We get it. It’s a brand new punching bag. Maybe you even went as far as putting a custom punching bag in your gym. The first thing you want to do is give that thing your best jab – cross combo. The problem is, especially if you’re beginning your journey, injuries from heavy bags are all-to-common and easily avoided. The heavy bag is designed to take every ounce of power a fighter can generate. Your hands are decidedly, not designed for that. Throwing as hard as possible carries the inherent risk that one of the 27 tiny bones in your hand might be the weak link. Even for an experienced fighter hitting a new heavy bag can be dangerous. In this article, we’ll go over the most common injuries incurred using the heavy bag – and how to avoid them.
How to punch a heavy bag properly
How about we begin a simple demonstration of anatomy? Using your Thumb and pointer finger on your left hand, grab the pinkie knuckle pinky knuckle on your open right hand. Give it a wiggle up and down. Quite a range of motion there, right? Now try doing that with your middle knuckle. Solid. No flex at all. Landing a punch straight with the middle knuckle is the ideal surface to land a punch with. This displaces the force along very solid skeletal structures. Look up any article or video on how to punch properly and you’ll find this advice.
Punching at the Proper Angle
The mistake many people make, especially beginners is miscalculating and landing at an incorrect angle. If you’re very unlucky, you’ll land a punch with just the knuckle of the pinkie finger. The less supported bones flex under the pressure of a full force punch. Sometimes they flex too far and crack or break. This is known as a boxer’s fracture. It will swell up like a baseball, essentially immobilize half your hand for however long it takes to heal. Usually weeks. If you try to punch again too soon it’s likely to happen again. Make no mistake, everyone typically tries to maintain good form, and it’s not too hard when you’re thinking about it. However, this type of injury, like many sports injuries, typically comes during a period of fatigue, or even rage, when you’re not thinking about proper form.
The second major weak point of the hand is the base of the thumb. In boxing gloves with tacked thumbs, as most are these days, it can be a bit harder to make a proper fist with your thumb off to the side. It’s super common to see jams and sprained thumbs bothering plenty of the folks that wanted to finish off their brand new punching bag routine with a crushing haymaker, only to find they misjudged the distance. This can cause the base of the thumb to be the point of impact. Ouch.
The third is known in grappling as the wrist lock. The wrist, when pushed down with toward the elbow with sufficient force can cause immense pain. If pushed to it’s limit, it can severely injure or break a wrist. For a striker hitting a bag, if the wrist muscles are not properly braced the wrist can flex down into this position on a punch. Sprained wrists can happen, but even if it’s not a serious injury, it hurts like hell.
2 Ways to Avoid Punching Bag Injuries
We can’t say it enough: use proper technique, at all times. If you’re new to boxing, even if it’s just some light bag work for a fitness class, proper technique is critical while you build your tolerance to the constant pounding. Landing with the heavier more supported knuckles, with proper form and every muscle in the wrist braced for impact.
As mentioned above, technique and form typically break down under times of fatigue or stress, even for experienced fighters. That’s why the second best way it avoid boxing injuries is:
The KRBON brand products have a perfect deal for the beginner to break into the boxing game, without sacrificing quality and protection found in most “beginner” boxing gloves. KRBON equipment is popular even with amateur and professional fighters because of the amazing combination of quality and pricing. The high quality gloves help spread out the force of landed punches lessening the chances of a break, while the included pair of boxing hand wraps help keep your hands and wrist stabilized.
Never used hand wraps for boxing before? Check out our video below on How to Wrap your hands for Boxing, Muay Thai and MMA.
When used properly the wraps give support to the wrist and thumb, preventing all the tiny flexible bones and joints in your hand from flexing a bit too far if you miscalculate. Beyond amazing function and protection, we love the clean, minimalist design of KRBON boxing gloves.
Bonus: For anyone looking for Muay Thai or MMA gear KRBON also offers one of the best combos of price and quality Muay Thai shin guards in the game. If you ever saw Anderson Silva break his leg, you know the value of a good set of pads. Don’t make one miscalculated kick in sparring a traumatic and life changing hospital trip. These also cover the top of the foot at just the right amount, without the floppy, way-too-long pad of most other MMA shin guards that typically get in the way while training. Anybody who ever landed a kick on an elbow can tell you it’s horrible and another common injury in the Muay Thai crowd.
Those stepping up to the heavy bag for the first time are likely to hurt themselves. The heavy bag will gladly show you your mistakes in your punching technique through negative reinforcement. Stay focused on form & technique and get some rock solid boxing gloves to help minimize and reduce the severity of any injuries.
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