Benefits of a light weight bag workout

Posted by: GungFuMang

Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/19/09 11:08 PM

Light bag workout provides benefits to improve various aspects of kicks and punches. It provides a good coverage of speed, mobility, power.
While hitting a light bag, the weight of the bag demands that the hits are quick and snappy, because 'pushes' as opposed to 'hits' fail miserably on light targets, highlighting the sensation of wrongness when throwing a strike that turns out to be a 'push'. The extreme of developing this 'snappiness' is to use a very light target such as a focus pad, or a piece of paper on a string. So hitting a light target demands that speed of delivery and balance on recovery are key.
The light bag also provides enough resistance to strike realistically heavy hits. Landing heavy hits is fun, and when done in a fight, will cause a knockout. But most of the bout is sent throwing hits that make light contact, miss, are parried or blocked. Landing heavy hits on a heavy bag does improve focused strength of the hit, but if not careful, hitting a heavy bag can result in 'pushes' being thrown. With a light bag, heavier hits with all available strength can still be performed at opportune times. When a swigging bag is coming back, strike on an opposite angle to its direction of travel can be done with full power and appropriate resistance would be supplied by the swinging bag.
The variety of techniques and skills involved in a light bag workout provide training of skills utilised in a sparring situation. It provides, 'middle ground' between the fragmented extremes of very light and very heavy target practice.
My videos below illustrate the use of light bag workout for kicks and punches, then just kicks.

What do you think about these points, what's your favourite weight of the things you punch and kick?
Posted by: JKogas

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/20/09 07:03 AM

It's my opinion that bags are primarily used as a conditioning tool and for that, it's great. But I also believe that many folk's efforts on the bag will do them little if any good, particularly if they aren't sparring, or aren't sparring realistically.

IMO, you need to approach the bag as if you were sparring an opponent.

Bags are great, though I prefer mits if I'm going to work hitting. A small, circle pad will help to develop power if that's the goal.
Posted by: MattJ

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/20/09 09:27 AM

Light workouts are fine, although I prefer to use a double-end bag for very light practice. Heavy-bag gets full power from me.
Posted by: karl314285

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/21/09 02:20 AM

Light precision work ok on impact and other bags, a Heavy Bag should be Just That Heavy and Hard base...And all bags should be trained static and than placed in linear or circular opinion follows...

1.) The double end speed bag work followed my makawari work, I know from experience that
a.) if used inflated well and taut enough, practice required bob-n-weave as well as training to not shoot both hands out, If struck within proper closer (toe near bottom cord attachment) distance with power...that bag can hit back quite well (My nose and face know as it decreases time to react to recoil) if a hand or shoulder/arm was not ready for recoil. Great for fine motor skills and trial and error of combination as well as training rapid repeat kicking drills.

2.) Using a Hanging heavy bag (not one of those goofy water bags resting on floor)...was power training and as it was hanging, if a power Impact was applied the Heavy bag would respond differently than to a push ( I practiced both). A strike that is a push causes the bag to swing, a power impact either stops motion or creates a rocking motion and settles to center and also displays a "folding" at point of impact (The heavy bag I used was 100 lbs and the sawdust had settled in gradients to bottom so low leg kicks and low hooks or upper cuts were last as more body conditioning)

3.) as with both bags many people approach the bag as it sits static...more realism can be had by setting either type of bag into linear or circular motion prior to attack, causing one to use footwork to achieve closing or retreating attacks
a.)a Hard bottom heavy Heavy weight bag is great to condition shins and forearms while moving and (ergo makawari work prior) ensure that punching/chopping/wrist and palm power impacts have proper wrist and striking area of attack locked to avoid the bag broken wrist (recommended advanced only, start slow cause that lower heavy bag is a sawdust rock). Light heavy bags will not have the bottom weight to display overtly a push from a shocking impact and are for the unfamiliar to avoid injury. The well used Heavy bag if set in motion can bite back too...

***the motion of a weighty Heavy Bag can distinguish push from shocking impact. Practice of Pushing to uproot is also a good drill...Does the opponent stand still??? Neither should the Bags. Impact pads train more adaptability to change if the holder is good and safe.

