When it comes to Muay Thai basics, the heavy bag is perhaps one of the most critical pieces of equipment you can buy. Used by many to improve speed, strength, and technique, heavy bags can also be used in situations where a training partner is in short supply.
Surprisingly, though, gyms in the Western World do not utilize heavy bags as much as they could be. Many gyms that offer training areas for Muay Thai and other martial arts (and those who practice them) still shy away from their use, opting for one-on-one training using partners.
Why? Muay Thai is not a team sport but has been practiced in pairs since its creation, so there is a bit of a stigma about branching out into solo training, as many fear that it is not as beneficial.
That’s why I’m here to change that. Arguably, heavy bags boast a plethora of benefits and should be used by anyone who practices with the intent of improving and/or competing on a semi-professional or professional level.
Below, I’ll let you in on the secrets of choosing the best Muay Thai bag for your next session.
Table of Content
- 1 How To Pick Your Heavy Bag
- 2 Muay Thai Heavy Bag Reviews
- 3 How to Choose a Kickboxing Bag
- 4 Final Thoughts
How To Pick Your Heavy Bag
The first thing you need to understand when buying a heavy bag is the varying heavy bag styles – and yes, there are more than one! Once you know them, you can more accurately choose a heavy bag suitable for your training style and that meets your needs to improve your techniques/
There are a number of heavy bags available (like water punching bag) and each one has been designed with a different use in mind. Some are best suited for kicking, some for shin conditioning and strength, some for speed, and other for punching with muay thai gloves and knuckle strength.
The key to finding a good one is finding one that fits with your training goals and suits you well.
Here are a few of the most popular heavy bag types and who suits them the best.
Banana Heavy Bag
Recognized by their elongated shape and thin body, banana heavy bags are another common find in global Muay Thai gyms. They are usually around 6 feet in length and are designed to be used for the practice of low kicks.
In general, they’re also heavier and less flexible than traditional heavy bags. This is so that using them will condition your shins as you practice, preventing you from being injured in a real combat session. They can be used for other purposes, but most of the time are used specifically for low kicks.
- Ideal size for combination training
- Added weight for shin strengthening during use
- Long length that is good for low kicks
- Does not swing much
- Much too thin for body kick practice
Traditional Muay Thai Heavy Bag
Traditional heavy bags are great for general training. As a rule of thumb, they’re created for general-purpose use and aren’t designed for specialized routines or for training certain areas of the body. Regardless, where there is a Muay Thai gym there is a traditional heavy bag, as they are a staple all around the world.
They have a basic, cylindrical shape and are around 4 ft long. Most weigh somewhere between 60 and 150 pounds. The heavier versions of these bags are often used for increasing the strength of punches and kicks, while the lighter versions are used for increasing the speed of various movements.
- Their defined swings allow you to improve movements
- Their weight aids in resistance training
- General, multi-purpose tool
- Short length is not ideal for kicks low to the ground
- No curved shape for special punches
Tear Drop Heavy Bag
As its name might suggest, this heavy bag is tear dropped shaped and rather small compared to many of others. However, this small size makes it ideal for knee throwing. Like the angled heavy bag, it can be used for the practice of uppercuts and hooks.
It can be used for practicing kicks, but isn’t the ideal bag for this.
- Perfect for hooks and uppercuts
- Plenty of resistance for adequate strength building
- Ideal for elbow and knee moves
- Not ideal for low kicks
- Very little swing
Angled Heavy Bag
Angled heavy bags sit somewhere between the sizes of the banana and tear drop heavy bag (which we will talk about next). The most distinguishable feature of this bag is its shape, featuring an angled area at the top. This area is to increase the practice efficiency of uppercut, hooks, and other specialized punches and strikes.
Majority of these heavy bags are between 4 and 6ft in length, with the longer versions enabling you to practice low kicks, as well. The longer versions, by many, are considered to be the perfect meshing of the banana and traditional heavy bag, making them great for general training.
- Long length that makes low kicks possible
- An angled area for practicing punches
- 6 foot variety great for general-purpose practice
- Too hard/thick for many moves
- Do not swing much at all
Wrecking Ball Heavy Bag
The wrecking ball heavy bag was originally created for boxing, but has its benefits to those practicing Muay Thai, as well. The most ideal use for it is punching practice, since they are a lot smaller and hang lower to the ground than other heavy bags. This alone makes them great for practicing hooks and uppercuts.
Despite their name, they don’t have to be circular in shape. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making it easy to find one that fits your unique training needs and individual preferences.
