MUAY THAI VS. TRADITIONAL HEAVY BAGS
When buying something as important as a heavy hanging bag, you should be certain that the bag you choose is the one best suited to you.
This one piece of equipment will have more bearing on your training than any other single item, after all.
Most heavy hanging bags fall into two categories: Muay Thai bags, and traditional bags. (A few specialty hanging bags, like teardrop or Aqua Bags, also fall under the heavy bag category.) These first two are a first-time bag owner’s best bet! Here’s what you need to know.
Spot the Difference
Both muay Thai and traditional heavy hanging bags are cylindrical in shape. A muay Thai bag is longer and more slender than a traditional bag.
Weight varies in both bags; however, most Muay Thai bags are 100 lbs. or over. Heavy bags cover a broader range, from ~60 to 100 lbs., with a few oversize bags exceeding that cap.
Now, you may be thinking, “I’ll just shop by size – the heaviest heavy bag would be the best one, after all!”
Stop right there! The weightiest bag may be the best for you, or you might be paying per pound for something that won’t benefit your training in the long run. Before you pull the trigger on any bag, answer these questions:
- Will your training involve kicks?
If the answer is no – you plan on training strictly boxing/upper body – you don’t need a muay Thai bag. It won’t hurt your training to have one. But you won’t be using the muay Thai to its full potential. But if you answer yes to kicks, you then need to ask yourself:
- How low and high will I be kicking?
A long, low-hanging muay Thai bag will let you throw ankle- and calf-level kicks as well as head kicks and everything in between. Depending on how you hang a regular heavy bag and how long the straps are, you may be able to get it low enough for those low kicks, but it’s not ideal. If your kicks fall mostly in the mid-range of hip- to waist-level, a standard heavy bag is fine.
- Do I plan on using my bag for shin conditioning?
In some martial arts, like muay Thai, your kicks are meant to land with the shin, not the foot. It’s important to build up tough shins in training. A Thai bag is heavier at the base so that when you connect with your shin in that area, it conditions the bone to bear impacts. A heavy hanging bag can offer limited conditioning, but it won’t be nearly as effective.
- How intensely will I be training?
Factor in your own size, strength, and skill level before answering. The higher your intensity will be, the heavier the bag should be. If you’re a beginner and plan on boxing for cardio, an 80 lb. heavy bag will be great. If you’re an active athlete looking to start a new sport – and maybe even take a fight one day – consider a muay Thai bag or one of the heavier standard hanging bags.
No matter which bag you decide on, the most important thing to your training is that you use it! Staying consistent, working to improve yourself, and taking care of yourself outside of physical activity will take you far.
Wanting your own custom Muay Thai or Hanging heavy bag? CLICK HERE