If you’re like me, you may have gotten along just fine without the speed bag. My excuse was because I was always in a busy gym and didn’t like waiting my turn to use the speed bag. My REAL excuse was that I didn’t really know how and my trainer never bothered to teach me. It was embarassing to admit that I trained for a year before ever learning how to hit it.
Lucky for you, I eventually did figure out how to hit the speedbag and I even figured out an easy way to help any beginner learn how to hit the speed bag. This is the EASIEST way to learn how to hit the speed bag. Great for beginners or anyone to use one of boxing’s most useful piece of training equipment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any natural rhythm, coordination, or just suck at hitting moving targets. As long as you follow these tips, I promise you WILL be able to hit the speed bag!
Excited? Probably not, but anyways let’s give it a shot…
Learning How to Hit a Speed Bag
Here’s a video I made to help you learn faster.
Speed Bag Rhythm
The first step to hitting the speed is knowing the rhythm. Just know that the speed bag will rebound 3 times for every hit. So if it you hit it once, it will go FORWARD-BACK-FORWARD, and then come at you to be hit again. *HIT!*, wait 3 bounces, *HIT!*, wait 3 bounces, repeat for an entire round.
Tips to Hit the Speed Bag
1. Open your hands
Don’t make a fist. Don’t hit with your knuckles, at least not for beginners. Beginners hitting with their knuckles will quickly lose control and end up hitting the bag too hard or too fast. Hitting with the fingers will help beginners slow down the pace and get use to the rhythm. This is probably my best discovery for helping others learn how to hit the speed bag.
2. Hold both hands close to the bag
Keep your hands close to the bag. Keeping your hands close will allow you to hit the bag without having to race your hands to it. If you let your hands get too far from the bag, you’ll end up moving it too fast to hit the bag which makes you hit the bag too hard. Keep your hands close! When one hand is hitting, the other hand should be waiting right under the bag.
3. Hit in small circles
Your hand should travel in make small circles in the air when you hit the speed bag. You’re not swinging your fists back and forth, you are making small circles in the air. You can even practice making small circles in the air to get use to the motion before trying it on the speed bag. Just remember to make circles.
4. RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT-LEFT rhythm
The best rhythm for beginners is to go right-right-left-left. This means hitting twice with your right hand, then twice with your left hand, and repeat. On the first hit, you use the front of your fist. On the second hit, you use the bottom of your fist. It should feel like a natural setup for when you switch to the other hand.
Some trainers will recommend going 3 times for each hand. It’s up to you.
5. Stand square
You are not in your boxing stance. You should be standing square in front of the bag with both feet at equal distance from the speed bag. Stand a little closer than arm’s length from the bag. You can move closer or farther until it feels comfortable. Your eye should be level with the bottom of the speed bag, but a little lower or higher would also be ok.
Working the Speed Bag
I am pretty confident anyone can learn how to hit the speed bag in 10 minutes or less using the tips I put above. Once you get the hang of hitting the bag with your hands open, try closing your hands and hitting it with your fist. You will use the same right-right-left-left rhythm, but with a slight difference. This time you will hit with the front of your fist on the first hit, and then the bottom of your fist on the next hit. So it should go right-forward, right-down, left-forward, left-down. The speed bag is a great (fun) workout, improves your punch endurance, timing, speed, and accuracy. Nobody should be missing out on this!
Try teaching everyone this method and let me know how it works. I never let anyone tell me they can’t hit the speed bag.
Have fun and look up youtube videos to see more creative ways to hit the speed bag. It’s a fun and useful exercise for boxing.
What boxing speed bag to buy?
I recommend the speedbag below as well as any other smaller sized Title speed bag. I recommend the smaller size even for beginners because you’re likely to outgrow the big ones very quickly when you get better at hitting it. I also recommend the higher quality swivel for a much smoother swing. It’s optional as you don’t have to get the fancy swivel makes a HUGE difference (much quieter, smoother rhythm, longer-lasting, less annoying).
double end bag
Would you please show us the proper way to hit a double end bag?
@Gonzo – yes, will do in a future post.
hi i was wondering what size that speed bag is. plz respond. thanks.
Sam, that speed bag is a small one. I don’t know what size but it’s as small as I’ve ever seen one.
Thank you for great tips, advises and videos! After stumbling to this site by accident, it has honestly became one of my most visited sites to mine for all the information I can get for the Sweet Science. It is truly a great resource for those of us who are forced to train just a few hours a week with sub-par trainers/partners. Keep up the good work!
@KievPapa – thank you!
AWESOME AWESOME work. Just got the new e-mail, everything is great
Keep up the good work ,I teach some of the stuf you teach -your a better a teacher -thanks
Thanks a lot
Again Thanks a lot sir. I tried it and its working so well….. I could continue for all 3 minutes rounds without breaks with the help of your technique…..
