Punching bags are a relatively inexpensive workout option.
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Punching bags aren't just for training boxers and other fighters anymore. These heavy duty pieces of equipment are commonly found in commercial gyms and are used as part of everyday fitness routines, including abdominal workouts. While heavy bag workouts feature a variety of punches and kicks, the core is also engaged throughout the routine, resulting in a serious ab workout.
Focus on Your Core
Your abs and back make up one of your body's biggest muscular powerhouses - your core, and it's important to keep them strong. Building strength in your core not only can improve your balance and posture, it can also make everyday activities easier. Strong core muscles can also improve the function of surrounding muscles, such as your arms and legs. Harvard Health Publications also notes that low back pain, which affects four out of five Americans, can be reduced with regular core exercise.
Do a Punching Workout
Working out with a heavy bag, incorporate punching exercises and keep your core actively engaged for each move. Try punches like jabs and hooks, both of which are done from a boxer's stance, with your legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and fists raised to chin height. Jabs are done by punching straight out, while hooks involve rotating your body and following through with the punch. Other techniques that work your abs include punching on the upward movement of a squat, punching from the top stance of a push-up and standing on one leg while performing punches.
Add Some Kicks
Kicking is another large component of a punching bag workout, and again, the core is activated for these moves. Perform a side kick, which targets your obliques. Start by standing in basic kicking stance with one side toward the bag. Keep your feet a bit farther apart than hip width and with your knees loose. Then raise your knee that's by the bag toward the opposite shoulder. Pivot and quickly kick the bag with the bottom of your foot, leaning to the opposite side for balance. A roundhouse kick is performed from the same kicking stance. Point your right knee to the right of the bag, then pivot on your left foot and kick the bag with the top of your right foot.
Keep it Safe
A punching bag offers an alternative method for conditioning that can work your abdominal muscles in a variety of ways, but there are a few safety factors to keep in mind before your workout. When using a punching bag, always wear gloves to protect your hands from the impact. Hand wraps underneath the gloves will help even more. Always warm up before starting a punching bag workout with five to 10 minutes of jump rope, jumping jacks or jogging in place. When you start working out, start slow until your body becomes adapted to the new routine. Gradually build in intensity as you progress.
Include other Exercises
A punching bag can provide a solid workout for your abs, but it should only be a small part of your total fitness routine. To challenge your abs in different ways, incorporate a variety of exercises to do each week, such as push-ups, planks, crunches and cardio activities like running or cycling. Showcase your hard work by eating right to drop excess weight and reduce body fat to reveal the strong abs underneath.