Just my humble input.

-Karl. Peace.
Posted by: GungFuMang

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/25/09 11:35 PM

many thanks for the comments guys!

I agree the approach to hitting a bag should be as if you were sparring. Same goes for warmup, strength, and all other forms of exercises, if you train with the pugilist mindset that is
Yes, a focus pad does the same, but a light bag brings the variety of continuity and power variance as the bag swings, or when kicking into the bag as it's coming back from being hit. Affording a hard hit now and then for variety.



I agree with you and understand the light vs. heavy and punch vs. push. The motion of the bag is also important. Swinging the bag from a rafter, standing in the apex of the swing, kicking and punching, not letting the bag come down and swing over the apex. That's always fun. with a light or heavy bag, The heavier the harder to not let it swing past you !


not sure if you guys saw the vids I posted above. I'd love to hear some feedback on my technique.

I know about my front foot 'skipping back' at a predictable time, gotto improve that one

Posted by: TeK9

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 02:33 AM


Hello, very brave of you to post online.

First Clip: Your foot work needs improvement, your off balanced, and feet are everywhere. Don't let your feet touch each other. Find a good comfortable fighting stances and work on it. Bounce around a bit, set up your shots.

Your punches lacked power, you need to work on body mechanics most of your punches were all arm punches, you didn't use your waist . A couple times you pivoted on your feet. So work on body mechanics. Get on the balls of those feet.

Stop chasing the bag, pace yourself, work on footwork and balance to enhance your defense as well as your offense.

Also coming from a Taekwondo background, there are just some kicks that are not meant to be used while moving or attacking. For instance an inside crescent kick or a twist kick. These kicks are best used when in a stationary position. Perhaps a scenario where your being held down or tied up, then kicks like these could come into play.

Second clip: Wow you have some serious leg power guy. It's obvious by the way you had that bag flying and bouncing around like a soccer player that you have powerful kicks.

As far as your kicks, once again I say work on your footwork they will enhance your kicks once hundred fold, allowing you to be more functional with them. Once again when practicing your kicks I say work on the basic mechanics of the kick, the chamber and the execution and the pivoting of the hips.

Because you have so much power in your kicks, I suggest working focus mitts or training against an opponent. Working on your spacial relation like timing and distancing. Work to develop your game. Ofcourse don't forget to incorporate your punches to set up your kicks.

A suggestion. Dan Inosanto, and Paul Vunak use weapons training such as the knife to develop punching attributes. Using the knife to over emphasize body mechanics kind of like telegraphing. Will speed up your development with punches.

Get in a fighting stance. Take a knife in your lead hand. now start swinging in a over hand, hook, or uppercut. Because your using a knife your over emphasizing the motion because if u were to actually stab something you need that extra oomph in technique. Pivoting the feet, twisting the hips, in conjunction with the arms.

But most important is to have fun and keep practicing. Peace.
Posted by: GungFuMang

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 02:50 AM

thank you for that Tek9, all very valuable suggestions.

Yes I admit my footwork needs work, I need to stay in balance and lower to the ground and pivot my hips.

Thanks for the 'working with weapon' suggestion too

Much appreciated
Posted by: KompressorX

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 07:11 AM

I enjoyed watching your workouts GFM, thanks for the post. Good skills. I love the JKD step up kicks, They're very effective and I have found the bag workouts excellent for building endurance, proper distancing, and techinique.
Posted by: MattJ

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 07:46 AM


I think you looked pretty sharp overall. Your punches had good form, and power looked OK. Your footwork is OK, too. I would maybe recommend working around the bag a bit more, but generally things looked good. Your kicks had some decent power! Good use of both legs, too.

I will disagree with Tek9 about crescents on the move or as attacks. I have been on the receiving end of those from RazorFoot, and they can work just fine.

Thanks for manning up with a vid.
Posted by: TeK9

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 10:59 AM

You know I did make a mistake. I meant to say I would never attack with an outside crescent kick because it leaves you in an awkward stance/position when finished.

