* 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).
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
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.
• 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 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.
• 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,
bags are the middle ground of speed and ability. They take some
experience to control.
• 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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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
• 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.