Boxing Heavy Bag Workout: Do This To IMPROVE Boxing

Today, I’ll go over one of the best boxing heavy bag workouts you can do.

Specifically, I’ll go over a dedicated heavy bag workout routine you can do as a beginner or as a veteran boxer.

Even though the heavy bag is a popular form of exercise, many people find it unclear how to properly work on the bag.

This arguably stems from the fact that the heavy bag workout offers a diverse range of exercises, and you can do quite a few things on it.

If you are one of those people, do not worry!

We got you.

In this heavy bag workout article, we will show you one of the best ways to work on a heavy bag for boxing.

But do not stop reading if you are not a boxer! Most of the knowledge shared in the article will be applicable to general fitness, strength, and conditioning training.

If you want the full heavy bag workout, this is the short version below.

Warm Up (10 – 20 minutes)

  • Jump Rope (1 – 3 minutes)
  • Dynamic Movements (4 – 7 minutes)
  • Shadowboxing (2 – 6 minutes) 
  • Free round of heavy bag (1 round of 2 – 3 minutes)

Main Heavy Bag Workout (32 – 47 minutes)

  • Round 1: Jab Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 2: Straight Punches Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 3: Lead Hand Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 4: Rear Hand Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 5: Fight On The Inside (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 6: Power Punches Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 7: Speed Only (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 8: Finish Every Combination With a Body Shot (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 9: Free Round (2 – 3 minutes)
  • Round 10: Cardio Round Part 1 (1 – 3 minutes)
    • Straight Punches (30 seconds)
    • 5 burpees
    • 5 squats
    • Repeat
  • Round 11: Cardio Round Part 2 (1 – 3 minutes)
    • Free Round (45 seconds) 
    • 5 knees-to-chest Jumps
    • Repeat
  •  Round 12: Cardio Round Part 3 (1 – 3 minutes)
    • Straight Punches (20 seconds)
    • Power Hooks (20 seconds)
    • Rest (20 seconds)
    • Repeat

Cool Down (5 – 15 minutes)

  •  Low-intensity Cardiovascular Exercises, OR
  • Stretching, OR
  • Foam Rolling Exercises, OR
  • Deep Breathing And Relaxation

As we already warmed you up for this article, let’s proceed to provide you with a holistic guide to working out on the heavy bag, and let’s actually warm you up, as this is always the first thing you must do before the workout.

Warm Up

Warming up before any training is essential!

That is even more true when you are planning to do something as demanding and interdisciplinary as a heavy-bag workout.

A proper warm-up serves as a preparatory phase for your body, both physically and mentally, ensuring that you get the most out of your training while minimizing the risk of injury.

Warm-ups increase your muscle temperature and blood flow, activate your central nervous system, prepare your body for enhanced performance and crucially–keep you safe.

They last 10 to 20 minutes, so they are not too time-consuming, and we recommend you always do them!

Let me show you the warm-up routine that really works for me ahead of a boxing punching bag workout.

Jump Rope

Do: 1 – 3 minutes

Jump roping is one of the best ways to start. Jump rope engages all of your body and activates the muscles in your legs, core, and arms.

Start with simple jumps, gradually increase the pace and mix in variations like high-knees, double-unders or side-to-side.

a boxer jump roping to warm up for a heavy bag workout

Dynamic Movements

Do: 4 – 7 minutes

Warm up the individual muscles.

As a representative of Eastern European Boxing, I like to warm up my individual muscles as I did back home.

After getting warmed up on the rope, I would proceed to warm up the upper body using dynamic movements such as arm circles and arm swings.

Knowing that I will hit the bag soon, I would give extra attention to shoulders elbows and wrists.

boxer performing upper dynamic movement for warm up

Consequently, I would proceed to warm up my lower body.

Start with hips, knees, and ankles through exercises such as hip circles and knee circles.

After you are done, stretch the muscles that you feel are ‘not ready or warmed up’ yet.


Do: 2 – 6 minutes

Shadowboxing is a must in a heavy bag warm-up routine.

Doing a round or two of shadowboxing will make you stimulate the boxing movements you will perform on the bag.

Moreover, good shadowboxing will make you sweaty, and get you mentally into the zone of boxing.

Free Round on the Punching Bag

Do: one round of 2 – 3 minutes

After shadowboxing, I recommend jumping onto the heavy bag and doing 1 free round to fully warm up your muscles and ‘feel the bag’.

Here, one 2-minute or 3-min round will help you get used to the bag, get the distance right, and feel fully ready.

Also while at it, keep the pace and power light as it is a warm-up.

After that, you are good to go! 

The Main Heavy Bag Workout

If you are a beginner boxer: Do a total of 12 rounds. The first 9 rounds should each last 2 minutes and the last 3 rounds should last a minute each. Note that between each round, you should include a 1-minute break.

Once you get used to it, gradually increase each round’s duration by up to 3 minutes. Do this by increasing each round by a minute.

If you are an advanced boxer: Do a total of 12 rounds that each last 3 minutes with a 1-minute break in between. 