- Good for uppercut practice
- Ideal for uppercut combo practice
- Sits at eye level
- Can only be used for one training purpose
- Not suitable for kicking
Muay Thai Heavy Bag Reviews
We’ve put together this comprehensive list of the top 8 Muay Thai heavy bags. There’s something to meet every preference and training type.
- Outslayer Muay Thai Heavy Bag
If you’re familiar with fighting equipment, then Outslayer is a name you’ve definitely heard of. They’re one of the biggest in the biz and this bag is made to the same high standard as the rest of their products. It’s built from the highest quality materials and made to last.
One of the things we liked most about this heavy bag was the comfort it provides. It’s very strong and responsive to kicks and punches, but it’s also got a durable vinyl exterior and soft, fabric interior.
This Outslayer heavy bag is 6 feet in length and it’s default weight is 130 pounds. However, the weight it completely customizable – allowing you decrease the weight or add up to 300 pounds. This is an all around excellent choice for all of your Muay Thai training needs.
2. Combat Sports Thai Heavy Bag
This Muay Thai heavy bag from Combat sports is very comparable to the one from Outslayer when it comes to durability, cost and comfort. Both brands build their bags with synthetic leather material that allows them to be used vigorously and endure years of training.
This bag, however, does come at a default weight of 100 pounds, but you can always fill it to increase the weight to your liking. It’s also 6 feet in length and an all-in-all great heavy bag for general Muay Thai training.
In terms of traditional style Muay Thai heavy bags, these two from Combat Sports and Outslayer are about as good as they get, and either one would make a great addition to your training regimen.
3. Ringside Wrecking Ball Heavy Bag
When you’re really wanting to focus on your punches, a wrecking ball heavy bag is going to be your best friend. This one from Ringside is perfect one. The small size is great for improving speed and accuracy.
This wrecking ball bag is only 15 x 18 inches and about 50 pounds. Using a smaller bag is also great for working on uppercuts. The unique, angled design on this bag also makes it ideal for practicing quick, specialized combos with ease.
4. Fairfax Teardrop Heavy Bag
If you’re really wanting to work on your punches and feel like a banana or traditional bag isn’t going to cut it for you, a teardrop bag is the way to go. Fairfax has made one of the best. This extremely durable bag is very heavy, and very comfortable to use.
This bag was designed to resist swing and constructed with premium, high-quality leather to help you build strength. It’s shape and size are perfect for punches, kicks and knees, while it’s unique angle allows for easy hooks and uppercuts.
This teardrop bag is a great addition to your arsenal of equipment and is best used along with a more traditional heavy bag for more comprehensive and thorough Muay Thai training.
5. Fairtex Muay Thai Banana Bag
If you’re looking for something more than the traditional style, Fairfax’s banana bag would be a great option for you. This banana shaped bag weighs 95 pounds and is 6 feet long.
The benefit of going with a banana bag as opposed to the above styles, is that they’re slimmer and lighter. This allows them to be more responsive to hits, causing them to swing more and help with movement training.
This bag is also made from synthetic leather that makes it durable, but comfortable when striking. If you’re looking for something that is specifically designed for low kicking, this banana bag from Fairtex could be just what you’re looking for.
6. Hypnotik Thai Heavy Bag
Unlike some brands, this one was designed specifically to be used for Muay Thai Training. More specifically, it’s constructed from top to bottom with the more advanced Muay Thai fighters in mind. That’s not to say that a beginner couldn’t get some use out of it, but someone with more experience would really get the most out of it.
This bag is a bit longer than the others we’ve mentioned so fat, at 6.5 feet and weighs around 120 pounds. The little bit of extra length makes it very ideal for getting in some low kick training.
It’s constructed with a durable, high-quality vinyl material that’s very thick to allow it to respond to impact. It will last through years of high-intensity training. It’s an excellent option for those who take their Muay Thai training very seriously and only want the best.
7. Hypnotik Wrecking Ball Heavy Bag
Hypnotik also offers a great option when it comes to wrecking ball style heavy bags. This one is especially well-known for it weight. At just 2 x 2 feet, it weighs an impressive 70 pounds. Being so heavy, allows it have minimal swing and plenty of resistance.
It’s a great tool for not only practicing punches, it weight also ideal for strengthening your knuckles and shins. It’s construction is very durable and it will withstand vigorous training over long periods of time.
If you’re really looking to complete your home gym and have it optimized for all aspects of Muay Thai training, consider including one of each style of heavy bag: teardrop, banana and wrecking ball.
