I’ve made a lot of home training equipment. It’s amazing what you can build with some basic materials and duct tape.

Most supplemental items in your martial arts inventory don’t need to cost you a lot of money. If you don’t wish to spend time constructing it, you can certainly go ahead and buy the equipment ready to go.

Perhaps you want to meet in the middle, one of the most cost-efficient items to purchase is unfilled heavy bags. If you’ve never stuffed your own heavy bag and are not sure what to fill a heavy bag with, this article should help.

Besides being more cost efficient, there is other advantages to filling your own heavy bag.

With each bag being less expensive you can purchase multiple bags for the same price you’d spend on one. Once you know what to fill a heavy bag with and the different materials you can use, each heavy bag can be unique. Different weight, texture, and you can use each one for different purposes.

The most common thing to fill a heavy bag with is old fabric and clothes. Very important to remember if you will be using old clothes to fill your heavy bag. Make sure you remove all buttons, zippers, and any hard attachment that might be on your clothes.

You are going to be cutting your fabric into strips and smaller pieces so there’s no need to waste time taking those items off carefully. Just rip them off or cut them out when necessary.

When fabric is what you are going to fill your heavy bag with it will be lightweight. More than likely you are going to need to add more weight to your bag by adding sand. Sawdust or rice can also be used, but sand is the most common. Don’t just put sand directly into the lining of your bag.

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There are two options I like to use when I add weight to my heavy bags.

What To Fill Heavy Bag With

One option is using empty oatmeal containers. I will cut out one of the bottoms and stack them two or three high depending on the size of my bag. I will duct tape them together and then fill them with sand.

Once filled I will duct tape them again and make sure the sand is securely sealed within the oatmeal container. I will fill the very bottom of the bag with fabric before placing the oatmeal tube inside the heavy bag liner.

Then I will begin filling the fabric around the oatmeal tube. It is important to make sure the oatmeal tube remains centered as you continue filling the lining with fabric.

What To Fill Heavy Bag With

Another method I’ve tried is to fill large plastic freezer bags with sand. Again, completely wrapping the bag with duct tape to make sure the sand remains secure inside the bag. With this method I would recommend weighing each bag to make sure the weight remains consistent.

Similar to the oatmeal tube method, you want to make sure the sandbags remain centered as you stuff the heavy bag lining with fabric. The difference being you will be doing this method in layers as opposed to the oatmeal tube. With the oatmeal tube method, you center your weight (the oatmeal tube) and then fill and pack the fabric around it. With the sandbag method you will be filling your bags in layers adding more sandbags as you go.

The process to filling your own bag is really this simple.
  • Decide how much you want your bag to weigh. You can put the ripped fabric in a garbage bag to weigh. As you can also weigh your oatmeal tube or sandbags if you choose that method.

Traditionally it is believed as a beginner you start at a lower weight and begin increasing weight as you become more experienced. Also, as an experienced striker you may want different weights on your bags for workouts. There are times I want to use a heavier bag if I’m focusing on leg kicks, power, and cardio. Other times I use the lighter bags when I’m working on my rhythm and timing.

  • Begin by packing the pieces of fabric into the bottom of your heavy bag lining to create the first layer.
  • As you begin adding your oatmeal tube or sandbags for weight make sure to keep them centered.
  • Continue adding and packing the fabric as tight as you can. Your initial stuffing should be very tight and be hard to zip the bag shut when your done stuffing.
Now your bag is ready to go!

After several sessions on your heavy bag it is normal for the fabric to settle or need adjustment. Just simply repack the fabrics, sometimes adding more can be necessary. Over time and after a few heavy bag workouts your bag should be settled and have a consistent feel.

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