5 MMA Heavy Bag Workouts For Beginners

Kevin Belingon stands near heavy bags at Team Lakay

Many new MMA practitioners think that heavy bag workouts are just for Muay Thai fighters.

However, whether your background is in Thailand’s striking art or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, regular workouts on the heavy bag help improve cardio, develop strength, and speed up weight loss.   

With that in mind, the following five heavy bag workouts are essential to every athlete’s regimen and can be used in a variety of ways. So, strap on your boxing gloves, get into your fighting stance, and prepare for a serious training workout.  

#1 Fast-Paced Heavy Bag Punching Combos

Thanh Le fights Martin Nguyen at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday, 30 October

If you want to punch as fast as ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le, you can try this boxing workout. However, you’ll have to exchange the speed bag for a heavy bag and then practice your punching combinations.

But your goal isn’t just to get the bag swinging; it’s to land as many punches as you can in 30 seconds.

Do this for three rounds, and increase your output with each stanza. By the time you’re finished, you should have a good sweat going. 

#2 A Heavy Bag Exercise To Build Better Kicks

7 minutes of team lakays spinning wushu kicks

If you want to have Team Lakay-worthy kicks, you have to spend some time honing the power, speed, and technique in your lower limbs.

For five 30-second rounds, work on landing your hardest power shots on the heavy bag. This one may not be as fast-paced as the previous workout, but you should still aim to land at least 15 strikes per round. 

In no time, you’ll start building the power, speed, and technique to throw highlight-reel kicks of your own.

#3 A Body Shot Routine On The Heavy Bag

Scenes from John Lineker versus Troy Worthen at "ONE on TNT III"

As ONE Bantamweight World Champion John “Hands of Stone” Lineker knows, a perfectly placed body shot can sway a fight instantly. In order to achieve the same power, use the heavy bag to practice landing shovel hooks with speed and power.

For five one-minute rounds, use your lateral footwork to move around the bag and land the sneaky punches. This will leave both you (and your invisible opponent) breathless.

But be aware – one of the most effective counters for body shots is a high kick to the head. So, practice your defense in between your punches. 

#4 A Heavy Bag Exercise To Develop Strikes From Full Mount

Reinier De Ridder takes the fight to Kiamrian Abbasov on the ground during their match for the ONE Middleweight World Championship at ONE: FULL CIRCLE

Two-division ONE World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder’s successful title defense against welterweight king Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov was a good indicator of just how useful a powerful ground-and-pound game can be.

With that said, all MMA fighters should practice this next heavy bag training routine. In fact, this power workout will especially benefit those who like to grapple.

Lay the heavy bag flat on the ground and get into the full mount position. From there, spend three one-minute rounds working on your ground-and-pound strikes.

You don’t have to focus solely on punches, though, as you can also mix in elbows to create your own unique combinations.

#5 Putting It All Together On The Heavy Bag

best of demetrious johnson in one championship

They call 12-time MMA World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson the GOAT for a reason. He can do it all, whether striking on his feet or grappling on the canvas.

If you want to be a well-rounded fighter too, try spending four five-minute rounds putting all of the above workouts together.

For the first frame, concentrate on speed and landing as many strikes as you can. In the next round, add power to the mix. After that, use precision and work those crippling body shots.

Finally, whether you’re on your feet or on the floor, throw your strongest combos to highlight your striking creativity.

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