Did you know you can make your own heavy bag for at-home boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA training?
It’ll take some time and effort. Depending on the design, it might also require some DIY skills and knowhow. And the end result probably won’t be exactly like a professionally made piece of martial arts equipment. (For the best results, and for long term use, we still recommend investing in a heavy bag or free-standing bag.) But if you have the time and the wherewithal, you can build a functional heavy bag that will add a new dimension to your at-home martial arts training.
Let’s explore the basics of making your own heavy bag and some different options for the kind of bags you can make.
The Basic DIY Heavy Bag
Perfect for beginner boxers and beginner crafters, this heavy bag can be made with old martial arts gear and other materials lying around your home and some masking tape.
What you’ll need: an old duffel bag; old clothes, sheets, and other materials to stuff the bag with; a piece of rope long and wide enough to securely fasten and hang the bag; roles of duct tape
- Turn your duffel bag inside out and inspect the seams for any tears or pulling. Repair any holes and reinforce any weak seams using an upholstery needle and thread, then turn the bag right side out again.
- Start stuffing your bag tight with old clothes, sheets, or other fabrics.
- Shake the bag and press the contents down to compress the contents as much as possible. Think of how solid a professional heavy bag is. That’s the level of density you’re trying to achieve with your stuffing.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your bag is stuffed up to 12 inches from the top.
- Pull the top of the bag together as tightly as possible, and securely fasten them together with your rope. Make sure you leave enough rope on both sides for hanging purposes.
- Stand the bag on its end and wrap the entire bag in duct tape. Start at the bottom and work upwards until you’ve fastened the opening and the rope tie in place, making sure that you’ve left no gaps in the taping. For extra durability, you can repeat this process 1-2 more times to create a more solid duct tape exterior for your bag. Again, don’t forget to the leave the extra rope free.
- Use that extra rope to securely hang your heavy bag from a suitable place. Start training!
DIY Heavy Bag Variations
If the basic homemade heavy bag isn’t quite what you’re looking for, here are some alternate suggestions:
For a more solid heavy bag: If you fabric-stuffed heavy bag isn’t the right weight and consistency for you — or if you don’t have enough leftover clothing to fill a whole heavy bag — you can also stuff your basic heavy bag with sand. To prevent leaking, pour five pounds of sand each into four pillow cases, place them in your duffel bag. Fill in any remaining space with old clothing, and then tie, wrap, and hang as described above.
For more secure hanging: If the rope tie doesn’t feel solid enough for your training purposes, you can fasten 3 or 4 carabiners to the end of your duffel bag, hook a rope or chain through them, and fasten the bag to a secure place from there. Traditional military style duffel bags, which already have large eyelet holes at the top, are perfect for this version.
If you don’t have a spare duffel bag: You can also make a quick and easy DIY heavy bag out of an old pair of jeans, a piece of PVC pipe, old rags, sand, and a rope. Cut one leg off the jeans, sew or wire the bottom end together, thread the pipe into the jean leg, stuff the gaps with rags, fill the pipe with sand, and tie everything together.
If you want to box like you’re in a Rocky montage: And if you have some basic building and DIY skills, you can also try making a hanging bag out of an old tire. Here’s a step by step guide to that experiment.
If you’re still not sure about making your own heavy bag: If the amount of work and skill involved in making a heavy bag isn’t for you, or if you’re not convinced that you’ll like the results, you can always invest in a professionally made heavy bag that’s been designed to facilitate and endure high level martial arts training. AWMA.com has a wide variety of hanging heavy bags and free-standing heavy bags to choose from.
Once you’ve made — or purchased — your heavy bag or free-standing bag, you’re ready to train. For tips on how to start your new at-home striking and conditioning routine, check out our blog posts on heavy bags, free-standing bags, and solo training: