You’ve got your heavy bag and started training at home. You’ve probably spent a bit of money to get the bag as well as quite a lot of effort to set it up and you want it to last as long as you keep training. In this article, I share a few tips for your heavy bag maintenance.
Why Heavy Bag Maintenance
Like your boxing gloves, heavy bags are breeding grounds for bacteria. This is due to the moisture from your sweat and saliva when you train. While they have less tendency to stink, bacteria on the heavy bags can cause skin irritations and even infections.
Most heavy bags are made with leather or synthetic leather. Even though they are a tough material, it is susceptible to wear and tear especially with the kind of usage in martial arts training.
There are ways to extend leather’s lifespan with some simple guidelines, saving you costs in the long run on repairs or worse, replacements.
Setting up Your Heavy Bag
Leaving your heavy bag outdoors makes it susceptible to all the harsh sunlight and humid conditions which will shorten the lifespan of the leather.
Sunlight causes excessive drying to almost any type of leather which leads to cracking and stiffening while too much moisture promotes bacteria and mold growth.
Heavy bags should ideally be installed indoors and left indoors as much as possible, away from the elements.
How to Clean Heavy Bag
- Ultra soft, non-abrasive microfiber cloths will not scratch paints, coats or other surfaces
- Cleans with or without chemical cleaners, leaves lint and streak free results
- Absorbs eight times its own weight
Heavy bag maintenance is easy so long as you do it on a regular basis. Your first line of defense is to wipe down the entirety of the bag with a slightly damp cloth (using a mild hand or dish soap solution) after each training session, and then buff dry with a cloth to remove moisture.
Avoid cleaning your bag with any disinfectant products that contain bleach, alcohol, prioritize the surface that you come in contact with and feel free to skip the chains.
Conditioning the Leather
You’ve spent good money on your heavy bag. You might want to get a leather conditioner to keep it going a little longer. These conditioners help to keep the leather soft and supple while adding a layer of protection.
This need not be done frequently and once a month (or every two months) is enough to ensure the leather stays in good condition. Consider using leather milk or leather honey.
Filling Your Heavy Bag
If you train regularly, punching and kicking with enough power, your heavy bag will turn softer over time. This might be a matter of months at a gym and around a year for a heavy bag set up at home.
When your bag gets too soft, training becomes easier due to less resistance. Kicking heavy bags helps to condition your shins so it’s recommended to keep them hard enough for this purpose.
If you feel the heavy bag is getting too soft, it’s time to compact the filling inside. This is done by adding more shredded fabric or old t-shirts and pressing at the top to make it compact.
I sure make it sound easy but it’s not. A 4-ft 100lb bag isn’t exactly easy to work with. Consider roping in a family member or friend to help out. Another way to add weight and hardness to the heavy bag is by using sand or sawdust.
There you have it. Some basic maintenance on a regular basis will go a long way for your heavy bag. It won’t take more than a few minutes and will help you save on repairs and replacements. One final tip: get yourself a high-quality heavy bag and it’s half the battle won. Train hard, train smart.