching Bags
In Muay Thai, there are generally two types of bags used to practice striking techniques: the standard heavy bags and the banana bags or the Muay Thai bags.
In combat sports in general, however, there are several bags to choose from. Listed below are the most frequently used bags in Muay Thai.
The heavy bag is your standard heavy bag that is often seen in health clubs and combat sports facilities.
This heavy bag weighs at around 100 pounds and is usually 4 feet in height.
Most stand-up drills and exercises can be done with this bag alone. Whether you plan to work on your straights, hooks, elbows, knees, and kicks, this heavy bag is fit for the task.
If you are not sure which field of combat sports you plan to focus on, or if you have decided to engage in various martial arts, then this bag is the best option for you.
The banana bag is considered to be the best heavy bag for Muay Thai as this is the only bag on this list specifically designed for Muay Thai intensive exercises and workouts.
When filled, the banana bag weighs approximately 100 pounds to 125 pounds (though there are some manufacturers that offer a 150 lb Muay Thai bag) and stands taller than the standard heavy bag at roughly 5 feet.
It is called a banana bag because of its elongated appearance, and this design was intentional.
As a result of the banana-like shape of this bag, Muay Thai practitioners can work more on their low kicks which is something that the standard heavy bag cannot offer (unless it hangs low or close to the ground).
If you are looking to practice your combos and striking techniques from punches and kicks to elbows and knees, this banana bag is the best Muay Thai bag for you.
If you are recovering from an injury or are new to the combat sports scene and looking for a low-impact workout on a bag, then the aqua bag is your best bet.
An aqua bag, as can easily be derived from the name itself, is a unique type of bag filled with water .
This kind of bag is very good for training or light preparation for competition as the risk of injury or soreness when training with the aqua bag is significantly lower than the other bags in this list.
Uppercut/Wrecking Ball Bag
An uppercut bag or wrecking ball bag is thick, dense, compact bags that are designed for strikes from less common angles.
Examples of strikes done to this wrecking ball bag are knees or uppercuts.
The shape and density of these kinds of bags are truly meant to test your technique and power and are a great alternative to the standard heavy bags and banana bag as their shapes do not allow fluid uppercut motions.
Tear drop/Bowling Pin Bag
Muay Thai practitioners use the tear drop bag or bowling pin bag to enhance their clinch and knee techniques.
The unique, rounded-edge design of the bags makes it an excellent target/strike zone for knee strikes.
Although some consider this to be an unnecessary addition to combat sports gyms, we recommend this particular type of bag if you want variation in training and a lighter, more compact object to hit.
This bag is usually a bottom-heavy bag due to the shape it comes in.
An angled bag is another unique type that offers a different experience during striking drills and workouts.
It can come in many different shapes and sizes. There are hourglass angled, ice cream cone angled, and peanut angled versions.
The most common angled version is usually top-heavy and thins out from the mid-section to the bottom portion.
This type is good for practicing kicks and strikes from awkward angles and can also be a good option for throwing low kicks and uppercuts.
A hybrid bag is a mixture of any of the types listed in this section.
This variant usually has features or add-ons that are not common with other variants. They may have a different kind of filling or have upper handles for clinch work, or even a heavy base to make it a free standing bag (discussed in detail in the next session).
Depending on the kind of hybrid bag you get, expect to benefit more in certain areas (such as the clinch game or striking game) but also expect that the bag may not perform or respond to your strikes as well as the bags mentioned above.
Free Standing Bag
A free standing Muay Thai bag is a more convenient and casual approach to the punching bag industry as opposed to hanging bags (which are all of the bags mentioned above this entry).
These bags are designed to be easy to install, easy to relocate, and more affordable for those not seeking to spend too much on this kind of equipment.
The disadvantage to this kind of bag is that it is not meant for intense workouts. This bag is more for casual or light workouts for the purpose of cardio or weight loss.
You can also practice your techniques using light-intensity strikes, but pulling off heavier combinations are not possible with this kind of bag.