Thanks, everyone. Try teaching all your friends to learn the speed bag and let me know how it goes!
what about the proper size and air in the speed bag should be used for best performance. I have the everlast up to 4lbs pressure dont really like it to much
@Adrian – errr… I don’t know what the right air pressure should be. It shouldn’t be too hard or too fast. If you’re a fast hitter, you might like a little more air.
Brilliant tip, thanks Coach!!
can u please tell me wat kind of a speed bag 2 take and da kind of swivel 2 take
Any namebrand speedbag and nice swivel that cost more than $10 should work fine. If you’re need something better, by the more expensive stuff. Titleboxing has a pretty good selection.
Thanks for the tips. I haven’t hit a speed bag in about 16 years and I’m a bit “rusty”.
16 years is a long time, Gil. I can’t go 2 weeks without getting rusty.
Hitting the speed bag is definitely not as hard as it looks and can be learned in a relatively short period of time. I really don’t think it is all that valuable in becoming extremely proficient in it as long as the fighter keeps his hands held high while hitting the bag. I think besides developing some hand and eye coordination, the main purpose of the speed bag is to develop muscular endurance in the shoulders and arms while teaching the fighter to keep his hands held high.
can speed bags also improve reflexes? thats what it seems for me
It might help but not really in my opinion.
Following the sound doesn’t work so well for me i just swing when the ball bounces back and i meet the ball half way
Hi Johnny N,
Thanks for posting this. Ive got a bit of an embaressing story about this subject!
I started boxing when i was about 7 and when i joined the Army i went on to become a pretty decent boxer. Not great but i am better than average. I love all boxing stories and enjoy the movies and real life drama you get from the stage when it’s fight night.
So with years of experience it’s sad to admit that until about a week ago i have never even touched a speed ball for more than 2-3 minutes as there was never one is the gyms we used! But if ther was one in another gym i would avoid it for fear of embaressment.
I have just started using one this week! And already Im feeling I’ve missed out. I have picked it up pretty quick and now that i have read your advice i am confident i can master it in a few months of daily training!
i have a few speed bags, but ive noticed the vinyl bag i have rebounds much faster than the leather, can u plz explain??
Maybe the amount of air in the bags is different? Or maybe leather material is softer and absorbs more of the impact energy. Either way, I use leather bags and put more air if I want faster rebounds.
SteveB..I wasn’t the best at the speed bag either but now, it’s my favorite piece of equipment.
kinda new to punch and speed bag but i know useing punch bag training mitts good for at home training but are they benneficial for speed bag training or would i bennefit from actual boxing gloves for the speed bag ?
Speed bag training can be done with bare hands or with wraps. I wouldn’t recommend using boxing gloves for the speed bag because they slow you down.
To clarify, don’t you mean you hit it with the front of your fist then the side of your fist? (not bottom)?
Ahhh good question. The “side” and the “bottom” change depending on how your fist is oriented. By “bottom”, I mean the side of my fist by the pinky, not the side where the fingernails are.
Which is the kind of swivel that only moves back and forth, is it the U swivle?
I’m not sure what you’re referring to. All swivels I’ve seen swing in every way.
sir jhonny is it advisable to use a speed bag with wrist weights or not?
NO! Terrible idea! Don’t do it.
Pretty much using the open hand method i was going in about 10 mins.
Just one thing though – what’s the best way to speed up?
I think it might be my speed bag as it needs to be a bit tighter.
Can you recommend the best speed bag platform please?
The best way to speed up is to hit with smaller circles, using better timing, and perhaps even a little more energy. The best speed bag platform has 2 support bars instead of 1 support bar (much more stable without shaking). There are many different brands. A really good one can cost around $500 and up.
is there any problem working the speed bag barehanded with no wraps or gloves?
I prefer bare-handed myself since it has better grip than with handwraps. As for gloves, you’re not supposed to hit it with gloves on.
Johnny I used hand wrap as but my left pinky knuckle started hurting my hands were so tight and compressed but when I took em off and hit it bare handed the pain stopped and I felt more of a rhythm than I did with the wraps I would lose control but bare handed its smoothe is it fine to go bare handed for good like my knuckle won’t hurt again?
When I hit the bag it swivels alot. Any tips on getting a more controlled punch back and forth.
Hit more accurately. Try aiming a little higher on the bag instead of right at the tip. Do it with barehands instead of with wraps on. Use a quality speed bag platform.
Great tips, thanks!
I got a question on hitting the speed bag. My friend who used to be an undefeated club fighter down in Tooele, Utah suggested to me that I hit the speed bag in an alternative way.
