How To Increase Punching Speed

The double end bag can be a frustrating piece of equipment to use for many reasons, but there are also as many benefits, if not more, for incorporating it into your workout routine.  If it's time to pick up the pace of your workout, then hit the switch on the timer and double your efforts on this classic piece of equipment.

Too often you see fighters using the double end bag in one of two ways, they either hit it hard like it’s a heavy bag, so that the bag bounces wildly back and forth or they tap at it, barely moving their hands or extending their punches.  They pity-pat away at the bag, letting it and its rubber bungee cords do all of the work.  Neither approach is effective or is really utilizing the double end bag the way it was meant to be used.

The intended purpose of the double end bag is to improve hand speed and timing, so your focus should be on volume punching.  This has to be done from the correct position though - left shoulder out front and right in back.  Don't square yourself off so that you can reach the bag faster with your back hand.  That's cheating.  Don’t make adjustments to your form in order to make a challenging piece of equipment, easy.  Instead, make your muscles adjust by engaging more quickly, bridging the distance faster and working to speed up your reaction time.  The bag's quick movements force you to time your punches more accurately, feel the rhythm of the bag and gauge its distance at various points of its travel path. These are all great traits to develop because they are all applicable skills you need when facing an actual opponent.

The double end bag also helps reinforce the importance of head movement.  If you periodically stand close enough to the bag that it can bounce back and hit you in the face, then you have to keep defense in mind.  As the bag bounces back, you have to keep your hands up or your head moving.  If you are standing there with the bag bouncing right back at your nose, while you watch it move, without reacting, you're robbing yourself of valuable conditioning and technique-developing practice.

The double end bag’s design also promotes the use of angles and footwork.  Just like moving your head, you should be incorporating plenty of side-to-side movement, long range and inside fighting positions.  Approach the bag from a variety of heights and mix up your attack.  Mimic the bag’s unpredictability by using an assortment of your own offensive and defensive attacks and counterattacks.

The constant action of the double end bag encourages consistent action and reaction to keep the bag moving.  Match the tempo of the rebounding bag and keep up with it, move for move.  When you hit the bag, catch it again as its coming back and send it in a new direction.  Or, when it comes back, don't be there.  Move your head or your feet and get the angle on it.  You should work to maintain the constant perpetual motion the double end bag is naturally in.  Never let the bag come to a complete standstill. Keep punching, keep moving, reacting to it every time it bounces back, countering its movements from a variety of angles and maintain a fast-paced tempo.  Don't let the double end bag outwork you.

Keep your eyes on the bag at all times.  Unlike the heavy bag, the double end bag is quick and you have to follow its movements more intently.  Zero-in on it to improve your concentration and increase your focus.

Most importantly, the compact design and shape of the bag allows you to practice, perfect and perform a wide range of punches, so throw combinations.  Mix up your arsenal with lightning fast jabs, quick crosses, short hooks and crisp uppercuts.  The double end bag begs for you to let your punches go in rapid succession.  Be accurate and be precise, but be active.  Punch in combinations.

The double end bag can be an enormous benefit when you work at it and don't just approach it as another thing to hit.  Next to a sparring partner or punch mitts, it is the most demanding opposition you will encounter in the gym, IF you make it work for you.  Whether you are going through the motions or putting yourself through the ringer, it all happens for three minutes at a time, right.  So why not make it count?  Double up your efforts and turn the double end bag into your best, worst enemy.

Doug Ward is the President and Trainer for the Underground Boxing Company.