Product Review:  Combat Sports Standing Heavy Bag

What first impressed me about the Ringside Elite Free-Standing Fitness Punching Bag (Model # FHB4) was the size and quality.  Upon unboxing, I was pleasantly surprised with the substantial nature of the product…it just felt like high quality.  What I must confess, before we go any further, is that Ringside/Combat Sports has agreed to be my Sponsor, and so this piece of training equipment was provided to me at their expense.  However, I will still be fair…. you’ll see… keep reading….
The base is actually 2 parts that hook together, and you put water in each side.  Should you ever have to move it, this might make it easier.
The “bag” itself is heavy, so when you hit it you really feel something.  However, there’s a huge amount of “spring” to it, so it has a lot of give and is perfect for someone who is not looking for substantial surface impact.
This lack of density will be perfect for many people.
This has a drawback for some, and a strength for others.  For example, when you do a low kick, it will NOT hurt your shins.  You won’t get the bruising that comes from a hanging bag.   For me, I like the bruising, because I want to toughen my shins.  However, the strength of this arrangement is that your legs bounce off the bag very quickly, forcing you into footwork and positioning rapidly.  A hanging bag will make a “thud”, and with this bag its more of a “pop”.  To each his/her own.   Neither is inherently better.  (Although in full disclosure I prefer a heavy bag for these low kicks.)
HERE IS THE MAIN ADVANTAGE THIS BAG HAS:
As someone who has purchased 40-50 heavy bags in the last 10 years,  I’ve used all types.
A heavy bag can lull you into a false sense of security if you don’t train properly because as we all know, “heavy bags don’t hit back”.
Well, until this one, I guess.   This bag will kick your ass!  (if you’re not careful)
It springs back into position so rapidly that if you DON’T HAVE YOUR HANDS UP it will smash you right in the face.
Will it hurt?  I don’t know, as I always have my hands up!  LOL
But it sure sends an immediate reminder of just what your opponent can and will do in actual combat.
At the Kickboxing Underground, we always train in a way that is hyper conscious of what our opponent will do.  That’s 50% of fighting.  Or more.
With this bag, if you forget, you’ll get a reminder.
So it forces you to keep your hands between you and your opponent- in case he rushes in (your hands can direct his head), or if he throws punches, your arms can intercede.
Sometimes after an ending strike, the bag will bounce back toward you and you can use head movement to avoid the simulated attacker.
Its a very good training tool.  And because its not dense, if you get hit in the face, sure it might smash your nose, but I doubt you’ll suffer any damage, so don’t be afraid to purchase this bag.
The other huge advantage, obviously, is that it doesn’t have to be hung, so it can work in ANY training environment, with NO stress to your structure.
Some “physics” to keep in mind:  A typical hanging bag will swing from the bottom the most.  THIS bag swings from the TOP.
Its a big difference, and you need to keep it in mind.
On one of the combinations in the Kickboxing Underground training system, (Combination #29, in Workout #3), you throw a  Jab, Cross, sweep opponent’s left front kick; switch kick, overhand right
When you get to that Overhand Right, the top of the bag is snapping back toward you and your overhand punch can result in major stress on your wrist.  So you have to be careful to avoid a workout-delaying injury.  But in a real fight you have to avoid injury too, so it causes you to think about scenarios such as these where you can injure yourself during a fight.  You’ll need to learn to throw not just power and pushing punches, but punches with speed, and snap, and a more immediate return to guard.
Lastly, we talked all about the springyness of this bag.  It moves all over as you’re throwing your fight combo.  While it might feel frustrating at times, this is more realistic of how actual combat would go down, so its great that the “opponent’s” head isn’t just standing right there while you throw a barrage of  punches at it.  With this bag, you need to be always recalculating your strikes, and your distancing and footwork and positioning.   Those are some crucial elements to fight training, kickboxing training, boxing, or MMA.
Here is my overall recommendation:
If you can hang a heavy bag, that is always my first choice.  And I would recommend you try this bag Punching Bag – Thai Bag – Combat Sports  (it’s only $199)
If you cannot hang a heavy bag, then I would definitely recommend this Ringside Standing bag.  It has served me VERY well and has been my sole and exclusive training device for 3 months now.  (And this is with 2 people training simultaneously)
What about all the great bags at the Sporting Goods Store or Walmart?
Ok, people, listen up:  Do yourself a huge favor and remember this golden rule:  Don’t get any of your training gear at a local sporting goods, department store, etc.  If you are thinking you were going to go check them out, don’t.  You have to buy online.  I know, I know… It sucks.  I like to feel stuff and handle the merchandise whenever possible myself, so I feel your pain.  But in the past 10 years, there has never been a time where I’ve seen quality gear for sale locally.  Never.  Not a single good glove or heavy bag.  I don’t know why this is, it just is.  Accept the fact.   There are only a handful of brands that I would recommend.  The famous one with 3 letters isn’t one of them, in case you were wondering.  That, and everything else you find for sale in a store is complete and utter crap.  I would never train with any of it.  They are toys and replicas, not serious training equipment.  (Ok, if you find a bag glove that’s made from leather, you’re off the hook and can buy at your own risk.  And MAYBE handwraps.  But you won’t find any leather gloves, so I guess I don’t have to worry.  lol.s)
What About BOB???
No review of a standing bag would be complete without a compulsory comparison with BOB the Body Opponent Bag.  I owned and used the BOB standing bag for 2 years and liked it well enough (as you might see in some of my videos), but it only has one advantage over this bag:  uppercuts.  Yet it comes with more disadvantage:  there is nothing really to strike below the ribs level, even on the XL model.   The Ringside Elite Free-Standing Fitness Punching Bag is my #1 recommendation for a standing bag for this reason alone.  It goes “lower” than any other standing model with the least amount of risk.  (Ie.  There’s nothing too scary down there that you might kick by accident.)
However, I just thought of an area in which the BOB excels:  Hooks
The BOB lets you hit better hooks.  The Ringside model has a larger circumference, and therefore to get as close to a 90 degree shot as possible, you have to hit the bag pretty “wide”.  BOB has a chin and a head/neck area to pop with hooks, and it’s a little more satisfying that way as its closer to the center of the body.
“It’s all about that bass!”
Or in this case, “base”.  The Ringside Standing Bag scores a win in the “base” category (the heavy plastic base that’s filled with water or sand).   BOB unfortunately tips backwards with a push kick and other heavy blows.  Then it comes crashing back forwards.  I was afraid it was going to crack my cement floor, and I tried a couple ways to stabilize it but never solved the problem.
The Ringside Elite Bag doesn’t have such a problem.  Its base has never tipped back.  The spring action absorbs so much of the force that it lessens the force on the base.  This is a pretty important factor in the overall scheme of things.
I will update the review as I stumble across any more factors that I think readers might want to know.
Disclosure:   Combat Sports and Ringside has agreed to “sponsor” my training program.  This means that if I request a shirt, or Thai Pads, or a heavy bag, they’ll buy it for me.  However, I do not receive even ONE PENNY on any item sold by them.  Ever.  No affiliate fee, no commission, no kickback, …no nothing.  I told them when setting up the Sponsorship that it would be best if I didn’t receive any incentive off of sales.  I only wanted to promote their company because I believe in it, and that way I could remain impartial and say anything I wanted about their products, even if it wasn’t going to be positive.  So you’ll always get the straight scoop here.   Just impartial information.   But tell them the Kickboxing Underground sent you!  (I don’t want them to think they wasted their time on me!)

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