In this punching bag workout, I’ll be assuming that you’re an orthodox fighter. If you’re a southpaw, use the opposite hand.

To effectively do this punching bag workout, I would highly recommend using a boxing interval app such as this one.

Round 1: Jab Only

In this round, focus only on what should be your most lethal weapon–the jab.

Work on your jab from all directions.

Throw a single jab, double jab, triple jab as well as a jab to the body.

Work on different variations of a jab and counter with it.

Jab is the key!

Hence, this workout starts with practising that key weapon.

Some potential combinations and punches to throw are:

  • Jab – jab – jab (body),
  • Jab – slip – jab,
  • Jab – jab – step to the left – jab,
  • Jab – jab (body),
  • Feint (body) – jab, and
  • Double Feint – jab (body).
Round 1 of the main heavy bag workout consisting only of jabs

Round 2: Straight Punches Only

Focus only on your jab and cross.

Those punches can take you all the way, and as my coach used to say, “You can be an Olympic champion by just having mastered those two”.

Throw single punches, as well as combinations.

Work on staying out of distance.

Change your tempo and make sure to add body punches.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Jab – cross – jab – cross,
  • Jab – jab – cross (body),
  • Cross – cross (body) – jab – cross, and
  • Jab – jab – cross

Round 3: Lead Hand Only

Use only your lead hand or the hand you use for your jab.

This is the left hand if you’re an orthodox boxer and the right hand if you’re a southpaw.

Sometimes you will have to face fighters who are quick or like to fight on the inside.

In this case, you will have to defend yourself long enough to set up a stronger and arguably slower backhand.

You need to know how to work with the lead hand, hence this round!

Throw a jab, hook, or uppercut, but only from your front hand. Work on fast and explosive movements.

Focus on the liver shots.

This heavy bag workout round will make your front hand tired! It will rest in the next round.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Jab – jab – left hook,
  • Jab – slip to left – left uppercut,
  • Left hook – left uppercut – left hook, and
  • Left uppercut – step back – left hook.
The demonstration of round 3 of the heavy bag workout consisting of lead hand punches only

Round 4: Rear Hand Only

Same as in the last round, but the opposite!

Focus only on punching with your rear hand.

Throw power shots, move around, throw combinations, and move around.

It’s a good exercise for those whose right hand (left if southpaw) is strong, but stiff.

If you feel like your right hand is not as agile and loose as your lead hand, do this exercise more often.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Right hook – cross,
  • Right uppercut – cross,
  • Right uppercut – right hook – cross, and
  • Cross – slip to the right – right uppercut.

Round 5: Fight On The Inside (i.e. hooks and uppercuts only)

Let your inner Mike Tyson come out!

Come closer to the bag and focus on landing hooks and uppercuts.

However, you must not forget about defence: slip, row and counter while at this range.

No straight punches are allowed!

Regardless of whether you like it or not, sometimes you will have to fight at short range. This round allows you to practice it.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Left hook – right hook – left hook (body) – Right Hook (body),
  • Left uppercut – right hook – left hook,
  • Right hook (body) – right uppercut (body) – left hook – right hook,
  • Left hook (body) – left uppercut, and
  • Left hook (body) – right hook (body) – left hook (body).
Demonstration of the punching bag's round 5 consisting of fighting on the inside only

Round 6: Power Punches Only

Throw whatever punch and combination you want, as long as you put in all the power.

Focus on giving it your all.

Try to knock out the bag with every punch!

If you want inspiration on how to practice that, check out how great George Foreman worked his power on the heavy bag.

By throwing power only, you are building up your power.

With every single shot you make, you build up the back muscles that will assist you in throwing more powerful punches.

Do not neglect simple, yet effective exercises like that.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Jab – cross – left hook – cross,
  • Jab – slip – left hook (body) – right hook,
  • Cross – left uppercut – cross,
  • Jab – cross – left hook, and
  • Jab – right uppercut – left hook.
Demonstration of the punching bag workout's round 6 where you throw only power punches

Round 7: Speed Only

Concentrate on your speed.

You can throw any boxing combination or punches you want but make it lightning speed!

Work at a fast pace.

Quick, and razor-sharp, rapid combos.

One piece of advice I have for you is to relax your shoulders and throw the punches like a whip, rather than a hammer.

You can check this demonstration in my Instagram post.

A fast jab will be essential in this round, so check out how you can increase your jab’s speed.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Jab – Jab – cross (body),
  • Cross – jab – cross,
  • Left hook – cross,
  • Jab – cross – lead hook, and
  • Cross – left hook – cross.

Round 8: Finish Every Combination With A Body Shot

Whatever combination you decide to throw, finish it with a body shot.

In this round for the heavy bag workout, every last punch has to be a punch to the body.

Practising this builds up a very good habit of changing levels with your punches.

This will especially be effective against your opponents as you become less predictable with your shots and hitting the body will gas out your opponent.

Nothing worse than getting the last shot to the body.

Your opponents will hate it.

