Inferno's MMA Training Tip - Heavy Bag (Speed round)

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“Ten!” shouts the fighter standing to my front, his voice directed directly at me.

I launch another combination, this one made up of at least six quick punches, toward the heavy bag that he is braced up against.

Another shout roars from his lips “Twenty!”  His voice seems a little louder this time.

 I pick up the pace; my next ten punches all land within a few seconds. I blast past the forty, fifty and sixty punch count with ease. Closing in on the one hundred punch mark, my arms begin to ache and my hand speed begins to slow.  

“Speed it up Jeff!” another voice, this one very familiar, originating from behind me reminds me of my momentary purpose. Breathing heavily, I dig my feet into the ground and manage to speed up my punching a bit more, enough to seemingly satisfy my coach for the moment.

Finally a bell sounds to signal the end of the one minute round. Wiping the sweat my forehead, I take a few deeps breaths and position myself behind the heavy bag, switching places with my partner so he can now perform the same drill. Switching back and forth we each complete three sets on the bag. At the end we’re fairly tired but the workout is far from over...

The heavy bag drill I just illustrated in the above paragraphs is one of my favourites. It focuses on developing hand speed, relaxation and cardiovascular conditioning, three important assets for a mixed martial artist. I’m going to list a few details necessary for you to properly drill it solo or with a friend (which is way more fun).

·       The goal is to throw as many punches as possible against the heavy bag during the one minute duration of the round.

 

·       Ideally it’s best to mix up your punching technique by throwing a blend of jabs, hooks, crosses and body shots.

 

·       Throw every punch with proper technique, rotation and leverage instead of simply smacking the bag with lots of speed but little power.

 

·       Throw you punches from a realistic distance and fighting stance, never standing too close to the heavy bag, to maximize the realism and cardiovascular benefits of the exercise.

 

·       Your partner –who should be holding the heavy bag fairly steady—should keep count of your punches, shouting out every tenth punch  (10!, 20! 30!...) so that you can have an accurate idea as to where you are in regards to number of punches thrown.

 

·       Try to improve your punch count each time you do this drill and you will find yourself throwing more punches during your shadowboxing and sparring rounds.

 

·       Remember relaxation is the key! Keep your arms loose at all times to execute punches that are harder and much faster.

Train hard, train smart, and most importantly have fun!

Jeff “The Inferno” Joslin

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Jeff Joslin
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