Having your own heavy bag in your home can be a great investment: it’s a superb workout tool that not only works almost every muscle in the body, stripping fat and building muscle, but it also enhances hand / eye co-ordination.
It’s also a great stress reliever enabling you to pound out your frustrations and any pent up aggression you may have.
I’ve put up a number of heavy bags over the years, both for myself and friends.
Putting up a heavy bag needn’t be a stressful or time consuming process. All you have to do is follow the steps outlined below and you should have one up in no time.
Here’s a little how to guide I put together on a number of ways to hang a heavy bag.
Decide where to hang your bag
You need to bear in mind a number of factors when hanging your bag.
Have plenty of space surrounding the bag
Make sure you have space to install a bag. Have some measuring tape handy to know exactly the dimension you have available. The space you have will determine the type of bag you can put there.
When working the bag, you’re going to be moving 360 degrees completely around the bag. As you strike the bag, it’s also going to be swinging.
You need to ensure that you have sufficient space so that neither you or the bag crashes into anything – your walls, furniture or your priceless vase!
Where to hang the bag
A garage or basement would be the ideal place for the bag. You can workout to your hearts content without making noise inside the house and not disturbing others.
For those that don’t have a garage or a house, you should check with the rules of your apartment as to whether you can hang a bag. Your neighbors in the next apartment may not be fans of your heavy bag routines.
Check Wall and Ceiling Material Strength
Be sure to check the material of the support beams, walls and ceilings. The amount of weight they can support will determine the size of bag you can hang from them.
The supporting beams in your ceiling, assuming you have them, may not be strong enough to hold a bag. If they’re not, it’s still possible to hang a bag but it may be off a bracket from your wall. More on this later.
Supporting beams are a series of long, narrow, wooden joists that run parallel across the ceiling. They are usually about 16 inches apart and form part of the structure of the building.
You need to ensure that these beams are strong enough to support your punching bag.
The beam not only has to hold the weight of the bag itself , but also the additional weight created by the momentum of the bag when it swings. In addition, if you hit the bag with sufficient force, it will cause it to jump upwards and crash downwards, further testing the load capacity of the beam.
It’s recommended that the beam can take four times the weight of the bag itself to ensure it can cope with the forces it will be subjected to.
The supporting beams may be covered with a layer of drywall and so you’ll need to locate the joists hidden underneath. This can be done using a stud detector (the one I recommend can be seen here on Amazon). Alternatively you can knock on the ceiling at different points: the less hollow sounding areas will indicate the location of the beams.
In addition, to establishing the exact location of the beam, I always drill a few small test holes in the drywall to establish the width of the beam itself. You can easily fill these in with filler later on if needed. You should do this so you can ensure you always drill into the centre of the beam.
Different Bag Hanging Methods
There are a few different methods you can use to hang a punching bag. The one you choose depends on your space and area available. I’ve installed bags a couple of these ways and I’ll show you step by step how I did it.
Method #1 Eye Bolt Onto A Support Beam
This is the way I’ve hung most heavy bags. Hanging your bag from the ceiling in this way allows the bag to swing in all directions and will give you 360 degrees of room to work your combinations.
Tools: Drill, eyebolt, combination wrench, hooks, and chains. (Generally, hooks and chains come with the bag, so you may not need to buy any extra.)
Step 1: First, you have to find the strongest beam in the room and see that you have ample space. Then take the drill and made a hole in the support beam.
Step 2: The next step is to place the eyebolt in the hole and begin tightening it with a wrench. (Ensure you use an eyebolt and not a hook: the bag will slip out.)
Step 3: Then connected the chains to the bag and hook the S chain to the middle. This connects all the chains to a single point.
Step 4: Last step is taking your bag(with help!), hook it to the eyebolt and you’re all set.
Method #2 Eye Bolt Onto An Additional Beam
If the individual beams aren’t able to support the weight of a heavy bag, then you may want to consider this method.
It involves attaching a separate beam perpendicular to the existing ceiling beams. This helps spread the weight across a number of joists rather than just one.
Tools: A wooden beam (approximately 2 inches thick and long enough to span 5 ceiling beams), drill, wood screws, eyebolt, combination wrench, hooks, and chains. (Generally, hooks and chains come with the bag).
Step 1: First, measure the total distance between five beams and cut your seperate wooden beam accordingly.
Step 2: Using long wood screws, attach the beam so that it runs at right angles to the ceiling joists. Use two wood screws for each ceiling beam and pre-drill the screw holes using the drill
Step 3: Use the drill to bore a hole in the middle of this wooden beam so that it goes through the centre of the middle beam (the third one along). This is for the eye bolt which should be screwed both into the additional beam you’ve added plus the ceiling beam.
