Guest post by Sarah Hughes
My oldest son who is 14 has problems with his temper.
He has ADHD and often has trouble controlling his emotions and needs a healthy way to express anger so it does not bottle up. One suggestion that I was given was to get him a punching bag to vent on. It lets him have something to hit to release anger and frustration.
For those in a rush, here are the ones I’d recommend:
This seemed like a good idea and so I decided to start looking for a bag. He just started getting into fitness and is taking wrestling and boxing lessons after school. Having his own bag he can practice on at home to relieve stress has been great.
Great for Stress Relief
His dad and I thought that since he has problems with anger that training in physical sports would teach him discipline and how to not let his temper get the best of him. So far it has been working very well.
His coach says he is more focused and doesn’t let little things upset him as much as he used to. This is very beneficial because we worried about his ability to keep friends if he was angry and frustrated all the time.
He’s a New Person
A punching bag is sometimes used as a derogatory term, but in my son’s case, it has been a lifesaver for him. Allowing him to let off steam when he is frustrated has made him into a totally new person.
He is more able to handle the challenges that come up such as testing and school exams (these were a nightmare for a while) and dealing with being the new kid in school because we moved recently and he’s in a new school.
How it Works to Relieve Stress
Stress is a physical and emotional condition that affects teenagers as well as adults. It is the body’s natural response to anger, frustration, and can lead to depression and even physical sickness if allowed to continue.
When someone hits a punching bag, their brain releases endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin, which are the feel-good mechanisms that give a temporary “high” or rush of energy. Besides feeling better, punching something relieves physical muscle tension.
The benefits of punching are stress relief, improved concentration and focus.
Being able to vent frustration by hitting something is a good way to relieve that stress and not let it build up. People who don’t have a way to vent their anger and frustration end up being very volatile and tend to “blow up” at friends and loved ones over minor things.
This was my son’s problem, he was always yelling and angry so other kids would avoid him. This made it hard for him to adjust to new circumstances.
Therapists tell you to punch a pillow to take out your frustration but pillows just aren’t sturdy enough and just not practical in this case. We made a pile of old pillows on the couch (not wanting to damage the newer ones) for him to wail on when he got mad. This worked for a little while, but I knew I needed something better so I started looking around for sports and gym equipment.
The Hunt for Gear
I thought it would help him to have his own equipment at home so he could train or practice whenever he wanted. I found some boxing gloves and headgear relatively cheap ( I didn’t want him hurting his hands) while practicing.
His coach suggested a couple of places I could look for a punching bag. He said he works with a lot of kids with temper issues and this works pretty well to help them with stress and frustration. It helps when they are practicing with the team to be able to do drills without becoming angry.
For kids who are into boxing, or mixed martial arts, a punching bag is a vital piece of equipment to have.
These bags make perfect practice targets for helping hone punching and kicking techniques. They are great for sparring practice as well as solo use. Make sure to buy the appropriate size and type that works best for your child.
After doing some research into punching bags, here are a few things I learned:
There are different types of bags for different uses. For boxing and MMA-style sports, a heavy bag is recommended. These bags are sturdy and can withstand a lot of force. They typically weight between 30 – 200 lbs and may be hung on a chain or swivel base. These bags come in different shapes such as round, angeled, or cylindrical.
Speed bags are used for punching also, but they are designed more to increase speed and accuracy instead of relieving stress. It’s a good investment for a rising amateur boxer, just know that this will not replace a heavy bag.
Here are a few tips when purchasing equipment:
These tips are designed to help you choose the appropriate type of equipment and avoid making some common mistakes.
Find a bag with the right weight
For kids weighing between 125 and 145 lbs, and 70 lb bag works well. It provides the right amount of resistance and is very sturdy. You want it heavy so it doesn’t swing around while you’re attacking it. If it’s too light it may come around and knock you for a loop.
Protect your hands
This one can’t be stressed enough. Without proper protection for hands, you will get grazed knuckles, which is really painful. It is essential that you get a good quality of leather gloves. This tip comes from Billy Vaughan, a trainer at Title Boxing Club in Indianapolis and was an MMA fighter for 10 years. They may be a bit more expensive but it is worth it.
Get a stand
This may seem like a no-brainer for some, but you would be surprised at the number of people who hang the bag from a beam or tree branch rather than spend the money for a stand. These objects are not capable of handling the weight of the bag and the stress of someone pounding away on it while it’s hanging there. You could damage your home structure or break the branch under the sustained weight.
When purchasing my son’s equipment I took these recommendations and tips into consideration. I found a couple of good options that would work well for any teen or adult. There are a couple of different variations, but I chose the one that I felt was appropriate for him and his needs and would encourage other parents to do the same. Pick the one that you feel they will benefit from the most.
Here are a few products we looked at:
Power Core Bag from Everlast
It is a free-standing bag with a weighted bottom. It has an air-form chamber and heavy vinyl material. It is very durable and is perfect for boxing or MMA kicks and punching. It is a little smaller than most standard hanging bags, but it works just as well.
The last time I looked these were about $150 but you can check the latest price here.
Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag
This option includes the 70 lb bag, gloves, and hand wraps. It is adjustable and comes with everything needed to set it up. This was my second choice but I didn’t have anywhere to hang it and I ended up getting him something else for Christmas. I will probably save this one for his birthday and buy the stand so I don’t have to hang it.
What I Chose:
Century BOB Body Opponent Training Bag
This was a bit more money but I really felt this one was better for what he needed right now.
It is the appropriate height and size of a real person, which is great for focus and practicing blows to different areas with better accuracy.
It is adjustable and the base weighs 270 lbs when filled with sand or water. This one is really stable and he can’t knock it over no matter how many times he hits or kicks it, it stays right in place.
I chose the BOB for him because it will help him with boxing practice, and he mentioned to his dad last week that he wants to start training in MMA. I think this will serve him well for both.
I paid about $290 but you can check the latest price on Amazon here.
I plan to purchase the heavy bag for his birthday in August. He will have his own training area where he can invite team members over to practice with him.
The BOB training bag has really helped my son find a healthy outlet to let off steam and vent his frustrations. After 10 minutes of training, he’s like a different person. I wish I’d purchased one years ago.