Professional boxers and MMA trainers all have one thing in common: they only invest in the best equipment available. And while it may seem intimidating to buy your first punching bag, it is no doubt a fun and exciting experience.
Freestanding bags are the norm among home trainers. They are portable, can fit in cramped spaces, and you can practice grappling and knocking them over.
But it’s not easy to find the right punching bag, especially when you don’t even know where to begin. Below are the 5 best freestanding heavy bags for you to choose from.
Best Freestanding Punching Bags Reviewed
The Century Wavemaster XXL stands 5.75 feet tall and weighs approximately 270 pounds. With a tough vinyl cover and a high-density PU foam padding, the Wavemaster can stand the test of time. This freestanding punching bag brings out the most in every strike and is a great choice for MMA and cardio training.
It’s 18 inches in diameter and has a low-profile 27 inches wide base. Both the base and the bag can be filled with sand or water. It means that the materials are widely available, and you can refill the product yourself.
With the Wavemaster, you get a top-quality striking surface. The combination of the vinyl cover and the PU foam padding means that each strike is soft and resilient. It feels just like hitting a real human body.
What’s more, is that you can adjust how much weight you want in the base. The bag moves when you hit it, which is a good thing as it stops the force from getting transferred back to your body.
The only thing that does put us off is the low resilience of the bag. It doesn’t perform well in both the heat and the cold. Extreme temperatures can seriously damage and crack the vinyl and the foam padding inside.
We recommend using the Century Wavemaster XXL indoors for MMA and for Muay Thai. It’s extra-large and stands at the correct height for training both your hands and your legs. It’s an excellent choice for both professionals and amateurs.
- Not too hard on the knuckles.
- Weight is adjustable.
- Readily available filling.
- Great for Muay Thai.
- Bounces back to reduce joint damage.
- It cannot survive extreme heat or cold.
If you’re looking for a more versatile option, then perhaps nothing could be better than the Century Versys VS1. It is a 5.5 feet tall freestanding training bag that can be used for all types of martial arts. Use it for MMA, sparring, ground & pound, and even Muay Thai.
The bag has a diameter of 13.75 inches and is covered with vinyl. We know that vinyl is a suitable choice here as it responds well to moisture and impact damage. It means that your throws and kicks won’t get the better of the bag.
Due to the soft and rebounding nature of the striking surface, you can use the bag without gloves on. However, it is always recommended to use gloves, as it will help you minimize damage against your knuckles.
You get the base pre-filled, and you can fill the bag up with sand or water. It weighs about 100 lbs. When filled, but you can lower the weight if you like.
Moreover, the Century Versys VS1 has handles at the top, to make knee kicks more balanced. However, we did find that the foam inside the bag was somewhat pliable, which means that it can get crushed pretty easily. You can avoid this by not hitting the base directly with hard and forceful kicks.
Overall, we recommend the Century Versys VS1 for all types of athletes in all age groups. The size is suitable enough for Muay Thai and for practicing your kicks.
- Used for knee kicks and ground workouts.
- Base comes pre-filled.
- Weight can be adjusted with a max of 100 lbs.
- Recommended for all types of athletes.
- Soft and rebounding striking surface.
- Foam is rather pliable and prone to crushing.
When using any ordinary training bag, you never get the full experience of hitting a real-life human body. However, the Century BOB XL takes it a little further. They designed their training bag to be shaped like the upper human torso.
But the design wasn’t made for the sake of creativity. It was made so you can target your throws and kicks well, especially your uppercuts. Since it’s also placed at the nominal human height, you can hone your fists to hit the right weak spots.
What’s more is that the height can be adjusted from 5 feet to up to 6.8 feet, accommodating for taller opponents. It is a great tool for practicing self-defense as well. It will train your reflexes to hit the right place without having to think about it
As for the other specs, this bag is filled with urethane foam and has a plastisol body. Plastisol is a rarer choice of material here. It’s tough and resilient and is the type of plastic used to create handles for various tools.
