The heavy bag is every fighter’s best friend. Once you know how to use it to train different aspects of your fighting game, it’s always there for you. If you have one at home, you will never have to conform to gym working hours or training partners.
The standard heavy bag used for Muay Thai training is called a “banana bag,” and it usually comes at exactly 6 feet in length. The differences come in width and weight, which can vary somewhere between 80 and 150 lbs.
The most important factor to consider when selecting a weight is your own weight and experience. With this short article I will help make the right choice of weight and shape of the heavy bag.
Why is the banana bag the best choice?
Standard western boxing heavy bags are around 4 feet long, which is all well and good if you only punch but to properly drill the all-important low kick, you need a longer bag. This is why standard Muay Thai bags are 6 feet long.
Technically, the term “banana bag” is actually used for bags that are 7 feet long because they are often placed in a way that the bottom is touching the ground and curves in the shape of a banana. But you will also often see the standard 6-foot bag called that.
Other shapes, like the teardrop bag, for example, are good for specific techniques like knees and hooks, but in my experience, the standard Thai style heavy bag is the most versatile and the perfect choice if you need to have only 1 bag.
Should you buy pre-filled or empty?
Returning to the question of how heavy a Muay Thai bag should be, I need to point out that you have two options when buying a bag: pre-filled or empty. If you opt for the empty one, you will save some cash, but filling it is not so easy. You can do it with rubber pieces, rags, clothes, or sand. The weight depends heavily on the substance you go for, so you may need to experiment a bit before the bag is the perfect weight for you.
There are quite a few videos explaining different ways to fill a bag, here is one example:
The much easier solution is to buy a factory filled heavy bag. Then you are sure exactly what weight it will be and you know it’s balanced correctly.
The lighter May Thai bag comes at 90 lbs., which may be too little for the heavier hitters. If you are just starting out or you are a woman, the 90 lbs. can be enough, but have in mind that the bag will swing quite a bit. There is an easy solution to this, however. All bags have a zipper on top, so you can always add a bit of weight if needed.
A 120–25 lb. heavy bag is perhaps the best middle ground that is heavy enough for most people and not too heavy for the flyweights. A lot of the most popular brands and models come prefilled at around this weight.
And for heavyweights and people with concrete in their limbs, there are bags weighing 150 lbs. that can still be filled to go even further. The manufacturer usually provides the maximum weight the bag shell can carry.
There are other variations of sizes, shapes, and weights, but they are more specialized. The guidelines above should be more than enough for a versatile bag be in the gym or in your garage.