He suggested the I throw hit the bag like I was throwing a jab (cross hitting it with pointer finger knuckle, and middle finger knuckle) then come back across with the same hand (cross hitting it with pinky finger knuckle and ring finger knuckle) and then just keep switching back and forth between hands.
He said that most boxers hit it the way that you are teaching how to hit it but, he said it helps you have better form to punch it the way he said to punch it. I was just wondering if this was correct or not.
Try both methods and see what you like. That’s the beauty of learning; you get to explore through many different methods.
Johnny wanted to know is hitting a bigger speed bag more difficult than hitting a smaller one?
Hitting a smaller speedbag is harder.
hitting a speedbag is so hard…. it swivels in so many places! i just… argghhhhhh! anyway, thanks for the help and i hope i can figure this speedbag thing out. 🙂
Thanks Johnny, I just got a speedbag and this is a good vid, the open hands closer together has really helped. Cheers! 🙂
Good Afternoon, I still have trouble hitting the speed bag. What are its advantages in a fight?
Thank you ,
The speed bag is great for shoulder & arm conditioning…which means better punch endurance, punch speed, rhythm, timing, accuracy.
Thank you Johnny
I am a complete novice to boxing but I am looking to get a speed bag to use as part of my fitness routine. However, I have also just come across some articles and your video about the double end bag which looks like a lot of fun also. I am now not sure which one I should buy to get started. Could you give me any advice?
Great website by the way!
How about trying both at a boxing gym and see which one you like before you buy? I also don’t see why they couldn’t both co-exist. Have fun, Chris!
I FOUND FOR ME NOT LOOKING AT THE BAG AS MUCH AS LISTENING TO THE RYTHMN HELPED.
This is true! I’ll sometimes look at the bag only to see the angle that it travels but I rely on my ears to tell me when to hit.
Hey guys, I just found about about this speed bag which is portable and fits into a doorway. It doubles as a pull up bar. Its called the EZspeedbag, here’s a clip
I have my speed bag set up underneath a shelf and it only bounces as I hit it. The shelf is too narrow for rebounds. I hit it after 1 bounce. Is that defeating the purpose?
First of all, love your blog, I have shared it with my students.
I’ve just started a new boxing gym at work.
I used to practice boxing with sparring and competition at my old gym.
But I find it hard to motivate my students to spar. I know from self experience that it’s the best and only way to really test your skills and endurance.
Any tips you’d like to share??
I also have a question about the speedball. What is the best height for the speedball? Head height or above?
Once again, Love this blog!
Haha…try SLOW SPARRING. I also have an article about “Sparring for Beginners” with tons of easy partner drills and that can eventually lead up to full contact sparring.
About the speedbag height, the most ideal for a shoulder workout is where the bottom of the bag is level with the puncher’s eyeline. But of course, many people will feel more comfortable and speedy when the bag is a little lower where the eye line is level with the widest part of the speedbag.
I am doing boxing training at an MMA gyn, and they don’t have a speed bag or double end bag. Do you think lacking these is a good reason to switch to a full boxing gym? It seems these are pretty important training tools, though I may be able to hang a speed bag in my apartment.
Awesome article. I’ve been boxing for a number of years now, and it’s a great sport to learn how to safely throw and receive punches properly. Not everyone can make it to the gym though (schedules and what not), so its great to have some workout equipment at home. I spend a lot of time woodworking in the garage, so I decided to build a retractable speed bag platform there ( blog post at http://www.justmeasuringup.com/blog/diy-boxing-speed-bag-station-that-stows ) to keep up my reflexes and wrist strength. It’s a great outlet for energy as well, and keeps your arms nice and loose.
I want to ask about ball spinning.
I learn your 123 hit,but the ball spinning a lot,is it because the swivel to much rotating or something else.
Which one is best not rotating but the U hook swinging good.
If the ball is spinning a lot, you simply need to hit it more accurately. It takes time and some practice. Also if if the bag is too slippery or if you’re wearing handwraps, that can be a problem, too.
Great instruction – pithy and precise. Well written too. Thanks for this.
The speed bag has been part of my exercise for over 30 years (I’ll be 50 this year), my daughter learned to use it on a step ladder by the time she was ten by watching me. lol.
There’s a book titled the Speed Bag Bible, or something like that which teaches it just like you do, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’d just like to add a few other pointers that have helped me keep this great exercise in my life. It has even been my only cardio when I’ve had broken bones in my legs or feet.
1) In the book it talks about adding more weight to the platform. Another layer of wood. I’ve seen this in gyms also. It really seems to make a difference to me.This applies to those that are setting one up at home of course.
2) I prefer a higher air pressure, it just seems to force me to focus more on accuracy and coordination. I’ve seen films of boxers in the 40’s that had huge speed bags almost 2 ft across – times have changed.
