Skill Levels

* Introduction
* Beginner Skill Level
  * Four Step Progression
* Advanced Skill Level

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Training with the speed bag or any other fitness equipment carries inherent risks. The following workout information is offered for educational purposes only and is in no way endorsed or suggested to be used by anyone. suggests everyone train safely on the speed bag and proceed at their own risk. Please follow all safety precautions given on any equipment and do not exceed your limits of ability or design limits of the equipment. Any equipment modifications or set ups shown are not necessarily endorsed or approved by the manufacturers.

Beginners should focus on a couple of things to overcome the biggest problems to learning. Keep it simple.

? Make sure your equipment is correct for you or it may retard your progress. The two main reasons for failure are (1) the bag is too small or fast for your level of ability and (2) The bag is not at the proper level, probably too high. Make sure it is set correctly or you will use an improper swing to hit it. A bag set too high will create very poor swing motions, and you may find yourself constanting hitting the bag on the "upstroke", making it fly up off the swivel. Or you may move your arms up and down to reach the bag. This may work for a simple boxing workout hitting from the front area of the bag, but a "high bag" makes it very difficult to pass the fists through to all sides of the bag. The proper speed bag setup and stance is shown at right. Notice the belly of the bag (fattest part) is set at mouth level. This alignment will let the fists make contact at the proper location in your swing, and let them easily pass straight out and back through the speed bag.  This setting may be deemed "too low" for some boxing trainers, who want their boxers to hold their hands higher. But remember, a speed bag workout for competitive boxers usually does not focus on punches, movements or elbow strikes that are not used in the ring. Competitive boxers normally do not focus on hitting from all around the speed bag and passing their hands "through the bag" to hit from behind or the sides.
 IF you want to learn to hit the speed bag in a more comprehensive manner (called by some: Speed Bag Bible Style Punching) from all around the bag with fists and elbows - than the set up shown here is the most efficient setup.

? It will be easier if you understand as much as you can about how the bag works. Review the topics under the section "Speed Bag Basics" so you know what to expect.
? Another reason that beginners struggle is hitting too hard. A speed bag can rebound several times by just the weight of your hand contacting it. Hit easy! Think control bag rather than speed bag. A good tip to gain control over the speed and force of your punching is to count the rebounds. The bag can quickly outrun your ability to count, so you will have to go slow and easy to count each rebound off the board. As you gain control, you can go a little faster. You are striving for repetitive consistency in speed and power.

? Start with only a few Single fist punching techniques from the front of the bag, such as the Front Circle Punch (FCP) and Front Straight Punch (FSP). Front Fist Rolling is also fairly easy for beginners. 
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Below is a simple FOUR STEP PROGESSION FOR A BEGINNER which covers any level of bag or body control. You can use each level for several workouts until you progress to the next:
1. Hit the bag once. Stop the Bag. Get ready and hit it again. You are hitting a non-moving bag. This eliminates any need to control your punching force or speed. Hit it as hard as you want. Just stop the bag and reposition before you hit it again.
2. Hit the bag. Let is swing until it stops hitting the Board.  Just before it stops, hit it again. This eliminates any need to control your force, since you will wait until it almost stops before hitting it again. Watch the angles of the bag rebounding. When the bag almost stops, and is angled away from you, then hit it again - as hard or soft as you want, or can.
3. Hit the bag and count the rebounds.  Start with a higher number of rebounds, such as seven ( 7 ).   the goal is to Punch again after the bag makes that same number of rebounds. Start with 7,aAfter a few workouts, reduce the number of rebounds to five (5). In this step you will have to start watching your punching force and swing movments - for you need to be ready to punch after the correct number of rebounds. This level starts to let your ears take control of your movements and timing. Start hearing and feeling the bag beat. You will find this is best, for your eyes are always slightly behind the bags location.
4. Hit the bag after three (3) rebounds.  This is the Triplet Rhythm.  Start this slowly. When you can do this repetitively, try and go a little faster. But always emphasize control.
  * *  Steps 1 & 2 are also good for people who may have some neuromuscular movement problems such as parkinsons disease, cerebral palsy or cervical spine conditions that warrant a slower, less repetitive punching pace. That's OK!  The speed bag will adapt for you perfectly. It will adapt for ANYONE.
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Beginner  Tips
?  Try to increase your punching speed by swinging SMALLER, not harder. It is easier if you relax. Muscular tension will eventually reduce your repetitive punching speed.   
?  Strive to punch "into" the belly of the bag, not "downward" on top of the belly area. It is sometimes hard to tell this on your own, for you don't see your own shoulder and elbow raising up and down. Punching in an up and downward action rakes your fist down the front area of the bag, rather than punching into it. You want to be making more of a circling motion from the elbow. The best tip is to make the bag contact the highest part of your fist motion. If possible, have someone watch from the side to see if your whole arm is moving up and down, rather than a circling motion from the elbow.
? Beginners should rename the "speed" bag to a "control" bag". Speed will come with control. That happens automatically. Trying to go fast as a beginner will only cause frustration and you may always be starting and stopping the bag. Every punch will be harder than the previous one, as you are struggling to catch the bag. Muscular tension in your shoulders and arms will increase, making it worse. After 4 or 5 punches, you're lost and have to start over. The key is LESS force, more control. Remember, you learned to walk slowly, then naturally progessed to running. Right now, you are walking. Enjoy walking the bag for a while. It is not a race.  
? Too keep the bag going consistently, every punch should be of equal force. This keeps the bag going repetitively at the same speed. If you hit harder, it will go faster. Using equal force is the key to improving your rhythm & timing. Be patient. It takes time. With practice you will be able to vary your punching force. As a beginner - PUNCH LIGHTLY.
? If you are just hitting from the front area of the bag, you might move back slightly which will make the fist contact later in your arm extension. This will reduce the size of your follow through motion and help control. Moving your distance close and back away from the bag also helps you learn to adjust your timing for variable distances to the target.
?  Be patient. It takes time. When all else fails, blame the swivel. It was probably loose.

