Most people who don’t keep a car in their garage end up using it as a storage dumping ground, filling it with items they can’t bear to part with or that may one day come in useful. However, if you’re looking to get in shape, with a bit of effort, the garage can be transformed into a home gym.
Having a gym where you live makes perfect sense. There’s no wasting time travelling to and from the gym; there are no expensive fees to pay, and you can train in private without feeling intimidated.
One of the best items to equip your training space with is a heavy bag. A session punching a heavy bag provides a great cardio vascular workout and will get your heart pumping and your lungs gasping for air. Consistent use will get you literally fighting fit in not time at all.
Hitting a heavy bag is also a great stress reliever. If you’ve had a hard day at work, then there’s no better way of taking out your frustrations than striking a punching bag.
If you combine heavy bag training with a martial art then it can be a very useful tool to improve your self defense skills. It hones your punching skills and gives you the opportunity to feel what it’s like to hit a relatively solid object, as well as practise punch and kick combinations.
Choose where to hang your bag
The first thing to consider is to consider where in the garage you’re going to hang your heavy bag.
The bag itself will swing a fair bit when it’s been struck. You therefore need enough unobstructed space around it so as not to impede its motion. You also need to be able to move around the bag as though you a sparring a live opponent.
You then need to consider how your bag is going to be supported.
Essentially, you’ve got two options: you can hang the bag from a wall bracket or from the beams in the ceiling. Whatever option you decide on, it’s important that the fixture points are structurally sound and capable of supporting both the bag and the forces that are inflicted on it. As a rough guide, whatever you’re using to hold up the bag needs to contend with about four times the weight of the bag.
Hanging a heavy bag from the wooden beams
The ceiling within a garage typically consists of a series of parallel wooden beams which support the overlying roof.
It’s these joists that can be used to support your punch bag.
I’m wary of just using one beam to support the entire weight of the heavy bag and prefer to spread the load over several joists. I achieve this by screwing a sturdy 1.5 – 2 inch plank of wood at right angles to the beams. I ensure the plank is screwed into every beam that it crosses.
I then attach an eyebolt, such as the one here on Amazon, to the middle of the plank.
I then attach one end of the hanging chain to the eyebolt, and the other ends to the D-rings at the ends of the hanging straps on the top of the heavy bag.
It’s important that the bag hangs at the correct height. I like the middle of the bag to line up with my solar plexus. I can then practise both head shots and body blows on the heavy bag.
If you’ve followed these instructions, you’ll now have a heavy bag swinging from the beams of your garage.
However, if for any reason you don’t want to hang a heavy bag in this way, then there is an alternative…
Hanging a heavy bag from a brick wall
You are able to attach a heavy bag from a bracket that is attached to the wall of your garage, such as this one on Amazon.
These are right angled brackets that allow the bag to swing freely several feet away from the wall itself.
If you’re looking to attach the bracket to a solid brick wall, then I would work out how high I’d need to hang the bag itself.
Previously, when I’ve hung these bags, I would enlist the help of a friend to raise that bag onto a chair and raise it so that the height of the middle of the upright bag is in line with my own solar plexus.
I then connect the hanging chain to the top of the D-rings of the bag and hold it upwards. I then mark this highest point on the wall itself. This marks the point at which the hook on the bracket needs to be located.
I can now get the bracket itself and hold it up against the wall so that the hook lines up with the chalk mark on the wall. With my friend holding the bracket in place, I mark the location of the fixture points of the bracket on the wall.
I then drill the fixture holes and bolt the bracket to the wall. With the help of my friend, I then lift the bag and, standing on a step ladder, attach the top hook of the hanging bag to the bracket hook.
If the bag has been hung correctly, you’ve now got a heavy bag hanging from your garage wall.
Hanging a heavy bag from a stud wall
If your garage has stud walls (as opposed to brick walls) then it’s still possible to hang a heavy bag from it.
In order to do so, you’ll need to attach a couple of 1.5 – 2 inch planks at right angles to the underlying beams. This is very similar to the method used to hang the heavy bag from the ceiling beams as outlined above.
Quite often the beams are covered with a layer of drywall and you’ll need to locate them first.
You can do this by tapping the wall itself: the underlying beams will sound less hollow, or you can use a stud detector finder like this one on Amazon.
I often drill a few test holes to find the exact edges of the wooden beams beneath the drywall. These can easily be skimmed with filler to remove them once you’re done.
It’s really important to ensure that the structure supporting the heavy bag is strong enough to hold the bag and also withstand the forces involved when it’s being punched. It’s a good idea to slowly lower the bag when it’s first hung; if there’s any creaking sound then it could be a sign that the beams aren’t strong enough.
If this is the case, then don’t worry, there are alternative options available.
Alternatives: a free standing heavy bag
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of setting up a heavy bag or are worried that your garage beams aren’t strong enough, there are alternatives.
A free standing bag stand
This free standing punching bag stand, such as this one on Amazon, is really good. It’s a sturdy design and has the advantage of a built in speedball. It’s great for those that don’t want to go to the hassle of attaching fixtures to the structure of their home.
Self Standing Bag
These types of bag have a weighted bottom which can be filled with water or, even better, sand. Once filled, they’re really stable and a viable alternative to hanging a bag. Here’s a link to a great one from a very reputable brand on Amazon.
Whatever option you choose, I hope this article has been helpful in enabling you to install a heavy bag into your garage. It’s a fantastic tool to get fit, lose fat and take out your frustrations. It’s time to get training!