Another disadvantage is the inability to practice low kicks with this bag as the lower portion is not a strike zone (it is usually a heavy base filled with water or sand).
These bags are also not meant for the hard striking sessions but are more beneficial for the casual fitness enthusiasts.
This bag can also be used to demonstrate particular strikes (and where they should land) in demonstrations or tutorials.
Benefits of Training with a Heavy Bag for Muay Thai
Any exercise or drill in Muay Thai is tough yet rewarding, but heavy bag drills are a totally different experience.
In no particular order, we have listed a few key benefits you could get when you utilize a Muay Thai heavy bag.
With proper guidance, Muay Thai heavy bags are an excellent tool for you to sharpen your striking and clinching techniques.
The cliche that comes with heavy bags is that they do not strike back, and this is not necessarily a negative.
For beginners and newcomers, sparring is a type of workout that is not very safe or enjoyable as it poses a risk of shame or injury.
That is why gym equipment such as Muay Thai heavy bags are very beneficial to work on strikes and clinches without having to do so with another Muay Thai practitioner.
Any form of training on the heavy bag gradually improves your ability to defend yourself from others, whether in sparring or competitive situations or other real-life scenarios that require the use of force.
Practicing punches, elbows, knees, and kicks will definitely improve your ability to defend yourself.
As a continuation of the entry above, you get to safely and slowly develop your confidence in yourself more when training on a Muay Thai heavy bag.
The more you improve your striking and clinching technique, the better you get at mental preparation and confidence that you will be able to pull off the necessary offensive maneuvers to be victorious in whatever situation requires the use of Muay Thai.
Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
Muay Thai heavy bag training is one of the most superior methods of losing weight.
On average, a regular-sized individual can burn approximately 450 calories an hour doing heavy bag training, and this is not necessarily limited to Muay Thai.
Whether you practice boxing, kickboxing, or any other form of martial arts, utilizing the heavy bag will lead to massive weight loss and muscle gain (if accompanied by proper nutrition or diet).
Coordination and Footwork
Beginners use the heavy bag by assuming a particular stance and staying in place while throwing strikes.
However, the more effective and efficient way would be to practice footwork, timing, and coordination when doing Muay Thai heavy bag drills.
If you incorporate or simulate foot work and combination drills in heavy bag training, you get to improve on your Muay Thai skills at a quicker rate.
Muay Thai heavy bag workouts really test the limits of your cardiovascular system, especially when you are throwing with purpose and intention.
Your stamina and endurance will benefit greatly from heavy bag workouts, and you will feel the effects in just a few training sessions.
Beginners usually get fatigued after a few rounds of heavy bag sessions, but as they progress, they will feel a significant difference in their stamina and endurance levels.
Power is also an underrated benefit of Muay Thai heavy bag workouts.
Shadowboxing or shadow striking can only go so far with regard to improving the power in each strike you throw.
Heavy bag workouts, on the other hand, offer you a target and resistance, so you would feel the impact with every strike thrown.
The more you get accustomed to working on the heavy bag, the more comfortable you will be unleashing powerful strikes.
For those who are unable to train with a coach or professional Muay Thai practitioner, using a Muay Thai heavy bag is definitely ideal for you.
Heavy bag training typically does not require guidance or coaching which is why it is beneficial to fitness enthusiasts who plan to set up a heavy bag at home or in a personal gym.
As long as you are able to work on your footwork and think of combinations to unleash on the heavy bag, you are set to have a wonderful heavy bag workout.
How to Choose the Right Muay Thai Bag
As is the case with most training gear and equipment, the brand or manufacturer is a very useful indicator to know the quality and longevity of a specific product.
In the case of finding the best punching bag for Muay Thai, check out our list of heavy bags below. We begin with the Outslayer Muay Thai Heavy Bag, but rest assured that we are confident in the quality and longevity of the rest of the heavy bags listed in our list.
