Does punching a bag build muscle?

So we know that it’s December and you are all hyped for your new year’s resolution to build a nice physique. If you are wondering about ways to cut that fat down and increase the muscle mass, then punching a bag is a fine option.

Punching a bag not only builds muscles but if done the right way it can be used to target the upper body muscles to increase their size, cut down the fat in those areas and to build such endurance in the whole body that no other workout could have ever made possible.

There are multiple variations in building muscle by punching a bag that include the type of the bag and the way you are striking it. These variations can produce the kind of results you want, essentially in your pectoralis, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and traps resulting in a complete upper body workout.

However, there’s something to keep in mind. Although punching a bag will build muscle, the results are only a mere proportion of what a proper gym workout can produce. If you are totally relying on building muscles with the help of a punching bag, then it is certainly not the best available option. Yes it does build muscle and if combined with your gym workouts, can improve the amount of muscle mass, but choosing solely a punching bag won’t be the best of the options available out there.

Here’s how punching a bag will build muscle in numerous different ways.

A Whole Body Workout:

Can boxing damage your hands

So when you think of punching a bag, you might also be thinking that will it essentially target your whole body?

The answer is surprising, YES.

It’s a fact that the emphasis would although remain on your upper body which includes your wings and back, those forearms, biceps, traps, shoulders, and the other upper body muscles, but the complete motion brings your whole body into play. Read all about complete body workout here.

Consider Biceps Curls here, an exercise where only your biceps are focused. The Punching bag on the other hand doesn’t work like that. This is because of the mobility this exercise requires compared to bicep curls. Of course, you won’t just be standing still, stagnated over a place if you are punching a bag in the right way, you’d be moving all around the place that too while jumping aggressively.

This motion forced by the shuffle of your feet targets your hamstring, glutes, quads, and other lower body muscles producing a fine pump and tear and when nourished with the right diet it would make them grow healthier and bigger in the long run.

Targets Specific Areas:

is boxing worth it and how to avoid boxing injuries5

The main thrust you provide while punching a bag comes from your shoulders hence shoulders are the most targeted areas while you punch a bag. So punching a bag makes your upper body specifically shoulders stronger. However, the muscle building isn’t just limited to those shoulders only as explained above.

Another targeted area is the core. If overall body strength is something that you are after, then you must have a strong core, and punching a bag certainly strengthens those core muscles. Your body twists through, while you are punching the bag and the impact makes sure that your core is engaged.

However, keep in mind that while punching, the main progress you’ll make is of strengthening those muscles, the muscle themselves won’t grow that much as they do by other exercises and workouts.

Build those Calves by punching a bag:

Difference between boxing shoes and the wrestling ones.

If Alladin asked a fitness freak about any three wishes, one of them would be probably to have bigger calves. Even if you are doing everything right, Calves simply don’t grow that easily unless you are doing something out of the ordinary.

One of those things that is out of the ordinary is adding punching a bag to your routine workouts. All the movement around the bag while punching it when you are standing tall on your toes activates those calf muscles.

So if you are already working on those muscles, this provides an additional focus on them resulting in an extra work out for them really hard to grow calf muscles. In the long run, if done consistently you shall notice a considerable difference forced by doing this, but keep in mind to jump and punch the bag as forcefully as you can, while remaining on your toes.

Variations in Punching a Bag:

Boxing History - Timeline and Facts

There are basically two main variations for punching a bag dependent on the type of bag. There’s a heavy bag, a light or a speed bag.

When you land your punches on a big heavy bag, the weight of the bag provides great bit of resistance as it just won’t move that easily. In this situation, all your punches are landing right into the bag transferring all your energy just in the right way. This will contract a high amount of muscle fibers particularly in your upper body and the contractions do play a significant role in muscle building.

A heavy bag also strengthens your wrists and arms. Strong wrists, arms and forearms play an essential role when it comes to heavy lifting and hence add up for numerous multiple ways of how punching a bag directly and indirectly builds muscle.

The other variation of light bag or a speed bag are mainly for developing speed and agility. You are supposed to punch faster that makes you lose more calories. This variation mainly focuses on providing you an overall caloric deficit which enables you to have a better muscle definition.

An estimate tells us that a 200 pound person would burn 525 calories per hour by punching a bag. This shows how effective punching a bag can be for providing you better muscle definition through a greater caloric deficit.

A great source of Cardio:

Throw a punch

Boxing is one of the best source of cardio that will help you burn down some extra calories. The greater your caloric deficit is, the faster will you’ll cut down fat and by doing so, you’ll see the muscles on your body well defined and more pumped all the time. In simple word, your muscle mass might not increase by Cardio but your muscle definition would be better which is certainly the goal for many out there.

Moreover, another more preferred way of losing fat and toning muscles is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which is considered way more effective than Cardio itself. HIIT is basically a cardio strategy or variation itself which is done in intervals with much higher intensity. It just paces up the process of the same thing that cardio is supposed to do.

Fortunately, you can create variations in your punching bag workout to perform HIIT to get higher muscle definition. For this, a heavy bag is preferred although a light bag would still pretty much do the job.

So punching a bag will also tone your body by burning the fat and if a lean physique is something you want then definitely add this exercise to your routine too.

Builds Endurance:

benefits of

Punching a bag for particular intervals of time and increasing those intervals with the passage of time would provide you great muscular endurance. Your own body weight acts as resistance against your arms which provides you the ability to exert force for longer periods of time.

Although endurance itself comes pretty handy, another benefit is that it allows you to perform your other workouts for longer periods of time. The other workouts won’t make you tired as easily as they could earlier because of the endurance that you’ve built by punching a bag.

The endurance allows you to perform higher repetitions in your exercises and results in longer workouts so as a whole, your overall performance increases.

The Diet for Building Muscles with a Punching a Bag:

Punching bag boxing

In order build muscles by punching a bag, you must make sure that you are taking the desired level of protein. If your daily protein intake isn’t sufficient enough, then your muscles simply won’t grow, in fact in that case, you might feel exhausted and tired all the time.

By protein intake we also don’t mean that you keep on gulping down those protein shakes all day long. In order to build muscle, the rule for protein intake says that your protein intake in grams must be twice as much as your lean muscle mass. Now you just have to get that right and if your diet isn’t providing you enough protein as required by your body, do add supplements or protein shakes.

Also add complex carbohydrates and fruits with more fibers. In addition to that, do make sure that your water intake per day is also sufficient enough and you are keeping your body hydrated all the time.

Is punching a bag good for your health?

Punching a bag although won’t add that much of a muscle mass if it’s the only exercise you are doing, it still comes with great health benefits.

Besides that, in order to live a healthy life, you don’t necessarily need to build muscles. Punching a bag is mainly an aerobic activity which has countless benefits for respiratory and circulatory system. It also improves your blood pressure, boosts healthy cholesterol, improves your mental health, manages your blood insulin levels and help you fight tons of diseases that a person with no physical activity is likely to have.


To summarize all the aspects of muscle building by a punching bag, we would say that it pretty much depends on your physique related goals.

We would recommend you to go for regular punching bag workouts only if you have lean physique goals or if you are already working out and want an additional workout that strengthens your muscles and cuts down the fat which is a huge plus point in a well-built muscular physique.

However, if you want to bulk like hulk and all you are doing is punching a bag, then the results won’t simply be that good. In that case, we recommend you to focus more on other bulking workouts with lesser punching bag exercises.