Punching bags are a great way to practice your boxing form or pack some extra cardio into your home routine.
Maybe you’ve just bought your first hanging punching bag. You’re excited to hang it up at home and get started on your workout, but you can’t find a sturdy beam in the ceiling to install the hook.
Some houses can’t support a punching bag’s weight, and many rental units forbid putting holes in the walls or ceilings.
Rather than letting the bag sit around useless, is there a way to use a punching bag without hanging it?
We made a list of our favorite workarounds to share, plus the solution that works best for most boxers.
Is Hanging a Punching Bag the Best Way to Use It?
Unless you have a freestanding punching bag anchored to the ground with sandbags, you can get the best workouts with a bag hanging from the ceiling.
Hanging a punching bag allows you to move around the target on all sides, practicing your footwork, aim, and rhythm. If you’re training for a fight, these are essential boxing skills to sharpen at home.
It also gives you the most versatility in training techniques, from kicking to uppercuts to practicing combos.
It’s best to have the bag’s sway to carry your momentum from punching and mimic a human opponent’s movement.
It’s also healthier for your hand to hit a swinging surface than a hard surface with no give.
If you’re repeating drills of essentially punching a cushioned wall, you could end up injuring your finger joints.
Some more benefits of a hanging punching bag include:
- Better impact handling
- Broader training possibilities
- Less risk of injury
- No household damage
Buy a Standing Punching Bag
First of all, our top recommendation is to swap out what you have for a freestanding punching bag.
If your ceilings look like they’ll crumble under the weight of a hanging heavy, a great alternative is just to buy a bag that supports your workouts from the ground.
Plus, they’re cheaper than hanging bags.
Standing punching bags might take you back to the old boxing gym days when the class would wheel them out of a supply closet for training kicks and body hits.
They’re easy to move around and stash when you’re not using them.
Like a hanging bag, self-standing bags have weighted filling like heavy foam, sand, or grain.
You’ll want to use protective gloves to strike the surface, as the material is too dense for bare hands. However, we appreciate that the standing bag swings less than the heavy.
Here are some of the best benefits of a freestanding bag:
- No drills, hooks, or setup needed
- More affordable
- Easy to move
- Great for all skill levels
- Less swing than a hanging bag
- Large surface supports kicks, punches, and body hits
Set up Your Bag in a Corner
If you’re not willing to invest in a new bag, there are still a few tricks for getting some use out of your hanging bag.
One of the classic tricks is setting up the punching bag in a corner. The bag is still upright so that you can practice on an opponent’s rough shape and location.
While the corner solution might work for you, some people find it a little too dangerous.
It’s easy to miss the bag and slam into the wall, which could damage your house—or worse, injure your hand.
Even if you have excellent aim, landing the kind of powerful hits that work well on a hanging bag could end up cracking the wall behind it.
Resting the bag in the corner also limits some of your space for moving around the target.
A large part of boxing is footwork, so it’s challenging to practice dancing around the punching bag when you can only hit from one angle.
It’s hard to get into the rhythm and focus on cardio when you have to be so careful about landing your hits on the stable surface.
Lay Your Bag on the Ground
Another option to try is laying the bag on the ground.
This is a strategy that you’ll see MMA fighters use at the gym, not for lack of hanging equipment, but to drill specific fighting techniques.
You can try straddling the bag on the ground and aiming hits at your mock opponent’s face.
Again, the ground strategy for using a punching bag without hanging it limits your ability to move around and use various workouts.
You’re also directing the force of your punches at the floor, which may not be ideal depending on your home situation.
If you’re living in an apartment, your downstairs neighbors won’t be happy!
Prop up Your Bag With Sandbags
Here is one more DIY option for using your punching bag without hanging it.
If you’re getting desperate, you can mimic a freestanding bag using sandbags around the base to support the hanging bag in an upright position.
It’s best to keep everything on a non-slip surface, like a rubber mat. Ideally, this setup will allow you to hit your upright bag from many angles.
We can’t speak to this as a permanent solution because unless your hanging punching bag is securely attached to the sandbags, it’s likely that a solid punch will eventually knock it right down to the ground.
Our Recommendation — Use A Standing Bag
If you’ve already tried a few solutions to your hanging bag problems, the best option is to go out and buy a standing bag.
You really can’t beat the convenience, portability, and cardio possibilities of working out with a freestanding punching bag.
You’ll also be relieved that you don’t have to put more holes in your wall and ceilings. It’s a pain to install hanging bags in new places every time you want a change of scenery.
You can quickly bring the freestanding bag into different rooms and even outside in nice weather.
Thankfully, there are a lot of options when it comes to designing your home gym, no matter where you live.
Some boxers use a wall-mounted bag, and others invest in a freestanding metal hanger—no holes in the wall needed. You can use a stud finder to locate a sturdy ceiling spot to hang a hook.
In a pinch, you can try punching your bag set up in a corner or lay it on the ground to practice your boxing technique.
You may even use sandbags and a rubber mat to prop it up away from the wall, like a freestanding bag.
Overall, you won’t regret going with the freestanding option. You don’t have to worry about injuring your hand, damaging parts of your home, or missing out on a top-quality workout.
You can get the most out of your home gym with a freestanding bag to move and store when you finish your drills.
Now that you know how to use your punching bag without hanging it, time to get some cardio in!
Whether you use one of our workarounds or invest in a freestanding option, punching bags are a great way to stay in shape.
credit: Deposit Photos