Advanced skill level
With advanced skill, you have developed good control over your punching force and swinging motions. You can vary your speed, punching as fast or slow as you want and keep the bag going for several minutes. Perhaps you can do a few other fist techniques or elbow strikes. Whatever your skill, you are ready to advance on to learn new things. Here are a few tips:
?   Start learning new techniques. Perhaps all the front fist techniques or some elbow strikes. There are outward, inward and downward elbow strikes. They will combine with the other front techniques after an odd number of rebounds.
?   Consider using other areas of the bag, and learning the three reverse techniques. They are the Reverse Single Punch (RSP), the Reverse Double Punch (RDP) and the Reverse Fist Roll (R-Roll).
? Learn to create combinations from different bag areas. Try and ?link? the front and reverse bag area techniques together. Begin by passing a single fist ?through the bag? to hit from behind. Keep the elbow up. Use a Front Circle Punch which hits the side of the fist, and move the fist straight through. You do not have to purposely duck your fist under to go behind the bag! Slow motion analysis reveals that the bag is touching the board and over your hand when you extend your fist straight out. When the bag descends off the board your fist is already behind it. The secret is the raised elbow position and contacting the belly of the bag. These combinations occur after an even number of rebounds. You can use either four or two rebounds. Two rebounds will create the single fist pass through rhythmtip: If you have problems going from the front to back, start the combination from behind the bag and do the reverse punch first. The reverse technique is usually more difficult since you can not see that contact area.
 * You can see a video demonstration of  Front Circle Punch to Reverse Single Punch Linking  in video clip #3 of the multimedia section for speed bag combinations.


? Try passing both fists through the bag, from a Front Double Punch (FDP) to Reverse Double Punch (RDP), shown below. Do the front double punch and extend your fists straight out by extending the elbows. Then bring your fists straight back. This is normally a smooth movement and the fists should not hesitate or stop anywhere in the movement. This will create the double fist pass through rhythm. If going front-to-back is difficult, start with the fists behind the bag and do the Reverse Double Punch first.   TIP: the spacing between both fists should be the same while extending out in the Front Double Punch (FDP) and coming back in the Reverse Double Punch (RDP).
 * You can see a video demonstration of  Front Double Punch to Reverse Double Punch Linking  in video clip #2 of the multimedia section for speed bag combinations.

? Try combining the reverse techniques with the elbow strikes. You can do this with either a single fist or double fist. The secret is understanding that once the elbow hits the bag, the rest of the elbow technique IS fist contacts. Just let it pass through like before. For example, in the Outward-Triple Elbow Strike, ( picture below ) the elbow hits the bag first in an outward direction, then the lead fist and second fist make contact with one rebound in between. The two fists after the elbow hits could also be a Front Double Punch.
 * You can see a video demonstration of the Outward-Triple Elbow Strike in video clip #7 of the multimedia section for speed bag combinations.
 ? Try combining the reverse techniques with the elbow strikes. You can this with either a single or double fist technique.
? The secret to creating combinations from all around the bag is learning to maximize your linking ability. (Linking = passing your fist(s) "through the bag" to another area) The key techniques for linking are the Double Fist Techniques: Front Double Punch (FDP), Reverse Double Punch (RDP) and Side Double Punch (SDP). You can always link, or pass through to another area, the (1) Lead Fist in the technique, (2) Second Fist in the technique or (3) Both fists from a Double Punch. Depending on how many techniques you are proficient with, these three linking options can open up hundreds of punching combinations.
?  Once you can pass your fists through the bag from front to back smoothly, consider learning the side punching techniques. The are the most difficult to mix in with the front techniques and are the main reason for Rule of Rhythm #3
* See & Hear Demonstrations of  Single and Double Fist Linking

Multimedia Video:   Speed Bag Combinations 

under the DEMO menu.
Whatever YOUR skill level, discuss it with others!