* Boards
* Swivels
* Speed Bags
* Hand Protection


Boards, often called the “drum”, come in several sizes, determined by the circumference. Standard sizes are 24 inches up to 36 inches. Small 24 inch boards are normally found in economy home units. Larger ones are found in gyms or high use health clubs.

The best boards have some type of height adjust method, so you can raise or lower it to properly position the bag for the user. Always make sure your board is fully tightened down to reduce vibration. Make sure all items are off the top of the board before hitting the bag that is attached.

• Light small boards of 24 inches, usually made of presswood, may need some reinforcement with another piece of wood attached on top for added weight or support. This will add stability and reduce vibration. (see photo).

• Before you attach the swivel, drill your swivel holes all the way through the board. (see swivel tips)



The swivel is the middle part of the setup and is the main part that provides bag movement. The swivel base attaches to the board and a movement portion attaches to the bag. Currently there are three main types of swivels, and several varieties of each.

Ball Hook
The oldest and simplest design. No swivel parts or connections to influence the bag rebound. The best of these have two parts. A base connection which attaches to the board, and an action part which connects to the bag. Avoid single piece ball-hooks, since the metal housing can wear over time and the ball will fall out. The ball-hook is the noisiest swivel but provides a clean fast reaction.

Has one or more links of chain in the design. Quieter than the ballhook, but more difficult to attach the bag.
Newer speed bar designs
These may be one or two piece construction, with ball bearings for movement and a bar to attach the bag. Quiet and fast but the bag can “slide” along the bar and interfere with the rebound angle or bag speed. Usually very easy to change bags on these.
Swivel Tips:
• For high use areas, It is recommended to drill your swivel holes all the way through the board and use bolts to attach the swivel base to the board. This will eliminate the base of the swivel from coming loose.
• For a two piece screw type ( ball-hook and chain link) use vice-grips to tighten the bottom part of the swivel. This will give enough pressure to keep the bottom tight. Hand tight only will constantly come loose. For chain link swivels, keep a set of 90 Degree Tip Retaining Ring Pliers handy to open the link and change bags.
• For bar type swivels, put some tape around the bag loop to draw it tight and keep it in contact with the bar at all times. Otherwise it may “float” up, losing contact, when you slightly mishit in an upward direction. This will slow the bag down enough to screw up your routine.
• When you are having problems hitting the bag, and seem to have lost control – check the swivel. Something is probably loose. Even if it isn’t, it is best to blame it on the swivel.


Speed Bags

Speed bags come in an assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Although sizes are fairly standard, the exact shape of each “size” depends on the company making it. There is little uniformity between brands, so a size 9x6 speed bag from one company may not look like or respond like a 9x6 from another company. Although the “number size” may be the same, one may be short and teardrop shaped, the other elongated like a ‘banana” (called Mexican style) and narrower around. An 11x8 medium bag size may actually be listed as an 11x7 by another company. That is why most people find a size, shape and brand they prefer and stay with it.

Speed Bag size is also one of the greatest reasons that people fail to learn or advance. Usually they are struggling with a small bag that requires control of punching power and fist speed. It may make a world of difference to simply use a larger bag! The main point of each size is listed below.

Large Bags,
• Sizes: 14x9, 13x10, 12x10, 11x8
• Made by only a few companies. They are slower and easier to control. They build strength and power. These bags can create heavier pounding rebounds and require a stronger reinforced board, preferably 36 inches. These larger bags may also extend past a 24 inch board.

Medium size bags
• Sizes: 10x7, 9x6,
• Medium bags are the middle ground of speed and ability. They take some experience to control.
Small Bags
• Sizes: 8x5, 7x4, 6.5x4, ,
• Very fast and demand excellent control of punching power and swinging speed. Not best for beginners. Note the two 8x5 bags at right and the different shapes for the same size.
Bag tips.
• To determine proper inflation level, pump until all the wrinkles are out of the outer leather and the bag is smooth. Then put in one or two more. You should be able to gently squeeze the inflated bag and push the leather in slightly.
• Repairing or changing the air bladder inside the bag is a pain at best. If possible, purchase several bags at the same time so if one fails you have another ready to use.
• Keep the outer leather covering dry and use a conditioning cream if the leather cracks.
• For the Beginner, the smallest of the large bags, 11x8, is an excellent size for starting out. It is more forgiving and easier to control. It is slow enough to keep up with if you hit too hard, as beginners tend to do. It will also allow for a faster power workout when your skill level allows it.
• For beginners, if you are forced to use a medium or small bag, and you are struggling with control, it may be easier to let a little air out of the bag, but do not let the leather crease. This will make it slightly softer and easier to control. Also, SLOW DOWN.
• For Advanced users wanting to go a little faster? Put a little more air in the bag. Just a few pumps can really accelerate the rebounds. But be warned: You risk damaging the bladder or risking a blow out. Also, over-inflation will make it feel like a brick when your hand hits.


Hand protection

Your fists may contact the bag hundreds of times during a speed bag work out, so hand protection is very important. There are several types of protection Wraps & Gloves.

Hand Wraps
Strips of cloth that wrap around several times around the hand. These provide needed support to the small bones. Many types are available and most have a thumb attachment and adhesive strip. You do not have to wraps as severely for speed bag as you do for the heavy bag. A sample is shown.

Hand Protection Tips:
• Hand wraps are more difficult to use and keep on but offer the most protection and support when used properly
• Mitten style gloves have a lot of extra material on the sides of the fist with may interfere when hitting the bag with the sides of the fist. They also tend to slip on the bag if made of a shiny or smooth material. They are not recommended.
• With half-fingered gloves, watch out for seams directly over the contact surface of the fist, particularly over the large knuckles of the index and little finger.

There are several varieties of gloves, from the older mitten type to the half-fingered workout gloves. Gloves protect the skin of the knuckles but do not support the small bones in the hand. Dedicated speed bag gloves are shown at right.



© SpeedBagCentral.com 2004