MMA Training Tip – Heavy Bag (Hands Off)


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Hitting the heavy bag – Hands off!

Crack! bang! smack!…your final punch (or kick) in the combination knocks the heavy bag into motion, swinging wildly from side to side, changing angles and distance constantly as you set up your next attack. Finding it diffucult to track the bag’s motion, you decide to reach out with one or both of your hands to steady the piece of equipment so that it will be easier to hit. STOP! That’s a big mistake.

Placing your hands on the bag, won’t be a problem when you’re doing bag work, but that same action may soon transfer over into the ring or cage and you may quickly find yourself on your back, wondering why you’re staring at the ceiling.Anytime you reach your hands out and away from you body, to grab or push your sparring partner or opponent, you open yourself up for a number of powerful punches each of which you won’t see coming. Against a technically weak sparring partner, or when facing a partner who possesses limited punching power, you might get away with it. When facing a skilled opponent you won’t be so fortunate.

Breaking this dangerous habit is very simple. As you work on the heavy bag, imagine that when it swings towards you it’s really your opponent advancing to attack. Instead of stopping it with your open hands, drive your cross (straight punch with your power hand) into the heavy bag at the precise moment it reaches the verticle position. The impact will stop the bag from completing it’s forward swing, and will return it to a near motionless state. You can then follow your cross with any techniques you choose.

In sparring, apply this same movement to stop your opponent from advancing into close range.As a variation to the above technique, you can replace the cross with your lead leg front kick (push kick), both in sparring and while drilling on the heavy bag. Time it perfectly, like the cross, to stop your target’s motion.

With some practice, you will become an expert at controlling the pace, swing and overall movement of the heavy bag during training. Ultimately this will transfer over into your sparring and you will notice that you are more effectively controlling the range between you and your opponent.

Good luck with your training!

Categories : MMA Training Tips

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  1. Lew says:

    very good, article, and excellent point…you fight the way you train, or worse…

  2. madison says:

    I’ve been doing this more lately and been noticing a big difference in my ability to judge my maximum range

    I feel like you mentioned this in one of the heavy bag vids

  3. Nindz says:

    Hey Jeff,
    There’s a saying ” common sense is not that common any more”
    Im glad to be under your tutelage, and honored to learn such sensible tips, keep up the good work

  4. Tim says:

    Being a TKD guy, I love stopping the bag with a nice solid kick, or starting the motion with a kick, and catching the bag with a strong cross or rear arm elbow as it comes back at me. I just imagine the bag’s returning momentum as an opponent who’s pissed that he took that first shot, then he charges back and eats the second one even harder.

  5. orion says:

    thank you

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