8. Windy Wall Mount Kickboxing Bag
If you’re a little short on space and thinking that you might prefer a wall mounted heavy bag, this is a great option for you. The Windy Wall Mount Kickboxing bag comes with secure wall brackets that allow for safe mounting to a wall.
This heavy bag offers great feedback and comfort. It’s also incredibly durable thanks to 100% genuine leather. It’s not going to be ideal for practicing low kick because it no more than 3 feet high, but it great for punching, and high kicks.
How to Choose a Kickboxing Bag
Choosing a kickboxing bag is more than simply finding the right type that you need for your personal training needs. There are several other considerations that should be made in order to ensure that you are buying the best type of bag for you and your lifestyle. Other factors to consider range from brand name, materials used, and mounting type.
That’s right, brand name can be an important consideration since it is often directly tied to the bag’s quality and durability. Often, popular brand names will also have more user reviews that you can peruse to get real world opinions on the bag you are wanting to purchase.
While brand name is often associated with packaging and mere labeling, there are some obvious perks to using a quality name brand over generic brands that use low quality materials.
Your Muay Thai heavy bag has layers of materials that help give it the perfect feel for your needs. The outer layer of material covers the outside of the bag and typically comes in four different options: Leather, vinyl, plastic, and synthetic leather.
These types of materials may appeal to you based on what they offer in the following terms:
- Comfort – The softness of the bag on impact
- Stiffness – The hardness of the bag on impact
- Durability – The longevity and strength of the bag
- Feedback – Shock absorption, bounce back, or crack on impact
Each material type will offer you a mix of those effects, so let’s go into what each material can do for you.
- Leather – This is usually the most expensive, and most durable, option. It is comfortable and has amazing feedback.
- Vinyl – This is often the cheapest and least durable option. With that said, it does not lack in comfort or great feedback.
- Plastic – This material is used for models that hold water instead of other filler materials. It is not very durable and has low feedback and comfort.
- Synthetic Leather – This is a cheaper replacement for leather while still maintaining quality balance between feedback and comfort.
The clear winner here for all around quality and durability is the leather bag for Muay Thai. You get all the best features when choosing this option. However, if your budget needs a little break, the synthetic leather option will save you some money without sacrificing quality.
Remember, purchasing a heavy bag is an investment and you will want to make sure that your bag will still last through your specific level of use and abuse.
Filler material is what the heavy bag is filled with and is the major contribution to the weight of the bag. This material can affect comfort, feedback, and how much the bag moves upon impact. A heavier bag will move less when struck compared to a lighter bag. This option will need to be considered along with what you want the most out of your heavy bag.
For Muay Thai, you will want a bag that has generous resistance that still provides you will decent movement and flexibility. With that in mind, the most ideal weight tends to hover around 100-pounds for Muay Thai heavy bags.
You have a lot of options to consider for filler material. You can get bags filled with water, foam, gel, or even sand. However, I strongly recommend sticking with the tried and true fabric or cloth filler material.
Because cloth and fabric filler martials allow you to make more personal adjustments to the weight of your bag. Not only does it give you more control over the weight, but this material delivers wonderful feedback and comfort.
The next step?
Do you want a prefilled or unfilled bag? The unfilled bag will come empty so you can choose the type of filler that you want. The prefilled bag will come with filler material included.
This option depends on many factors, however, one of the best reasons for choosing unfilled is lower shipping costs. With this option, you also gain the ability to have more control over how filled you want your heavy bag to be for optimal comfort and feedback.
There are limited options for mounting for home use Muay Thai heavy bags. However, the two most popular are wall mounted and stand mounted. Both are highly sufficient enough for home use, but also come with their own pros and cons.
A stand mounted one is perfect if you are wanting to avoid wall damage and they can be more easily relocated. They are more expensive, however, and require more space.
A wall mounted heavy bag can cause damage to the walls of your home if they are improperly mounted. Proper mounting will help prevent injury or damage to the walls. These bags are more affordable and they take up less space.
I recommend the stand mounted heavy bag for a multitude of reasons. I love the flexibility it offers in allowing you to adjust the heavy bag as needed. They are also the safest option, for you and your home, and they typically are of a higher quality.
As you can see, there are many options outside of just buying the best Muay Thai heavy bag. You will need to consider your budget, lifestyle, training techniques, and your goals before deciding which heavy bag might be best suited to you and your needs.
If you want a well-rounded bag for your kickboxing needs, I recommend the Outslayer Muay Thai Heavy Bag. This bag will meet all of your needs because of its size and durability. Specialty bags certainly have their place for training rooms, but this bag offers more bang for your buck.
Use the reviews and information I provided above to help make the best choice for you.