The base is made from hard polyethylene that can hold as much as 270 lbs. of either sand or water. Both the base and the bag can be emptied for customized filling.
However, since this bag only includes the upper torso, it’s not suitable for practicing your strikes below the torso.
- Provides a more dynamic punching surface.
- Trains your uppercuts and body shots at the same time.
- Height is adjustable.
- Feels just like having a sparring partner.
- Great for practicing self-defense.
- Not for practicing Muay Thai.
For people who are of shorter stature, the Power Core Bag is an ideal choice. It stands 4.5 to 5.4 feet tall and can be filled with 250 lbs. of water or 370 lbs. of sand.
It stands out from the rest for its small and compact design. The base is big and heavy, which means that the bag won’t fall over even after heavy punching. The solid base also means that the bag will stay staunchly in place, allowing you to spam punches and kicks on it.
It is also a good choice if you want to concentrate your punches in one place. Many people use a heavy bag for cardio and strength training and need to concentrate more power in one place.
Everlast uses a special Nevatear fabric, which is webbed vinyl and synthetic leather. The fact that there are two materials blended makes it stand against hard punches and intense workouts.
One thing that may tick some users off is that you can’t add your own filling in the bag. It comes pre-filled with air to provide more rebound. But some people prefer sand or water to reduce some of the feedback.
Another drawback is that it’s not suitable for low kicks. The bag sits quite high, with some space between the bag and the base. It’s also not recommended for use by taller users, or if your opponent is going to be taller than 5 feet.
- Good for people with shorter heights.
- It helps you focus your punches in one area.
- Has amazing resistance to impact.
- Suitable for light to moderate training.
- Not recommended for low kicks.
- Not suitable for taller people.
Last but not least, we have the Everlast Omniflex. This freestanding bag has a similar design to the previous one in that the bag itself is not tall.
However, the pole that the bag stands on is adjustable from 4 feet to up to 5 feet 7 inches. This makes it an ideal choice for both tall and short users.
The shorter height option also makes it ideal for practicing low kicks and Muay Thigh. The base is strong and hard and does not budge once set in place. You can fill it up with sand or water. When using sand, the base can weigh up to 130 lbs.
If you may have noticed, the weight is slightly less than the others. It shouldn’t pose an issue as the bag itself isn’t all that heavy.
But if you’re a heavy trainer, then the bag may sway. The extra momentum preferred by many people. It simulates someone moving back and forth, which is great for competitive boxing. However, if you’re using the bag for cardio, the extra momentum can get annoying.
Another issue with this punching bag is that the punching area is smaller. So you can’t use it for low kicks and high licks at the same time.
One thing that does stand out is the small size. Having a smaller punching bag makes it easier to use in smaller apartments. You can also transport the bag with ease, especially since the base isn’t all that heavy.
- Good for concentrated punches.
- Works with people of all sizes.
- Great momentum for competitive boxing.
- It can stand moderate to light training sessions.
- Portable and small.
- Extra momentum may be annoying for some.
- Smaller punching area.
How to Choose the Best Freestanding Heavy Bag?
Freestanding Vs. Hanging
Before we formally begin the guide, it is important to know why you should opt for a freestanding bag in the first place.
Many people opt for freestanding bags for one simple reason: ceiling height. If your room has a higher ceiling, then hanging a punching bag can be cumbersome. And if the ceiling is false or prone to damage, you wouldn’t want to damage it even further by hooking up a heavy bag to it.
Alongside that, you may also consider a freestanding bag if you want a more kicking area. Especially if you’re into Muay Thai, you will definitely benefit from a freestanding bag. These bags are lower than hanging bags, and some especially designed to survive knee kicks.
However, you may find that hanging bags are the better choice for you. They’re easier to set up and don’t require you to fill up and maintain an additional base. Hanging bags sway more, and are great for cardio and general training.
The shape of the bag
After deciding on why you want a freestanding bag, you’ll need to consider the shape of the bag. Most bags can be cylindrical. This shape provides a long and even surface for practicing all your strikes and throws.