However, I would definitely use the inside crescent kick while attacking. In fact I prefer to use the rear leg inside crescent kick to attack my opponents head rather than a round kick. Its a faster smoother kick and due to the knee chambering it can be disguised as a front kick.

As opposed to the outside crescent kick which I would only use as a counter kick. Used with a half step back scoot followed by lead leg outside crescent kick. Then again this is only a TKD tournament style counter.
Posted by: matt_mcg

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 11:21 AM

I'm not sure if we are thinking of the same kick, but, in savate, the frontal revers [sort of an outside crescent kick] is pretty useful when attacking. You can throw it up close so it's not telegraphed too much, and you can use it to 'drag' through the opponents guard in a way that opens them up to a follow through with punches, or with a kick with the other leg. Or, if you are being flash, it sets up a turn into a different kick.
Posted by: MattJ

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/26/09 12:19 PM


You know I did make a mistake. I meant to say I would never attack with an outside crescent kick because it leaves you in an awkward stance/position when finished.

Yeah, I don't agree with that, either. RazorFoot has a specialty of using jumping outside-crescents to smash guard or simply go over it. Like matt_mcg says, it is hard to see since it sets up like a front kick. And there is nothing instrinsic about that kick that would put you in an awkward position. Imagine you are walking straight down a city sidewalk, and then you decide to turn 90 degrees to your side to walk into a shop - that is a crescent kick, minus the elevation.
Posted by: GungFuMang

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/27/09 12:30 AM

The kick you guys are talking about is a 'reverse hook kick' ?

In a southpaw stance, the right knee comes up on the centerline then the foot angles to the left and kicks in on an angle from bottom left to top right, kicking with the instep, just like in a hook kick.

This kick is quite comfortable and I know I've fooled a few people with it in sparring especially kickboxing / muay thai guys as they don't know of it. It's a sneaky one. As for balance and recovery in that kick, they should be just finae because the beginning and the end of the kick are still the same as other kicks (knee on centerline and quick recovery. This kick can have a fair bit of power in it and because of its angle, it's actually easier to recover from then a hook kick thrown with the same follow through because it will stop as it goes to the outside (right) of the body, rather than a hook kick that can go through (right to left) to make the body rotate if not controlled.

Thanks for the feedback on my technique guys I really appreciate it.

Anyway, here's another clip that I uploaded, I'd really appreciate your feedback on this one too.

Many thanks
Posted by: matt_mcg

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/27/09 03:54 AM

You can see a savate guy doing the kick I am talking about here:

It's a combo where he kicks the guy in the leg, then turns the same kick with the same leg into an outside crescent kick to pull down the guard and then follows with a punch. A similar combination repeated several times right at the start. Slow-motion from a different angle at about 0.35 in. The vid shows the crescent thrown to break down the guard from both front and rear leg. There's also some nice footwork shown there.

The guy in that vid is Kamel Chouaref :

that short compilation shows some light-contact training and then some full-contact knockouts using the same. Same outside crescent combo at about 1.15-1.25 in that vid.

Here's a JKD guy doing the same kick [although he's further out from the target and the swing across the body is less exaggerated than a textbook savate revers frontal]:
Posted by: GungFuMang

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/27/09 05:23 AM

The savate guys are doing hooking hill kicks whereas the JKD guy is doing a reverse hook kick (which is what I was doing)

The hooking hill kicks are harder to do, but can be used as a jabbing backfist, to disturb opponent's balance. I've even seen a knockout using a hooking hill kick as othodox stance guys don't expect it it as it goes inside their guard.
Posted by: matt_mcg

Re: Benefits of a light weight bag workout - 03/27/09 06:35 AM

You can throw that kick when you are toe-to-toe with the opponent. I'm not especially flexible, but that's one of the kicks I know I can flick up to head height while in close and throwing punches. It lands a surprisingly high % of the time -- although it only works if people let you get that close.

My timing could be better, so it wouldn't be that unusual for me to throw it just as the opponent leans slightly out of range.