Help my heavy bag lose its love handles.
June 23, 2012 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me find a long-term solution for combating the settling of materials in my 100lb heavy punching bag?

I have a 100lb Title synthetic leather heavy bag and I have very deep feelings for it, and as the bottom of the bag gets more bulbous and firm and the top gets loosey goosey my heart hurts and I just want it to stay how it was when I got it.

There are three people that use it, so it gets an enthusiastic beatdown most days of the week. I intermittently take it down to the ground and give it a hearty beating up and down, invert it and shake it, etc., but the benefits of this are very short-lived.

The internet is full of a lot of sort of dopey and suspect advice about fighting and boxing and I'm not really clear what the best avenue of approach is to this problem. But there must be a solution because tons of people use heavy bags and I'm pretty sure they don't throw them out after a few months.

The two methods I have seen are periodically emptying and repacking the bag, and duct taping the bag. I'm happy to spend the effort to repack it, but I guess I'd like some confirmation that that will buy me a significant amount of time with a properly distributed heavy bag. I'm also concerned that the material of at the bottom 3rd of the bag has stretched, making the problem permanent. So I hope what I'm seeing down there is just misshapenness and not stretching.

When I first looked up to find advice on duct taping a bag I was surprised to see that some people duct tape the ENTIRE bag. I can see how this would keep the bag hold its shape, but it seems a bit drastic to me. And irreversible. When the backing on the tape wears through do you just put more on? When does it end?

My own (admittedly suspect) idea was to apply a ring of duct tape tightly around the bag about a 3rd from the bottom, cinching it a little bit to create a bottleneck that would (theoretically) keep more material from settling that low. But, uh, I haven't really done the math on that.

Help will be appreciated!

P.S. I found some AskMe's about repairing tears in heavy bags, but not about the problem of settling of filler, so I am somewhat confident that this isn't a double. But I have been wrong before.
posted by My Famous Mistake to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would think that you could simulate the effect of duct tape with nylon straps (either with ratchets or double D-rings to fasten them). That would give you something removable and adjustable while still giving you the ability to bottleneck to your hearts content.

At the bare minimum, this would give you some info about where and how to apply duct tape if it came to that...

I don't know what the filling is but any sort of supportive liner inside your bag would accomplish something similar. You could even duct tape or strap the inner liner in lieu of the outer one?
posted by milqman at 6:20 PM on June 23, 2012

Would it be possible to attach straps to the bottom so that you could hang it either right side up or upside down? Then flip the way it hangs every week (or whatever).
posted by Flunkie at 6:45 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

A long-term solution would require you to purchase a casing similar to your existing bag and pour the contents into it, and when the feeling of a delicate touch of your over-hand left does not possess the bone crunching soft tissue impact sweetness, pour the contents into the other bag and re-hang.
posted by vozworth at 6:50 PM on June 23, 2012

Milqman, I like the nylon straps for testing the duct tape theory. Long-term makes me nervous though, I have a strong desire not to shin kick d-rings or a ratchet. Duct taping the inside is also theoretically brilliant, but duct taping the inside of a six foot tube sounds slightly impossible. Even if I turned it inside out a tape job stiff enough to help would probably make it impossible to turn right side out again.

There's a d-ring on the bottom of the bag but it's meant to secure the bag to the ground so it swings less and not to bear the whole weight of the bag as it swings around a whole lot. The very stout leather loops on the top of the bag are a bit out of my sewing ability's range.

voz: My overhand left is only as delicate as a great white shark is effete.
posted by My Famous Mistake at 7:51 PM on June 23, 2012

Seconding the "double-hung" option mentioned by Flunkie. I accomplished this for a period of time by obtaining a second cover and modifying the straps so that the bag could be hung "right-side up" and then flipped "upside-down" so it was always offsetting the settling that occurs with most fillers (sand especially) This is great to because you don't need to sew, just be willing to destroy the bottom of a bag to allow the other bags' straps through.

Another option which I have done with a Muy Thai bag was more complex. These bags tend to be longer than your typical boxing/punching bag. My trainer and I figured this out:

Bag 1:
Layers of self contained materials using truck or tractor tire innertubes (we used sand, and sawdust)
We layered it in such a way as to mimic body compositions (flesh/bone) so that whether right side up, or upside down (see "double-hung" above) the presumed height corresponded somewhat to the softer/harder expectations of where you would be hitting a person.

Bag 2 and 3:
We still have the do the double hung approach but we take Bag 1 and place it inside bag 2 with a fully insulating layer of (Denim,Wood Pellets, Rubber Mulch) This gives you the feel of the muscle/fat layer over the harder packed sand and sawdust in Bag 1 and then you use Bag 3 to make it a "double-hung"

We never had an issue having or finding extra bags to use as many folks discard or trash perfectly serviceable bags or sell them cheap on Craigslist when they get demotivated.

You can get other ideas by searching for "bulgarian training bag" but this was the best option and consistent feel over the long term (several years) with lots of users and activity.
posted by emjay at 8:04 PM on June 23, 2012

Okay I think I get what you're describing with the double-hung bag.

So you take bag 2 and slip it over the whole bag 1 like a condom and then cut slits in the bottom of bag 2 so that the straps of bag 1 are exposed?
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2012

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