Punching a heavy bag is a superb way of keeping fit. It develops strength, power and co-ordination, as well as providing an intense cardio-vascular workout. I know that after a ten minute heavy bag session, I’m usually dripping with sweat and breathing heavily.
It’s also a great way to unwind mentally and to release any tension or frustration that may have built up during the day.
Over the years, I’ve installed dozens of punch bags for friends and family in multiple locations. Some of these have been in barns or converted industrial buildings. These often have high ceilings and so, at first glance, it can be difficult to envisage where to put a heavy bag.
However, with a little thought and planning, these buildings can be converted to make excellent gyms.
I’ve outlined below some methods that I’ve used to hang a punching bag from a high ceiling.
Hanging a heavy bag from a truss or steel beam
If you’re looking to hang your heavy bag in a converted barn or outhouse, then there may be suitable horizontal wooden or steel beams that you can use to hang a heavy bag from.
What to look when assessing whether a wooden beam might be suitable:
The strength of the beam
The most important point to consider is whether the beam will be strong enough to support the heavy bag and the additional forces it will be subjected to when it’s in use.
The beam will need to be able to hold up to four times the weight of the bag. This is because it will need to contend with the additional weight as the bag swings and is jolted as it is being used.
Certain strikes, such as upper cuts and kicks, can cause the bag to jump upwards. As it crashes down, the beam will also need to be able to cope with that additional force.
The position of the beam
The beam also needs to be at a suitable distance from any walls, so that when the bag is hung up, it enables you to move all the way round it and strike it from any angle. You certainly don’t want the bag to be able to swing into a nearby wall.
How to hang a punching bag without drilling
If it’s an old wooden beam, them you may not want to drill directly into the beam itself. This might be because you don’t want to permanently disfigure the beam by drilling holes into it, or you may not be allowed to if you’re leasing the property.
There are a number of solutions to this problem. The one I’ve used the most is to use a heavy bag strap, such as this one on Amazon here.
This is a simple adjustable strap that goes round the beam to form a loop capable of holding 500lbs.
If you’re dealing with a steel beam, then there’s another option I’ve used in the past, namely a steel I – beam clamp. You can see an example on Amazon here.
These clamp onto the steel beam itself creating a very secure fixing. Some clamps, such as the one I’ve mentioned above are capable of holding 1000lbs – more than enough to support any bag.
How to hang a heavy bag from ceiling joist
Instead of a large single beam, your ceiling may consist of a series of parallel ceiling joists. These can be concealed by a layer of drywall; if so it’s worth looking at my article on this subject here.
Assuming the beams are exposed, then I find it best to screw a 1.5 inch thick wooden plank perpendicular to the beams. I screw this plank to each of the beams and make sure it covers at least five of the ceiling joists.
This method distributes the weight of the heavy bag across each of the ceiling joists. I then attach a fixing bolt to this plank, such as this one on Amazon.
How high to hang heavy bag?
If you’ve followed one of the methods outlined above, you’ll have a secure fixing either from a wood/steel beam or from the ceiling joists.
It’s from this fixing that you’ll need to be able to hang the bag. However, it’s not as simple as attaching the bag to fixing itself as this is likely to leave the bag hanging too high.
How high to hang heavy bag? The height of the bag should be positioned so that the middle of bag lines up with your own solar plexus when you stand next to it. This allows you to use the bag to practice body shots, head strikes and, depending on the height of the bag, kicks as well.
The first thing I do, is to put the heavy bag into the right position. This might involve propping the bag up on a chair so that it’s at the right height. I’ll ask a friend to hold it in position for the next bit.
Using a tape measure, I then measure the distance from the D-rings at the top of the heavy bag to the ceiling fixture I’ve previously attached.
I then use this measurement to obtain a strong metal chain at the appropriate length. A suitable one is here on Amazon. You’ll see this one has carabiners on each end, so it’s important to take the length of these into account when considering your measurement. This one’s about 1.8 metres long.
How to shorten heavy bag chain? If the chain is too long, then you can use bolt cutters to remove as many of the chain links as necessary to obtain the right length.
Use a ladder to attach one end of the chain to the fixture that you’ve attached to the supporting beam/joist and let the chain hang down.
With a friend’s assistance, lift the heavy bag and attach the other end of the chain to the D-rings of the heavy bag.
When you let go of the heavy bag, it should now swing freely.
You’re now ready to start your boxing work out!
Happy training !!!