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Have you ever seen someone train with a punching dummy? Perhaps not.
If you have seen a person train for a boxing or martial arts event, they may have used a punching bag to hone their skills.
The issue with this training approach is that it can fall short of simulating the weight and feel of striking or grappling with an actual person. That is why finding the best punching dummy or grappling dummy is vitally important.
A punching dummy bag is a more specialized training bag that allows you to perform the same activities but its shape and the material it is made of is very different, as it is shaped like a person.
They can be used in place of a regular free standing punching bag. Or some can be used in place of a sparring partner.
In this article we will give a better understanding of what they are, how to use them, as well as what to look for before purchasing one.Afterwards, you will get a closer look at five of them with their pros and cons, receive an evaluation of them all and get a recommendation.
Finally, we will provide workouts that you can do with a punching dummy.
Alright, let's get to it!
Overview of Dummy Bags
If you have seen a person train for a boxing or martial arts event, they may have used a punching bag to hone their skills. These bags normally hang from the ceiling and you can move around them while punching, kneeing and kicking it.
A punching dummy bag allows you to perform the same activities but its shape and the material it is made of is very different. More and more people and gyms are using them to get in shape and improving their fighting skills.
In this article we will give a better understanding of what they are, how to use them, what kind of workouts you can do and what to look for before purchasing one.
Afterwards, you will get a closer look at five of them with their pros and cons, receive an evaluation of them all and get a recommendation.
What Is A Punching Dummy
Training dummy bags are designed to look like a human instead of the standard, hanging punching bag. Some have an exact human shaped head, with a replicated chest and torso. These versions will give you the impression of fighting a real person.
Others have a basic outline of a full body that can be reshaped around the legs and arms for grappling techniques. They do not completely look like a person but it does have the outline of one, still giving you the feeling you are battling someone.
Whichever version you choose, they give you the practice needed to hit, kick and punch something that looks like an actual being instead of a cylindrical shaped bag. You can see what body parts to hit and perfect your fighting skills by targeting those areas.
These dummy’s can be fought while standing upright or placed on the floor. Some will have multiple heights you can modify, making it seem like you are working with someone new every day.
Others will have a generic shape of a body and allow you to toss them over your shoulder or across the room. There are some models that have handles on them to help you perform weight lifting.
Whether alone at home or at a gym with no one to help you practice, a dummy can give you the training you need for your workout.
How We Evaluate a Punching Dummy
Finding the right training dummy takes some thought. There are hundreds of options for you to choose from and you want to make certain to get what works for you.
Since you might be starting off fresh to fighting (training) or moving from the standard punching bag, you will need to know what specific characteristics to look for in a dummy bag. Below is a list of features you should look for when choosing one:
Type of material
MMA Dummy’s should be made out of high quality material such as leather, polyester or vinyl. Other dummy’s would need to have polyethylene, plastisol and/or urethane foam. Each quality is essential for its durability.
The dummy’s would need to have multiple height adjustment to mimic fighting a different person. It is also helpful if you want to have a good reach to hit various parts of its body if it is too tall or short.
Stability (Training Dummy)
Whether you can hit really hard or very soft, the dummy has to be stable enough for you to stay consistent with your routine. If it moves around the floor too much, you may get frustrated from having to move it back to its initial position.
Stability (MMA Dummy)
Being able to kick and punch your dummy is an essential part of MMA fighting but flipping your opponent over and striking them on the ground is also important. The type of dummy you want for this situation is one that is light enough for you to throw on the ground and pick up over your shoulders. But it should be heavy enough for it to make an impact when you are preparing to strike or kick. It should also be capable of standing on its own or be easily hung.
There are some dummy bags that come empty and you will have to fill it with something to keep it stable or punch it. Some suggested material include using old clothing, hay, sand, old blankets, mulch or anything of that nature. The main goal is for the seam or opening to be easily accessible to add the contents.
At this point, you have an understanding of:
- What dummy bags are
- How to use them
- What to look for when purchasing them
We can now take a look at five dummy bags that might interest you.
Century B.O.B. XL with Base Unit
A leader in dummy bag models, the Century BOB (Body Opponent Bag) XL is a freestanding heavy bag that has a life-like upper torso. There is more striking area for the head and body and is useful for training all MMA, Boxing, Striking, etc.
You can perform crosses, hooks, body shots, head kicks and jabs. It is very resilient and extremely reliable.
Its body is made with high-strength plastisol and the inside is filled with urethane foam. The base is comprised of polyethylene and holds up to 270 pounds of water or sand to keep it from moving across the floor.
This BOB punching dummy has multiple height adjustments, ranging from 60” (5‘) to 80” (6’ 6”). The mannequins’ dimensions are 40” x 15.5” x 10.5”, its base has a 24” diameter and a height of 19.5”.
Without being filled, the BOB punching bag weighs 50 pounds and can be easily rolled from one area to another. You can remove the torso from the base and place it on the floor for ground striking training.
Century B.O.B. Body Opponent Bag
This version of the Century BOB punching dummy works similar to its XL version but has a shorter torso. It is useful for target work such as punching, striking and kicking. Very versatile.
