Mixed martial arts, or MMA, have become quite the craze in recent years. This sport is an excellent way to get yourself in great shape and build on existing martial arts training. In order to train properly for MMA, however, you need to look at MMA bags that fit your training routine. The ideal MMA bag provides enough resistance to build strength and enough flexibility to take your punches and kicks without causing any trauma to your own body. Use this guide to help you choose the best MMA and boxing equipment for you.
Why Do You Need an MMA Bag?
An MMA bag is an essential element for a good fighting workout because it provides more versatility than almost any other piece of boxing equipment. You can use the bag to work on your agility and technique, but you can also use it as a way of improving your cardio, working extra long and hard to keep your heartrate high. You can perform dozens of different exercises and training routines with a bag, and each one allows you to focus on a different area of your fighting repertoire. Consistent exercise with an MMA bag builds your upper body strength, and many different techniques can improve your speed. All told, no other single piece of equipment improves as many areas as this piece of boxing equipment.
Free Standing vs Hanging Bags
The best MMA bags are heavy punching bags capable of taking a lot of blows without providing too much give. In this case, you need to decide whether you should use a hanging MMA bag or consider looking into MMA stands. A hanging bag hangs from a beam attached to the ceiling. By comparison, a stand allows the bag to stay on the ground, but still provides give and flexibility for your training. Both of these options have benefits and drawbacks. While you could potentially choose one of each, most people don’t have the room for multiple heavy bags. If that applies to you as well, you’ll need to consider which of the two bag types will fit your needs the best.
Benefits of Hanging Heavy Bags
The biggest advantage of a hanging heavy MMA bag is the fact that it swings when you hit it. This means two things. First of all, when you hit it, the bag will move in much the same way that a real fighter might move, shifting based on the direction and momentum of your hit. This allows you to work on your positioning and timing. Secondly, you can’t knock a hanging bag over. This provides a marked advantage when compared to bags on MMA stands, which might require you to pick them up once or twice during a workout. Hanging bags also tend to be affordable and can withstand powerful strikes better than bags on MMA stands. This allows you to focus on kicks and other powerful strikes, knowing that your MMA bag can take it.
Drawbacks of Hanging Heavy Bags
A heavy hanging MMA bag does have a few drawbacks when compared to other boxing equipment. For starters, they can be difficult to set up. You need to identify a place where you can anchor the bag to a ceiling or a beam that is strong enough to support the bag. Heavy bags take up more space than MMA stands, since you need to give them enough space to swing freely after you land a solid punch or kick. For certain exercises, you might need a partner to hold the bag while you practice. This is easy to accomplish if you practice at a gym or training center, but it gets more difficult if you have a fitness room at home and don’t have somebody who is able to exercise with you on a regular basis.
Benefits of Standing Bags
An MMA bag placed in a stand takes up less room than a swinging MMA bag, due to the fact that it doesn’t move as much as its hanging equivalent. By necessity, they also tend to be made of softer material. While you should practice using gloves and pads at all times, the softer foam used in bags on MMA stands tends to be easier on your hands and feet as you practice, especially if you aren’t used to a rigorous workout. Larger model bags also allow you to practice techniques that are lower to the ground, such as low leg kicks. In fact, MMA stands allow for bags of a wide variety of shapes and sizes that can allow you to practice different techniques that hanging bags might not allow.
Drawbacks of Standing Bags
MMA stands do have their share of drawbacks as well. For starters, you need to make sure that the stand is properly set up and balanced. If you don’t have the bag properly balanced, the stand is more likely to fall over when you land a particularly hard punch or kick. A bag in a stand also doesn’t move based on your strikes, so it can’t simulate the movements of a real opponent as effectively as a hanging bag. Finally, standing bags have fewer different brands out there. This can make it difficult to find the exact model that you need if you have specific exercises in mind. Fortunately, as the market continues to expand, this latter problem is likely to become less of an issue.
Consider Your Style
One of the great things about MMA is that it combines martial arts from all different cultures and disciplines. This makes for a terrific show for fans who watch the sport, and it also means that everybody practicing MMA can develop their own style and specialty. On the other hand, it means that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. This extends to your workout equipment. For example, utilizing Muay Thai techniques requires a narrower bag than a typical European boxing workout. Think about your style of fighting and the areas where you need the most work. You should then focus on purchasing an MMA bag that matches the size and height that you need.
Quality and Price
While it’s very easy to go for the most affordable MMA bag and stand you can find, that doesn’t always yield the best results. You can usually feel the difference between a high-quality bag and a low-quality one as soon as you take your first punch or kick. A lower-quality bag will provide too much give or, at the other extreme, feel like you’re hitting a brick wall. If you get a chance to try out a bag, either from a store that offers some sample models or through a gym where you can see what works best for you, that will help you make an educated decision. If you can’t try a brand before buying, check for customer reviews. Whatever you do, don’t assume that the cheapest bag is necessarily the best one.
Construction of MMA Bags
With every MMA bag, you need to consider the construction of both the interior and exterior in order to get the level of quality you want. The bag’s cover needs to be durable enough to take a beating and flexible enough to give the proper yield when you strike it. Most high-quality bags use a leather cover, but you can also get by with faux leather. The latter fabric helps to keep costs down without lowering the quality too much. You also need to think about what goes inside the bag. Most bags come pre-filled, but you can purchase some bags that allow you to fill them with your own materials. This makes it easy to find the exact level of flexibility that works for your exercises and needs.
Choosing an MMA Stand
If you opt for a standing bag rather than a hanging one, you should strongly consider looking into MMA stands to go with it. While you can purchase a free-standing bag, such bags tend to have balance problems when dealing with the multitude of different strikes that come with an MMA routine. An MMA stand should be made of durable material, preferably stainless steel. It needs to be able to hold your bag steady, but it should also have at least a little give. Most high-quality MMA stands come with weights that you can place in different areas as your exercise routine changes. This allows you to add counterweight stability to the bag, changing the way it reacts to each punch and kick.
Determining the type of bag you use for MMA exercises comes down to several important decisions. You need to consider whether you need a hanging bag or whether an MMA stand will do the trick for you. You have to balance price against quality, figure out the type of material you need both inside and out, and choose a proper stand if appropriate. By considering all of these factors, you should be able to find something that matches both your exercise style and physical needs.