Potential combinations/punches to throw:

  • Jab – cross – left hook (body),
  • Left hook – right hook – left uppercut (body), and
  • Right hook (body) – left hook – right hook (body).
The round 8 of the punching bag workout consisting only of throwing boxing combos with body punch at the end

Round 9: Free Round

Free workout round.

Do whatever you want on the bag and practice your favourite combinations.

Try to incorporate everything you have done throughout the training and try different things, as well as mix things up.

Potential combinations/punches to throw are:

  • Left uppercut – right hook – left hook – cross,
  • Cross – cross – left hook – right hook,
  • Right uppercut – right hook – left hook – right hook, and
  • Jab – cross – left hook – cross.

If you want more combinations, you can try out some of the basic boxing combinations and deadly combinations.

A demo of the free round for the 9th round of the heavy bag workout

Round 10: Cardio Round 1

This is a cardio round on the punching bag.

Do straight punches for 30 seconds on the heavy bag.

A demonstration of the straight punches in the heavy bag in round 10 of the workout

Afterwards, you do 5 burpees.

The 10th round's burpees demonstration of the workout

Then 5 squats.

Both bodyweight exercises should take you around 30 seconds to complete.

After you finish the two bodyweight exercises, you will go back straight to doing straight punches again and repeating the cycle two more times.

The round should then last 3 minutes, so you should be able to do around 15 burpees and 15 squats.

For beginners, you should only do 30 seconds of straight punches on the heavy bag and 5 burpees and squats. In this case, the round should only last for a minute.

Round 11: Cardio Round 2

This is the 2nd cardio round for the punching bag workout.

Here, you will do a free round for 45 seconds.

The free round as part of the 11th round in the punching bag workout

Afterwards, you will do 5 knees-to-chest jumps.

The knees-to-chest jumps as part of the punching bag workout's 11th round

If you’re a beginner, do only one of these cycles and therefore should last around a minute.

If you’re a more advanced boxer, you will repeat this cycle two more times until about 3 minutes have passed.

This way, by the end of the round, you would have done about 15 knees-to-your-chest jumps.

This cardio round is brutal. But they will really help your cardio and boxing explosiveness. 

Round 12: Cardio Round 3

The last round of punching bag workout is the most brutal one.

Do straight punches for 20 seconds at a light and fast pace.

Demonstration of non-stop straight punches as part of the 12th round of the heavy bag workout

Afterwards, throw power hooks non-stop for 20 seconds.

The demo of non-stop hooks on the heavy bag as part of the workout's 12th round

Here, throw the hooks as if you are in a heavyweight championship fight, where you’re losing and there are only 20 seconds left.

After 20 seconds of power punches, rest for 20 seconds.

Repeat this cycle 2 more times until 3 minutes have passed if you’re an advanced boxer. Do only one of these cycles if you’re a beginner.


Those 12 rounds should do you.

The whole workout should last around 45 minutes to an hour (32 minutes of work on the punching bag plus 10/15 min warm-up) and is a really solid boxing session. Moreover, it is a session during which you truly worked on all aspects of boxing!

But remember—after an intense boxing training session, it’s crucial to allow your body to gradually return to its resting state through a proper cool-down routine.

However tired you are, always remember about the cool-down.

Cool-down helps facilitate recovery, prevents muscle soreness, and promotes overall relaxation.

These are some of the best cool-down exercises after training. Here, you are free to choose any of them and I encourage you to do it for 5 – 15 minutes.

Low-Intensity Cardiovascular Exercise

Begin your cool-down with low-intensity cardiovascular exercises, such as a light jog, brisk walk, or light shadowboxing.

This helps to gradually decrease your heart rate, allowing your body to transition from an elevated state during training to a resting state.

You don’t want to jump from max-level performance to a complete state of rest.

Do it gradually.


Perform a series of static stretches, focusing on the major muscle groups used in boxing.

Hold each stretch for around 20 seconds, whilst not bouncing or forcing the stretch.

Target areas like the shoulders, chest, back, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Foam Rolling

If you have it, it’s an absolute must and one of my favourite things in the world after a hard session!

Use a foam roller or a massage ball to target specific areas of muscle tightness or tension.

Roll gently over the muscles, focusing on any sore spots or trigger points.

You know your body the best!

Focus on foam rolling in the places that require it.

Deep breathing and relaxation

Lastly, just lay and breathe!

Spend a few minutes engaging in deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.

Focus on slow, deep breaths, and consciously release any tension in your muscles.

Wrapping Up

And that was a dedicated heavy bag workout you can do to train all aspects of boxing, regardless if you’re a boxing beginner or a veteran.

But this punching bag workout can go beyond the realm of boxing and combat sports.

This heavy bag workout offers a dynamic and exhilarating exercise regimen that combines strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, stress relief and the ability to practice your technique and movement.  

Being a boxer here does not matter.

It is an exercise for everyone, and it is the exercise that if you have not yet incorporated into your training regimen, you should!

Now you know about its benefits, and you know how to have a proper warm-up, heavy bag workout and cool-down.

You are ready to go and there are no more excuses! 

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