Just like its big brother, the skin is made of high-strength plastisol and the inner cavity is filled with high-density urethane foam. This texture makes it suitable to punch the BOB punching bag with or without gloves.
It has a total weight of 37 pounds but can weigh as much as 270 pounds when filled with either sand or water. There are seven height adjustments ranging from 60” (5‘) to 78” (6.5’).
The BOB punching dummy mannequin dimensions are 30” x 22” x 12”, has a base that is 24” and a diameter of 19.5”.
Ok, so we’ve taken a look at some of the different benefits that come with using a stretch machine. Now, let’s quickly discuss how to determine which stretch machine is right for your needs.
Title Boxing Hydro-Flex H2O Big Punching Dummy
The Title Boxing Hydro-Flex H2O Punching Bag is a boxing and martial arts focused, free standing dummy. It is made of high quality latex and plastisol and is filled with urethane foam. This foam makes it resistant to extreme kicks and punches for both trainers and athletes.
It is specifically made for sparring, choking, kicking and grappling. The Title Boxing also enhances the accuracy that boxers need as they prepare to fight in the ring.
The polyethylene base coat, when filled with sand or water, can weigh up to 270 pounds. This provides enough stability which improves various punching techniques. This is what makes it our top pick.
Ring to Cage MMA Man Shaped Dummy
- Extremely sturdy
- Can fill with sand, mulch, clothing, hay, or newspaper
- Useful for ground and floor striking
- The seams are a bit small to place filling inside
- Difficult to keep other areas of the body structurally sound since it fills from the bottom up
- Does not come with metal chain or hook attachments
The Ring To Cage MMA Man-Shaped Dummy is specifically made for Muay Thai, MMA, Kickboxing and Boxing techniques. It is suitable for the highest level of training for realistic action.
It has a 360 degree design for kicks, throws, punches, strikes, use of elbows and knees. This helps mimic real striking/grappling.
The Ring to Cage Dummy can be used on the floor for ground training. Additional tools for keeping it up in the air are separate.
Even though it arrives unfilled, it is made of heavy duty polyester and coated with 22 ounces of vinyl. It has a height of 5’8” and can weigh anywhere between 70 to 75 pounds.
Aoneky 6ft Leather Unfilled Grappling Dummy
If you are training in more grappling focused practices, such as Jiu Jitsu, then the Aoneky Leather Grappling Dummy might be right for you. It has the same build as a person, with perfect arms and legs for practicing various punching and submission style techniques and is made with heavy duty industrial and unbreakable stitching.
Some people complain that they find this one too clunky. That's the point. Grappling is awkward, the other person gets in the way. That's how you get better!
It can weigh up to 140 pounds when filled. You can fill it up with old blankets, used cloths and/or pillow inserts.
The Aoneky Grappling Dummy comes in one height: 6’. It is 100% guaranteed and is good for men, women and children, as you can fill it to a weight that is suitable for whoever is training with it (although it is likely a bit large for kids to practice with).
Review and Recommendation
So, there you have it. Our introduction to what a punching dummy/grappling dummy is, how to evaluate them, and 5 to consider.
Each of the five dummy bags you have read above have their own unique qualities. The two Century B.O.B.’s differ slightly by their heights, torso and base. The Title Boxing has a shorter waist, making it easier for you to hone in on where you want to kick and punch.
The Ring To Cage and Aoneky 6 ft Grappling Dummy’s differ because of the way they hang or stand. They both are good for various Martial Arts work.
After taking everything into consideration, my recommendation is for the Century B.O.B Body Opponent.
This dummy bag can be used for various activities that the others cannot. You only have to fill the base with either sand or water to keep it stable. The foam on the inside of the head and torso is strong enough to take a lot of hits.
The torso is long enough to give you a better reading as to where to hit someone. And it can be removed from its base and placed on ground to perform certain martial art strategies.
Overall, the Century B.O.B Punching dummy is useful for punching and training that will take you far regardless of what sport or activity you choose to partake.
How to Use a Punching Dummy and Sample Workouts
All versions of training bags will allow you to strike them in some fashion. But the type of fighting technique you use will determine what you can or cannot do with them.
Head To Torso Dummy
Some of the popular dummy bags have a head, shoulders, chest and torso. With these versions, you can envision punching someone in the head, giving them a right hook, uppercut or a kick to the gut.
As you are standing in front of your opponent, you can practice striking them in the chest and stomach, either with your fists, elbows, knees or feet. You can go around and grab it around the head and practice putting it into a sleeper hold.
There are some models that can be removed from its base and placed on the floor. In that position, you can focus on how to hit someone while they are on the ground and take them out of commission, safely.
Arms And Legs
If you have decided to purchase a dummy that you can use for grappling as well, you will have more strategies to execute. These bags have adjustable arms and legs you can use to flip over, perform a twisting move or throw on the ground to punch and kick.
Having access to its arms, you could knock it onto the ground and pull it in the hopes your opponent will tap out. You can also learn how to twist its leg in a way that will put your adversary in pain but not break their leg.
Taking time to practice these attacks on the legs and arms will give you an advantage in a fight. These particular dummy bags tend to also have their knees bent so you can focus on grappling your opponent from behind, possibly performing a wrestling move.