There’s another type called the teardrop or spherical bags. These bags have a smaller punching area and allow you to concentrate your punches in one place. It also makes them the best for spamming punches and for sparring. You can also set them at the height of a human head and practice uppercuts.
Another type that is starting to gain notoriety is the body bag. These shapes are like a real human torso, sometimes complete with a head and neck. They are great for getting the feel of a real human body. When you practice on these, you basically train your body to hit the right spots without having to think. For that, they are ideal for competitive and defensive training.
Cover and Padding
You want to deeply consider the cover and padding, as this will decide how long the bag lasts. The padding will also influence how the bag responds to your punches.
Vinyl and leather are two popular choices for the cover. Leather isn’t suitable for environments where there will be a lot of humidity and moisture. And neither is it suitable for use under direct sunlight. Vinyl is the better choice here. It even has better resistance to bacterial growth.
As for the padding, high-density PU foam is the preferred choice. High-density foam is better as it gives you a tough hitting surface while maintaining knuckle health. The low-density foam feels softer, which isn’t best for strengthening your punches.
Next, look for the right kind of filling. There are a few choices here. The most common choice is textiles. Textile is just shredded rags compressed together. It provides a softer punching surface that can rebound smoothly. However, you’ll hardly find it in freestanding bags, as these bags are quite heavy and will resist swaying back and forth.
In fact, in most freestanding bags, the bag itself is not filled. It is instead the base that is filled up with sand or water. Sand is the heavier of the two, and depending on the inner volume of the base, it can give you up to 270 lbs. of weight. Water is lighter but readily available and easier to fill up.
Weight and Sizing
When you’re training your fists, you want to get a bag that’s suitable for your height and weight. A good rule of thumb to remember here is that the weight of your heavy bag should be approximately half of your weight.
So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should buy a bag that’s at least 70 pounds. You can try going lower than that if you’re a beginner. And you can increase the weight once your training gets a bit more advanced.
As for height, choose a punching bag that stands as tall as you do. Look for adjustable height, especially if you have multiple people using the same bag.
For people who practice kicking and Muay Thai, you should opt for a bag that’s at least 6 feet tall. This is, so you get enough kicking space, especially if you want to kick below the torso.
Can I use a freestanding punching bag without gloves?
It is not recommended, but if the cover is soft, then you might be able to. In fact, some trainers may encourage you to do so, as it will train your wrists, knuckles, and forearms.
For beginners, wouldn’t suggest doing this though. You should wear boxing gloves or wraps used to your heavy bag first. Then, when you think you’ve trained enough, you can move on to using your bare fists.
Should I go for reflex/speed bags?
If you don’t already know, a reflex bag is the type of punching bag that bounces back up very quickly after you punch it. This type of bag has immense rebounding power and is generally in teardrop-shape.
Reflex or speed bags are great for training your punches. They let you spam your fists, which will hone your muscles to work faster and harder. For beginners, you can use these for quick cardio exercises and warm-up for later training sessions.
For professionals, this lets them enhance their punching power. It’s also a great way to direct your punches and to simulate a real opponent moving back and forth.
How do I install a freestanding punching bag?
Freestanding bags require you to screw the bag onto the stand. The stand may come pre-filled. If not, you’ll need to fill it with either sand or water. To fill it up with water, hook up a hose to a water outlet and start filling up the base.
Next, use the included wrenches and screws to screw the bag in place. Make sure the connections are tight. Your bag should sway even with the screws tightened.
Freestanding punching bags are great for practicing grappling and knocking over. And many people use them for their daily cardio and weight loss.
While we reviewed many products, the Wavemaster XXL was the best choice. This is because it’s so versatile and durable. We can use it for MMA training and even Muay Thai. Plus, it’s extra-large with a sufficient punching area.
And that brings us to the end of our best freestanding punching bags guide. We hope that you’ve found your favorite punching bag by now. And if not, then what are you waiting for? Find the right bag for yourself and start on your training!