How To Fill A Punching Bag – 5 Easy Steps

A pre-filled punching bag is typically what you would get when building a boxing gym at home. It is the best way to get a properly filled boxing bag at the right density and weight. It doesn’t mean that you can’t replicate the same feel or even create a better version yourself though. You may have also bought an empty punching bag for a more cost effective reason.

This article will teach you how too fill your punching bag.

There are 2 things that you want to look out for when filling your own punching bag. First, you would want to make sure fill the page enough to fulfill the desire you weight you want. And next you want the punching bag to be dense enough or have the desired feel so it doesn’t feel like you’re hitting soft pillows or a brick wall.

Using a mix of clothes and rags, sand and sawdust is typically where you would want to start when looking at materials to fill the punching bag, and with enough quantity, it is all you need. The combined materials brings the heaviness needed as well as as the firmness of the heavy bag. There are other common materials such as foam, insulation and rice. However, they can be tougher to find and add in more costs.

Choosing between which type of materials you use does make a difference in how your punching bag will perform. The types of filling you choose will make it heavier or lighter, more firm or very soft. Before getting into how to find the right combination for you, lets first look at how to properly fill a punching bag.

How To Fill A Hanging Heavy Bag

When filling your punching bag there are a few things you will need to have ready to go. Plenty of old clothes, rags or towels. Sand or sawdust separated in smaller ziplock bags and taped to prevent any spilling in case of the bags ripping open. You will need a broom stick, bat, or anything long enough that can help you push the fillings down and pack it into the bag.

There are some punching bags that also come with 2 circular dividers meant to be placed at the bottom and top of the bag to help keep the shape. If you weren’t provided one, you can simply carve a couple out of cardboard boxes and use those.

Materials Needed To Fill A Punching Bag

  • old clothes, rags, towels
  • 100 pounds of sand
  • 2 circular cardboards with the same diameter of the punching bag
  • woodchips (optional)
  • rice (optional)
  • ziplock bags
  • duct tape
  • a long stick

When you have everything in place, you can follow these steps to fill your punching bag

  • Step 1
    Begin by dividing your sand, rice or woodchips into separate ziplock bags. Fill each bag about half way or up to 3/4 in order to not make it too full.
  • Step 2
    Remove any air from the ziplock bags and then seal. Fold the ziplock bag over, so that it is like a large brick size. Begin to tape the sand bag entirely with duct tape. This will help keep it compact and help prevent any tearing with the ziplock bag.
  • Step 3
    Place one of the circular discs flat at the bottom of the punching bag. If you prefer a softer bottom, go ahead and have a layer of clothing before placing the disc. Be sure to pack it down with your stick or bat making your clothes as flush as possible.
  • Step 4
    Put in 2 bags of sand in the centre and fill and place more clothes, towels and rage around the bag and pack it in tightly with your stick or bat. The idea here is to keep the sand close to the middle and the clothes around the sand bags so that the sand bag has a consistent feel throughout. You will also be protecting the sand bags from the hard hits that you will be doing.
  • Step 5
    Lay another layer of clothing on top of the sand bags and be sure to tightly pack it down. After about reaching 1 foot worth of clothes, rags and towls, go ahead and repeat step 4 until your reach the brim of the punching bag. At thetop you can place the second disc to help keep the shape and zip up the punching bag.

After filling the punching bag, do a quick check to look for and large bumps or protrusions to make sure you have some consistency throughout. If there are pockets of either dents or protrusions, it would be a good idea to try and fix it now either by unpacking and redoing it or keep packing down your fabric to make sure its nice and tight.

What Are The Best Materials For Filling A Punching Bag

When looking for the best experience with your punching bag. You are looking for the best density and weight that is right for you. Punching a heavy bag shouldn’t feel too hard or soft, and it certainly shouldn’t be swinging around violent either when being hit.

It’s not rocket science but it can be a bit tricky in find the right combination of fillings that will feel right. That would mean have a good firm feel and not too big of a swaying movement when punching it. A light heavy bag for one person may be a heavy bag for another. For some, combining a variety of fillings such as clothes, rice, sand and wood chips will be the best way to get it exactly how you want. But for most you can make due with just sand and old fabric.