Most dummy and training bags can be used on carpeted, hardwood or cement floors and can even be taken outside on your lawn. That's the benefit of their portability, they are very versatile.
There are various workout routines you can do either with someone or by yourself. Using a dummy bag, you will be able to do the same movements without having an actual person. Here are a couple that might be helpful.
3 Minute Boxing
As a beginner boxer, you have to work on your stance, distance and attack methods. Before making your first move, keep your arms up (bent elbows) with your fist tight up against your face and stand away from your opponent. This will prevent you from getting hit while preparing yourself.
When you are ready, move within range of your dummy and land a few punches with both your left and right fists, one after the other. Make sure to keep your arms straight without overexerting them. Step back after doing some of hits and repeat. The goal is to focus on getting some good hits to the face.
After getting a few punches in while you are still close, get in some left and right hooks to the face. Curve your right arm and take a swing at its left side. Repeat this by using your left fist, curving your left arm and striking at its face on the right side. You will perfect your skills at landing your left and right hooks properly.
Another close up skill you can do are uppercuts. While still close to your dummy, twist your body slightly to the right and use your right fist to go up under its chin. Repeat the same technique going in the opposite direction using your left fist. Take a step back and repeat the same steps.
Sticking with the close range strategy, try hitting your dummy in the chest and torso a few times, either straight on or from the sides. If it is straight on, try not to lock your elbows as you strike it. If going for the obliques, curve your arm preventing your elbows from locking up. Over time you will judge how well you can punch someone in these areas.
A boxer dodge is a strategy when a boxer dodges back and forth to keep the other fighter from landing swings at them. It helps you stay mobile and alert while in a match and get you to land a few hits when possible. You can practice this technique with your dummy buy dodging and weaving as you strike its head, torso and other body parts.
It may be hard to imagine a dummy throwing a punch at you, but focusing on the torso of the punching dummy, and practicing that focus will give you faster reaction speed during a fight. Make it 2nd nature.
Just like boxing, all other forms of martial arts involves some level of punching. The only difference is that the latter includes kicking, flipping and fighting someone while they are on the ground.
If you have an MMA standing dummy bag, you can practice flipping it over.
Holding the dummy’s arm across from you, pull it towards and away from you a couple of times to build up your momentum. When ready, turn your body, pull its arm over your shoulder and flip it over. You can do this a few times until it feels right.
Performing the same technique, tap your right leg on both sides of the dummy’s right leg a few times to prepare yourself for the flip. When you feel comfortable, place your right leg between the dummy’s legs and toss it over your shoulder.
Another flipping technique is to be on your knee to get your opponent over your body. To do this, use your right arm and grab the dummy’s arm across from you. Bend your right knee and get under your dummy as you place your other knee on the ground. While underneath it, pull its body over yours and land it on the floor in front of you.
A final technique you can do is wrap your left arm around its neck and hold its left arm with your right hand. While holding on, face your body forward with your knees slight bent and flip it over your shoulder.
These exercises are simple to do and will become easier over time if you keep practicing.
Learning how to kick your opponent is vital in any martial art platform. Your dummy will come in handy since it is equipped to take the pressure.
There are different ways you can kick your dummy:
- In the torso
- On the sides of the torso
- In the head (left or right side)
- In the legs
In The Torso
The simplest way of kicking someone in the torso is to use your heel or ball of your foot (right under your toes). Standing in front of your dummy, place your weight on your left leg (knee slightly bent) and lift your right leg up with your knee also bent.
Using your strength and forward motion, kick your foot forward making sure to hit the torso with your heel. After striking it, let your leg down behind you.
Repeat this a few times until you feel you are ready to kick with the left leg. Do your best to not over exert yourself and try to keep your balance.
On The Sides Of The Torso
With this technique, you will have your right side facing the dummy. Placing pressure on your left leg with your knee slightly bent, raise your right foot and kick the left side of the dummy’s torso with the top part of your foot. Let your right leg down behind your body and repeat.
You can switch over to your left foot when you feel comfortable.
In The Head
Using the same stance for hitting the side of the torso, raise your right foot and hit the left side of the dummy using the top part of your foot. Relax your leg to the side of your body and repeat the same steps.
After doing this a few times, practice with your left foot.
In The Legs
There are few areas on the leg you can place pressure on to disable your opponent. In all cases, you can use the ball of your foot, the heel, the top part of it or the side.
You can practice kicking the dummy on the front side of the thigh, in the knee (or where it would be if the legs are straight) or on any side of the leg. Regardless of how hard you kick, they will go down. Of course, you do not have to worry about your dummy getting hurt.
All of the steps mentioned above can be done repeatedly and at your own pace. Just remember to take your time, be mindful of your stance and how your body feels.
I prefer to do multiple 90 second rounds with a 60 second rest. Start with 3 or 4 rounds and keep adding rounds until you can work up to 10.
Well, today I hope I was able to shed some light onto what a punching dummy is, how to purchase one, a few that are available on the market, as well as how to workout with one.
If you are looking for regular free standing punching bags, please check out our reviews.