MMA-Today is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Do You Fill a Punching Bag With?

Punching bags do not come cheap, especially the best punching bags. They can cost anywhere from $70 to +$300 depending on the type, quality, weight, and purpose. So how can you get a high-quality punching bag without breaking the bank? The answer is surprisingly simple. Buy an empty bag and fill it yourself. But then, of course, comes the question of what do you fill a punching bag with?

Your punching bag is an essential tool for boxing or martial arts training. When you strike a punching bag, its resistance activates deep muscles – muscles that are difficult to work otherwise. So if you are serious about the sport of boxing, investing in one or more punching bags isn’t optional. It’s completely necessary.

What to Fill a Punching Bag With

There are many different materials you could use to pack your bag. Finding out which material is the right one for you is another question entirely. That mainly depends on how heavy you want the bag to be and your current skill level.

If you’re looking to increase the power behind your strikes, you’ll want one of the heavier punch bags. (1)

“The heavy bag is great for raw strength and power.”

Freddie Roach

However, the advantage of a lighter punch bag is that it doesn’t require as much force to send it swinging. Lighter bags are ideal when practicing quick and accurate boxing combinations. 

What Material Is Used To Fill A Boxing Bag? – Heavy

If you’re wondering what to fill a heavy bag with, your best bet is to fill it with smaller and finer materials. Sand dust and thinner fabrics as heavy bag filler will give it the weight and density you’re looking for.

If you’re thinking about filling your whole punching bag with sand to make it as heavy as possible, don’t. Your bag will be too dense and it might even tear due to the weight of the sand.

We recommend an outer layer of fabric and inner layers of sand for the perfect weight and density so your heavy bag punching goes as smoothly as can be.

What Material Is Used To Fill A Boxing Bag? – Light

Lightweight bags are easier on the joints and better for increased precision. If that sounds like the punching bag for you, consider using some of these materials as punching bag filler.

  • Foam
  • Cloth strips
  • Old clothes
  • Towels

Materials like these will give you lighter, softer punching bags. Of course, many lightweight commercial bags contain air, but that can be tough to DIY. (2) Whatever filling you use, remember to compress your punching bag as you continue to add to it for the best possible results.

Boxer loads up on a punch in front of a heavy bag
While nothing can beat joining a gym, training at home is a fantastic way to stay in shape and learn.

The Steps You Need To Take

  1. Buy a good quality bag that can take vigorous punching. Choose one made of leather, vinyl, or canvas if you want it to last.
  2. After determining what type of bag you want, buy the appropriate filling.
  3. Optionally, you can create a weighted core by filling a cardboard tube or PVC pipe with rice, sand, sawdust, fabric, or foam.
  4. Insert your core into the middle of the bag and fill the rest of it with your chosen materials. Be sure to compress everything evenly to make your punching bag heavy as possible.
  5. Seal your bag.

Final Thoughts

What do you fill a punching bag with? A Thai fighter kicks a heavy bag.
Heavy bags – whether homemade or not – are also a great way to drill kicks.

The question of ‘what do you fill a punch bag with’ is one that is certainly a good one to be asking if you’re having a hard time finding the best punching bag for your training. With options such as sand, sawdust, cloth, or even old clothes to get it filled, you can then customize it to fit your needs. In general, DIY punching bag ideas are a better way to save money than shelling out for a pre-made bag. From there, with all of this information on-board, you’ll have your punching bags hanging in no time!


There are several ways to stop your freestanding bag from moving when you strike it. You can weigh it down with sandbags, put a rubber mat under it, bolt it to the floor, or fill the base with a heavier material. It might even be a simple matter of adjusting your freestanding bag so that it’s not at its max height.

Yes, but there are a few things to consider when filling a punching bag with water. The most important is that your bag must be water tight. You don’t have to buy material since you can just turn on the faucet. And you don’t need to worry about compression because the water will naturally fill your bag evenly. However, there is always a chance that you get to a point where condensation and leaking becomes a concern.

  1. How to Buy a Punching Bag and What to Do With It. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from
  2. Punching Bag. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from

Leave a Comment