Step 4: Continue as per Method #1.
Method #3 Ceiling/Joist Mount
There are specific bits of hardware that have been purpose made to support heavy bags.
These are brackets that are designed not only to securely attach the heavy bag to the beam but also rotate freely allowing the bag to swing freely when struck.
Tools: Drill, joist mount, nuts, bolts, marker, and combination wrench
Step 1: With a pencil, mark the spots for drilling on the ceiling along the centre of the beam that you want to mount the heavy bag to. Use the screw holes on the joist mount itself to ensure you get the spacing right.
Step 2: Drill the holes on the marked areas on the beam.
Step 3: Put up the mount and tighten in the bolts into the pre-drilled holes.
Step 4: Finally, just connect the chains to the S mount and hook it into the joist mount
If you’re worried about hanging your heavy bag from the ceiling then one alternative is to hang it from a wall.
I’ve actually helped a friend install a support wall to put up his punching bag and it wasn’t difficult to install. It’s pretty straightforward and not too complicated for someone that isn’t really knowledgeable at using power tools.
Method #4 Support Wall Mount
Tools: Drill, combination wrench, measuring tape, and saw(You may need to make size adjustments on the wood depending what the measurements of your wall/ceiling
Materials: screws, washers, metal plates(brackets), and lumber pieces (2” x 4”)
You may not have 360 degrees of space, but you will still have ample space to circle around the bag doing combos.
Step 1: If you have a solid brick wall, the bracket can be screwed straight into the wall itself.
It’s more likely that you’ll have a stud wall. In this case, you’ll need to find the vertical wooden beams that run behind the drywall in the same way as previously.
Step 2: Cut the 2”x4” to a length that allows it to cover three vertical beams.
Step 3: Using appropriate wood bolts, screw the wooden beams in place, ensuring that they are correctly distanced to allow you to connect the bracket to them. You should pre-drill the holes before screwing the beams in place.
Step 4: Then put the mount on the beams to see where you will need to drill the holes in order to fix it in place..
Step 5: After marking the holes, put the mount back up, and screw in the bolts.
Step 6: Just like the ceiling bag, hook the S mount and hang the bag.
Bag Hanging Mistakes
While it can be rather easy to install a heavy bag, there are mistakes you can make if you’re not careful.
Wall Mount Mistakes
The mistake you can make is not installing the mount evenly. By not getting the mount even on the wall, you’re bag will always be crooked and hang unevenly. Make sure to double check if you have the potential drill holes marked correctly before installation.
Ceiling Mount Mistakes
Whether you’re doing the eye bolt or joist mount method make sure you install them in the middle of the support beam. If the entire beam isn’t holding the bag’s weight evenly it could warp or become damaged, costing you a lot of money to repair.
Mistakes Connecting the Chains
If you don’t hook the chains correctly on the bag, you can either make the bag hang too high, too short, or crooked. Double check that you have hooked the chains correctly and hang the bag at the appropriate length you like it at.
Extra Tip For Bag Support
Eventually after using your bag for a long amount of time, the eye hole can start to wear down. This is because the friction of metal on metal grinding together starts to wear it out and could hurt someone when it gives out. To help prevent that metal on metal friction, you can tie some nylon rope around the S mount to avoid metal on metal contact.
Also, whichever hanging method you decide to use, please check if you put the bolts and screws in tight enough or you could face stability problems.
Alternatives To Hanging A Bag
For those that don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a heavy bag or just don’t think they have a strong enough support beams in their home, there are alternatives.
You can usually buy a punching bag stand such as the one here on Amazon which is at a really reasonable price. You will still have to do a little maintenance setting the stand, but it’s a good alternative for those that don’t want to put holes in their home.
Self Standing Bag
These are bags with a weighted bottom and usually need to be filled with water. They’re easy to move around and a good alternative to hanging a bag. Here’s a link to a great one from a very reputable brand.
Enjoy Your New Bag
I hope the directions I shared here will help you out in the process of putting up a heavy bag. Even if you’re a novice at fixing things like me, the processes are rather simple and won’t take much time to install.
The Great Workouts
Now that you have a heavy bag hanging in your home, you now have so many ways to get in a great workout. Either if you’re a martial artist looking to train outside of class or just a regular person trying to get healthy, a heavy bag will be a great addition to your home gym.
The workouts do everything from improving your cardio, focus, and physical strength, while learning a skill. It’s a great investment for your health and relieve a little stress.