How to Fill a Punching Bag

Buying an empty punching bag is cheaper than buying a pre-filled one. And given how cheap it is to fill one, buying an empty punching bag is pretty much a no-brainer. But is there anything you need to keep in mind when filling a punching bag?

As it happens, yes – there are quite a few things you need to keep in mind!

With over 19 years of martial arts experience, I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to fill a punching bag, as well as some things you need to keep in mind.

How to Fill a Punching Bag – Step-by-Step

If you’re using old clothes as your filling, first you need to cut them into scraps. Remove any zippers, rivets and hard metal or plastic parts. The scraps should be about the size of your hand.

  1. Use a stick or broom handle to pop out the base. That way you can get the material into any hard-to-reach places.
  2. Add a 5-6-inch base of material to the bottom of the bag. Use your stick to make sure the material is packed well into the bottom of the bag. You’ll know it’s good enough when the seams are taut.
  3. Add more material in layers, 5-6 inches at a time. Stamp it down with the stick, making sure all the gaps are filled tightly.
  4. Once the bag is halfway full, feel around the outside of the bag. If you find any pockets without any material in them, just add more material to that area and press it in with your stick.
  5. Once the bag is almost full, close the top.
  6. After a few workout sessions, the material will further compress and settle.

Choosing the Best Filling

In terms of filling, the cheapest and most readily available option is old clothes. They make your punching bag soft and you can even use it without boxing gloves. They’re surprisingly heavy and they’re free. Just raid your closet or ask your friends if they’ve got any old clothes lying around. Or simply go to your local thrift store.

Even better than old clothes are pieces of shredded cloth or pieces of shredded leather. You can get both by either visiting a local cloth recycling plant or by contacting a clothes manufacturer in your area – these places usually have a lot of spare material that they would otherwise throw away.

Related: The Best Punching Bag Filling

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How Much Filling do I Need for my Punching Bag?

Generally, you’ll need approximately the same weight in filling as the bag weight rating. So, if you’ve got a 60 lb punching bag, you’ll need 60 lb of filling.

It’s also important that your bag is evenly filled throughout and packed very tight. Otherwise, it’s going to have empty pockets of air inside it and it’s going to sag in awkward ways.

If you’re finding it too light, you can put a heavy object to weigh it down – e.g. a brick, an old dumbbell, or some other heavy item they’ve got lying around. This is a fine way of increasing the weight of your punching bag.

But if you do that, it’s essential to wrap that heavy item very well in something soft, such as several pieces of cloth, for example, and secure it with duct tape.

That way, even if the heavy object moves around as you punch and kick it, it won’t come around to the surface of the heavy bag. And believe me, you don’t want to kick a brick when you least expect it – that’s a surefire way to break something!

This is why I also recommend putting that heavy object at the very bottom of your punching bag. Just make sure you’re careful when you’re practising your low kicks!

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