The Best Punching Bag Workout

James Ryang

Boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial arts fighters don’t use treadmills to get ripped. Their shredded physiques come from fight training, of which pounding a heavy bag is a major component. Dust off the one in your basement, lace up the gloves, and beat your gut once and for all.

How it Works

Hitting a bag builds punching power, stamina, and can increase your metabolic rate for days afterward. This workout involves your legs as well as your arms to train the whole body, activating as much muscle as possible to burn the most calories.


Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one after the other without rest. Afterward, rest 30 seconds. That’s one round. Repeat for five total rounds. To avoid injury, wear hand wraps and bag gloves.

The Workout

1. Low Kick-Right Leg
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Kick the lower half of the bag, as if aiming for an opponent’s leg. Pivot on your support foot and turn your hip over as you deliver the kick, to maximize power. Complete five low kicks.

2. High Kick-Right Leg
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Kick the upper half of the bag, as if aiming for an opponent’s head. Keep your hands raised as if guarding your chin. Throw five kicks.

3. Low Kick-Left Leg
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Repeat the low kicks on the left leg.

4. High Kick-Left Leg
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Repeat the high kicks on the left leg.

5. Punches
Reps: 20 Rest: 0 sec.
Perform 20 straight punches on the bag, alternating hands. Keep your guard up and turn your hips into each punch.

6. Left Hook
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Perform five left hooks—swing your arm in an arc to hit the side of the bag.

7. Right Hook
Reps: 5 Rest: 0 sec.
Perform five on the right side.

8. Knee Strike
Reps: 5 Rest: 30 sec.
Drive one knee up into the bag. Repeat on the other leg.

Men’s Fitness training director Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., assembled a team of the best trainers in the world to create boredom-beating, plateau-busting routines that cover any amount of time you have to exercise and whatever tools you have available to do it. Programs cover every body part, every implement (barbells, dumbbells, bands, etc.), and cardio. There’s a nutrition plan, too.

Pick up what Arnold Schwarzenegger called “a fantastic collection of workouts” at

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!