3) Again my preference and mainly if you are getting a set up for home: Try what’s called an ‘Italian’ swivel. They look like a couple links from a bicycle chain. Once I tried one of these the difference was phenomenal. I go out of my way to use nothing but these now, and again I’ve seen gyms that had nothing but these swivels. They are just faster and smoother and force me to keep going in a way the others don’t..
Anyways, that’s my three cents. I recently found your site, and I really appreciate it. My daughter is in her 20’s now and several states away but still gets excited when I tell her I have a new speed bag or something similar. It’s funny how these little things can bring people together.
I love that book, JB. I’ve seen it a couple times at the gym or so a long time ago.
hey there – thanks for this video. i’m new to boxing – actually i started kickboxing about two months ago and finally tried out the speed bag at my regular gym. after watching your video, 10 minutes was all it took – i can actually go at a pretty good rhythm now! i have question about height of the bag – i’m a shorter female – 5’2″ and i found myself sort of having to lean back to get the right striking access to the bag. is there a recommended starting height i should set it at?
What size is the bag in the video?
I can’t remember but it’s one of the smaller sizes for sure.
Looks like the 4×6
I’ve been hitting the speed bag for a while and seen my share of teaching articles and video’s. This is a solid, well written article Speed Bag training article. Great Blog also! I like the Idea of starting with open hands, pushing the bag for 3 rebounds. Just a tip: You can also use 5 rebounds if 3 is too fast. Too hook up with other speed baggers around the world you might visit speedbagforums.com also.
Hey Alan, it’s an honor to have you stop by! I’m a big fan of your work. Speaking of which, I should add purchase links to your instructional products right now on this guide.
Great video and explanation! Like you said, the fingertips thing is really key to getting the hang of it. I’ve owned a speed bag for a few years by now and watched and read a lot of stuff about it but could never anywhere on it. I read your article and had never heard of starting with fingertips, so I gave it a go. I was able to get a short series of good hits in under ten minutes, like you said. With more work that day, I was able to get a longer series of hits with rolling punches. Day 2, I was able to alternate straight and rolling punches, both hands, and get an even longer series of hits. I was primarily hitting off of audio cues. Because of this, I was actually able to get a short series of hits, only four, but with eyes closed! Day 3, I was able to go continuously for about ten minutes, with periods of increased speed where I was able to punch significantly harder but still keep my timing. I can actually see the bag and choose the angle to hit at now, where at first all my brain processed was a blur.
Anyhow, the point is that this has been one of the most directly and rapidly useful training videos I’ve ever watched. My speed bag skill has gone from 0 where I’d given up almost all hope of learning it to where I think I can teach friends in just a few days!
Thanks a ton! I will definitely be checking out a lot more of your videos.
So glad this helped you, Will. I still teach beginners with this exact same formula and it never fails. See you around!
Hello, and good day! I greatly appreciate the simplicity of how to hit a speed bag. Psychology discouraged at first glance in times past, confidence at a new high.
Learning to hit speedball
https:// jimbradley.com.au/ blogs/news/ 15273161-learn-how-to-hit-a-speedball
Who copied who? Or are they both from the same source?
Ugh….this frustrates me to no end. Mine is the original and many sites like these simply rip off from mine without permission. If you’ve read enough of my articles, you can tell it’s my writing as well.
Learning to hit speedball
Yeah i’ve watched a lot of your youtube videos, they’re great. Hope you can get it fixed.
Do not focus a great deal of your time on a speed bag. It is only good for hand-eye coordination. But it will create bad habits in your stance, punches, movement, defense, etc. If you try to box like you hit a speed bag, you will get your a** kicked! I only use it for arm endurance, attention/focus, and coordination. These skills can be aquired from a ton of different types of exercises. I would spend more time on a double end bag, or even a heavy bag! Don’t get me wrong, it helps to make you more skilled. But I know people that can do all kinds of crazy tricks and hit 2 bags at the same time, etc.; but they can’t box worth a crap. Again, use it. But my fighters are only allowed to use it in moderations.
How long in duration is a good speed bag workout and how does this fit into the rest of your workout? I’ve been using for a three round warm up before my actual work out. Wondering if longer duration with no breaks would be more beneficial…15 -20mins
3 rounds with 1-min break is probably best for beginners. If you love it, do more but don’t take away from the other exercises and drills you should be doing!
Thanks for a great website. I always learned to hit the speedbag on the pinky side of the fist but I’m at a new gym where they always hit with the front like a regular punch. When I do this my wrist is bent (because of the square stance and short distance to speedbag). The top of my hands sometime hurt after. Is this way to hit the bag normal? And are the bent wrists not a problem? I always worry about hitting with the bent wrist.
Try watching my video and see what you’re doing different. Try standing more square to the bag and farther away if your wrist is so bent.