Think of it this way, the clothes and old fabric is meant to provide the feel and density of the bag, where as the sand, rice and wood chips will help weigh it down. This means, to optimally fill your bag. Its best to position the weight fillings in the middle and have your clothes and rags layer around them. This helps give a uniform feel throughout the bag when punching. Randomly putting the pieces around will give hard spots in areas which you want to avoid.

You would also want to spread out the weight as best you can from the top of the bag to the bottom. This is to help ensure that it swing more uniform when being used.

How To Fill A Lightweight Punching Bag

For a punching bag that is meant for a lighter hitter, such as a young child or someone at the really early stages of boxing. You will need materials that are not too heavy. A light punching bag should way about 40-60 pounds, overuse of sand would make it go way over.

Instead you would want to have more variety in the materials you’re filling the punching bag with. Using a ziplock bag or 2 of sand and the rest with wood chips and clothes should be enough to get the right density and weight.

If you’re finding it to be too light or heavy, adjust the wood chip to sand ratio as needed.

How To Fill A Medium Weight Punching Bag

For a punching bag that weighs about 60-80 pounds, material like wood chips would not help at all. Instead you would want to use something like uncooked rice. Rice being less dense then sand will help you still get the weight you need without making it get too heavy.

We recommend about 4 ziplock bags of sand with the rest being rice and clothing and adjusting as needed from there.

How To Fill A Heavyweight Punching Bag

If you’re looking for a punching bag that can take a strong kick or you’re just a heavy hitter. Filling the punching bag with sand and clothing is your best option. We’re looking at a 100+ pound punching bag so putting together as much sand (in ziplock bags) and filling all the empty space with clothes, towels and old rags should put you exactly or over easily.

Be sure to follow the steps above closely despite what types of material you are filling the punching bag with.


There are a variety of reasons it is good to know what it takes to fill a punching bag. It could be because you bought an empty one or you just want to repack an existing punching bag. It can seem intimidating or not worth while to do it yourself, but in fact it is a good option to build the punching bag perfect for you and save money along the way.

It can seem time consuming and a lot of work. But the results can be pretty amazing when you get a punching bag that is exactly how you like it. It is also a good way to recycle any old clothes, mattress covers, towels etc. that you may have laying around the house.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Fill A Punching Bag With Just Clothes

When filling your own punching bag, you want fillers that provide both weight and denseness. Filling a punching bag with only clothes and other types of fabrics would make the punching bag too light. It would also give the bag a higher likelihood of becoming misshaped or deformed later down the road. The would be the result of the clothing shifting around inside the bag. That is why its a good idea to use small bags of sand, rice or wood fillings that we discussed previously in order to help provide the weight of the bag. Also, because of the size and mass of the filler bags. It gives the fabric fillings less opportunity to shift around if everything was compressed well.

What is the Ideal Weight For A Punching Bag

As a general rule of thumb. Most beginners are advised to divide their weight by 2 and that would be a good punching bag weight for you. For example, if you currently weigh 150 pounds. A punching bag that weight 70-80 pounds is in the optimal range of what you should get.

It’s a good rule to follow and likely will work if you’re just starting out. But if you have specific goals, such as strength building or speed workouts, then modifying that rule by getting heavier or lighter punching bag as needed.

How Do I Know What Size Punching Bag To Get

With the several options of punching bags it is easily to get stuck in figuring out which would be best for you. Standard cylindrical heavy bags are typically what most would get and is a good bag for the most part. However, The size of punching bag you get should be based on the height, weight, and strength of the person using it. As well as what your workout goals are with the punching bag. The standard cylindrical bags are perfect for a boxing workout. But if you know you will be incorporating a lot into your workout, such as kicks, grapples, combo heavy exercises then Muay thai bags or Angled Heavy bags may be better options. If you would like to know more about the different types of punching bags, we list out each punching bag type and what they’re good for in this article. And if you need more information on how to choose a punching bag, check out our article here.

Where Should I Hang My Punching Bag

There are several options to choose from when it comes to where you should hang a punching bag in your home. There are more permanent options such as hanging it from a ceiling or the wall. Or more versatile method of using a bag stand. Each way has its own pros and cons, and it really comes down to personal preference and situation.

There are people who are not comfortable putting holes in the ceiling or walls to hang a punching bag, or they simply just don’t have the space to do it. Thats where a heavy bag stand comes in and can be the solver to the problem. Not sure which bag stand would be right for you? We have the master list of the best heavy bag stands in this article.

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