I recently bought a series of DVD's called P90X. I'm sure you've seen this advertised on TV, as the infomercial is played at all times of the day and night. This is an intense workout program perfect for cutting the fat to show that hard earned muscle. I'll review P90X on this site soon.
One of the DVD's is called Kenpo X, a martial arts workout. This workout is a series of jabs, crosses, left hooks and uppercuts (basically shadow boxing), along with throwing many kicks. While I was punching air, I thought it would make the workout more intense if I was actually hitting something.
I first looked into buying a Century Bob "Body Opponent Bag". I found one at a goodwill thrift store for $160, which I thought was an outrageous price especially for a thrift store.
I didn't know the retail price was anywhere from $249 to $399. I should have bought it from goodwill. To keep BOB from moving, you have to fill the base with water, or better yet sand. The base of BOB holds at least ten, 25 lb bags of sand, adding another $30-$40 to the price tag of "BOB". With BOB fully loaded with sand, he weighs around 270 pounds. Not exactly mobile, he's hard to move out of the way and store when you're done with him.
Since "BOB" was pretty expensive, I decided to hang up an old 50 pound canvas bag that I had. It was only lying around in my garage for over twenty years. I thought about making a free hanging homemade heavy bag stand, but since space is tight in my gym, I needed to hang the bag from my powertec power rack.
To hang the bag from the rack, I used a rubber coated chain from a children's swing set. The rubber coating protects the power rack and keeps the noise down from the chain grinding on the steel.
Hanging bags simulate a moving opponent and help you with your foot work. Since a power rack is relatively narrow, it only allows limited movement when working on the bag. You don't get to walk a circle around the bag when working out. A power rack isn't the best for a swinging bag type of workout.
Some heavy bags come with a bungee cord that extends from the bottom of the bag to a mount attached to the floor to help prevent the bag from swinging. This is the set up I needed for the Kenpo X DVD workout. Since my old canvas bag did not have a bungee cord attached, I devised another method to keep the bag from swinging:
I used the same strap material as I used on my homemade weight vest. This one inch strapping and the buckles are sold at fabric stores. A quick trip and $7 bucks later, I had enough material to make three straps, one for around the diameter of the bag; and two holding the bag to the sides of the power rack:
You will need a sewing machine to sew the strap loop to the buckle. Sew buckles on the two side straps only, not on the strap around the bag. The buckle isn't strong enough to hold the strap. While beating on the bag testing this set up out, I snapped the middle buckle sending plastic buckle pieces flying. I ended up sewing the middle strap in one continuous loop. This held up under more test beatings.
These three straps effectively hold the bag in place while I'm beating on it. Take the two straps off, and the bag swings freely.
Hitting a heavy bag is great for over all conditioning, fitness and fat loss. Making a heavy bag move takes power and timing, and is a great stress reliever.
Main muscles worked on the heavy bag include the shoulders, arms, back, chest and abs. Legs are also used in the process of punching the bag, to generate power through the upper body. Many workouts can be devised using a heavy bag.
Since I had the heavy bag and chain already, all I needed to buy were the straps -and this cost me $7. Not bad!
For a relatively simple piece of equipment, a heavy bag delivers many amazing benefits. Whether it is a full-body workout, sharpened self defense skills, or a defined, muscular body, the heavy bag is a valuable addition to any home gym.
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