– Dan LaSavage
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So, You Want a Killer Home Gym…
Everyone knows a home gym isn’t complete without a quality heavy bag. The problem is, they’re heavy which means the shipping costs can get a little steep. Don’t fret, we have the solution: reduce your shipping costs and buy an unfilled heavy bag that you can fill at home. In this blog, we’ll explain just how easy it is to fill a heavy bag yourself, and end up with a heavy bag worthy of your gym.
Before We Begin
… we just want to say – a quality heavy bag should last a lifetime in a home gym. There are many other tutorials showing shortcuts or “easy” ways to fill a heavy bag. This tutorial is based on how we at Combat Corner fill our heavy bags. So, take your time and do this right. It might take a few hours, but it’ll be worth it. This heavy bag is going to be with you for a very long time.
Choose the Right Materials
Filling your heavy bag with the right materials is critical. Lucky for you, you’ve probably got that stuff laying around your house right now. We’re talking t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, and shorts. Don’t worry, we won’t tell grandma about that sweater. Most people don’t have 100 lbs of clothes laying around. If this describes you, we recommend thrift stores, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. Even friends and family may have items laying around they haven’t had time to donate yet.
Many times stores like goodwill will have clothing that is unsellable due to holes or stains which will not be an issue for use in your heavy bag… And the best part is that you can get it free. You will need approximately the same weight in material as the bag weight rating. So if you have an 80 lb bag you will need 80 lbs of material. This is a lot of material. 1 pair of jeans on average will weigh around 1 lb… There are many other videos/tutorials filling bags with ballast weight, sandbags, etc which we suggest only using if you absolutely have to. Remember, you want to do this right. The best filled bags are done with pure compressed textile fabrics. Still on the hunt for material? Ever heard of a textile recycling facility? Search google for one now. There are tons of these places and many times you can buy the materials you need for as little as $0.15-$0.20 per pound.
Pro Tip: Make sure you wash that stinky old clothing before putting it in your heavy bag.
Prep Your Materials
Once you’ve got your raw materials, it’s time to shred them up. I definitely recommend some heavy duty scissors. You can find some cutting tools from your local craft store if needed.
With your tools in hand, make sure you cut out any hard points in the clothing such as Zippers, Rivets, Buttons or anything metal or hard plastic. You really don’t want to be punching any of that.
After you cut out all of the unwanted metals and hard plastics you can now start to break down your materials into the appropriate sizing. We suggest the material to be cut down to roughly the size of your hand. This makes it easy to fill and compress the material.
Now that you’ve got a pile of shredded fabrics it’s time to shape the bottom of the bag.Your tool of choice here is a broom handle or something similar.
Pro Tip: If possible hang your unfilled bag upright to ensure better filling, it allows gravity to better assist while you are filling.
Shape & Fill The Heavy Bag
To start, use the stick to pop the base out so you’ll be able to get material packed in those hard-to-reach places. Once the bottom is shaped add a 6 inch layer of material into the base of the heavy bag. Use that stick to shove the material tightly into the bottom edges of the bag. You will know when it’s good when the seams are taught. Now, start adding more material in layers of about 6 inches at time. Tamp it down with your stick focusing on tightly packing any gaps with material. Do this until the bag is half filled. Take a moment and feel around the outside of the bag with your hand. Look for pockets that need material. If you find any simply add more material in that area and press it in with the stick. Continue this process 6 inches at a time until you are to the top.
Once you’ve got the bag almost completely full, it’s time to zip it closed. Take care on this final step and finish properly. Take your time to work material in while you close the zipper slowly. This will ensure a fully filled bag that hangs properly.
Hang It & Enjoy
Now it’s time to hang and get a session in on your bag. Look at that thing! It’s glorious!
After a few sessions the material will further compress and begin to settle. If you want to increase the weight or density you can unzip and add material, following the same process.
Now, you’ve got an awesome heavy bag that you filled yourself AND saved money on.