Most people (even non-boxers) are familiar with, or at least aware, of Speed Bag (a.k.a Speed Ball) Training… It looks complicated, and pretty cool and there are a plethora of Youtube videos which feature different Speedbag techniques… However, there has been very little exposure or even awareness of the use of multiple speed bags as a training technique.
This post describes What Multi-Speed Ball Training is, Why it is such an effective training technique, and some things to consider when setting up a Multi Speedball Training Station.
About Speed Bags
Speed bags are small, air-filled bags anchored to a rebound platform (usually) parallel to the ground.
Striking a speed bag with rhythm requires focus, coordination, and speed and provides a pretty effective cardiovascular workout.
Working with a speed bag helps develop shoulder and arm muscles, and hone reflexes.
Fast-twitch muscles are developed by engaging in exercises that involve speed, explosiveness and short reaction time. Using a Speed Ball will not result in bulky muscles like a weightlifter, but will help develop powerful lean muscles like a swimmer. The speed bag encourages physical muscle development while training fighters to keep their hands up.
What is Multi-Speed Bag Training
Traditionally when using a Speed Bag, you would use a variety of different techniques and punch combinations on a single Speed Bag. Multi-Speed Bag Training involves the similar punch techniques across two or even more Speed bags at the same time… so rather than hitting a single bag, you use multiple speed bags.
The basic punch combinations are essentially the same, but because you have multiple targets there are significantly more punch combinations available and an effectively endless range of possibilities.
Why use a Speed Bag ?
Speed Ball Training has been a core part of a boxers training regime for a long, long time, the main benefits attributed to Speed Bag Training are :
- Hand Eye Co-ordination – enhances the coordination between your eyes and hands, improving the speed and accuracy of your punches
- Hands Up – trains you to always keep your hands up (with a Speed Bag you rarely have time to drop them)
- Footwork – learn to shift weight between your feet. With a speed ball, you can practice footwork and quickness while training. Moving in rhythm with the ball will help mimic a boxing bought.
- Timing – fundamental to Speed Ball techniques… if you don’t get the timing right you wont be able to hit the bag consistently or accurately
- Hand Speed – “Speed” Bags are called that for a reason – it is NOT about Power, it is all about the speed, timing and accuracy of your punches
- Accuracy – to achieve consistent results you MUST learn to punch accurately
- Strength & Endurance – Simulating a boxing fight with a speed ball will improve your overall endurance so you can last longer in the ring. The last 30 seconds before the round finishes is the most important and improving your endurance will enhance your chances of getting more accurate punches in.
- Fitness – Another benefit of training with a speed ball is the fitness and endurance workout. If you’re having a hard time enduring a long fight, use the speed ball to improve your overall endurance.
Why use more than one Speed Bag ?
Using multiple Speed Bags offers all the benefits listed above for more traditional Speed Bag Techniques, PLUS some significant EXTRA training advantages :
- Peripheral Vision Training – traditionally the only way to improve peripheral vision in boxing has been through sparring. Sparring develops a whole lot of different skills in attack and defence but a sparring partner is not always available… and sparring training may not be practical. Multiple Speed Bag training enhances your response and reactions to peripheral vision triggers
- Reflexes – by its very nature a Speed Bag requires good reflexes, with multiple balls you simply don’t have time to think and plan – you MUST learn to react reflexively
- Improved Core – interacting with multiple targets requires a LOT more twisting and turning so your core gets a significant workout
- Improved Footwork – you can not just rely on “reach” to get to your target… fast footwork and and footwork timing is a fundamental skill requirement for multi-speed ball training
Setting Up a Multi-Speedbag Training Station
The fundamental requirement in a Multi Speed Bag Station is accessibility. It is critical that all bags are accessible – within arms reach – although extra footwork is also usually required particularly for 3 (or more) bags… so the placement and mounting of bags is critical.
Other factors that must be considered when setting up a multiple speed bag station are :
- Stability – it is VERY important that each bag is (independently) stable… any vibration or movement can affect the rebound capabilities and hence the speed
- Height – are all bags setup at the same or different heights ? varying the height can add to the difficulty, but can also enhance the training experience (and fun)
- Layout – a 2 bag layout us relatively straightforward, but a 3 (or more) bag layout becomes increasingly tricky to create and use
- Bag Size / Type – Should you use the same bag type/size … or a mixture ? Different bags have different timing/rebound characteristics and even subtle changes can dramatically change the training experience… bag combinations make for harder, but also more interesting (and probably more effective) training.