In most cases, especially with regard to heavy bags sold online, the bags arrive unfilled (to save on costs in materials and shipping).
If you would like to get a pre-filled bag, we recommend visiting your local Muay Thai retailer.
If you do prefer unfilled heavy bags, know that it may take several hours (and some effort) to fill up the bag to the necessary weight and size.
However, if you plan to have a lightweight bag, you can go with rags, cloth, or used clothes.
But if you want to go for a heavier, tougher bag, use sand or sawdust.
Heavy bags are usually packaged in leather, synthetic leather, vinyl, or canvas casing.
While all types of casing/outside material are good, we recommend going with genuine leather or modern synthetic leather for extra durability and longevity.
Vinyl and canvas also have different textures so take note of that, especially when you plan to workout using thin Muay Thai gloves (or no gloves, but this is not recommended - we recommend checking out our recommended heavy bag gloves).
Heavy bags can be mounted from a steel frame, a wall mount, or a sturdy ceiling.
Other bags can also utilize a heavy base instead of hanging from above.
When it comes to mounting or hanging heavy bags, be sure to have heavy-duty chains, a sturdy platform or mount, and high-quality carabiners or swivels to attach to the hanging bag.
Weight and Size
Weight and size are also important.
Bags that weigh less and are smaller in size allow for a more pronounced response or movement. This is good if you want to enhance your timing and footwork.
Bags that weigh more and are larger in size provide you with good impact absorption without unnecessary movement or swinging. This is good for throwing hard punches like haymakers and strong kicks like low kicks or body kicks.
The best Muay Thai bag with regard to weight and size would truly vary on your fitness level and training goals.
Top 5 Muay Thai Bags in the Market Today
If you are willing to spend a premium on a high-quality punching bag, then look no further. The Outslayer Punching Bag is arguably the best Muay Thai heavy bag in the market today.
Coming in at 100 pounds and made from the USA, this product comes with a 10-year warranty just to prove that the company is confident that this investment is meant for more than a decade.
Boasting outstanding quality and durability, this fabric-filled product is great for home gyms and boxing facilities.
If you have been to a Muay Thai gym, then you would definitely see this punching bag a lot. The Fairtex Heavy Banana bag is one of the best products at a reasonable price point.
Made from durable synthetic leather and industrial-grade nylon web straps (with reinforced stitching), this product is designed specifically for Muay Thai training drills.
Windy, one of the best brands when it comes to heavy bags, presents the Windy Muay Thai Heavy Bag.
This product is made of ultra-thick leather and triple-stitched seams, offering industry-leading longevity in the market.
Weighing at roughly 125 pounds and measuring 12 inches by 70 inches, this bag is perfect for Muay Thai practitioners looking for a quality hand-made product from Thailand.
If you need to work on developing proper form when throwing uppercuts, body punches, or knee strikes, the Ringside Body Snatcher Wrecking Ball Bag is what you need.
This product assumes a unique tear drop shape and allows for a weight of up to 80 pounds.
This product comes with a chain and swivel and due to its compact nature, it will not be difficult to find a good spot for this equipment in your personal gym.
If you are looking for an actual training dummy, the Century B.O.B. is the perfect bag for you.
Resembling a human's torso and head, this product is durable and portable and can be adjusted to accommodate fitness enthusiasts of different heights.
You can use this to simulate realistic training and actual scenarios to determine how and where your strikes would land.
Conclusion (Plus Our Personal Favorite)
There are several products in the market today, but as long as you are well-informed when it comes to what you should look out for, you shouldn't have a problem choosing the right product.
As for our all-time favorite heavy bag, we go with none other than the Outslayer Heavy Bag.
This premium product is simply better than the competition in every aspect. The durable materials, the manageable weight and size, and the industry-leading warranty period are just a few of the things that make us love this product so much.
So, if you're in need of the best Muay Thai heavy bag, you simply can't go wrong with our favorite, the Outslayer, or any of the others we've recommended here.