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Head Movement Fight Training Tips and Drills When Working the Punching Bag

March 22, 2024

"Do you have any tips or drills for head movement when working the heavy bag?"

There is no difference when you are working head movement on the punching bag than when you are working head movement in shadow boxing, speed bag, rope drills, pads or sparring.

The way you work on one is how you work on another.

You transfer how you're moving and what you're doing from one to the other. You keep the same technique, movement, flow and pacing as  you transition from shadow boxing, to pads, to speed bag and to sparring.

Let me give you some specific tips to implement as you drill head movement on the punching bag.

Video Breakdown

Isolate and Drill

"Isolate and drill" is one of the fundamental ways to focus on specific movement to commit to muscle memory.

When working head movement with striking, I like splitting this into two stations.

Pick one of the following to start with:

  • Shadow boxing
  • Rope (bob/weave)
  • Speed bag
  • Slip bag

For example start with shadow boxing. Throw a jab. But instead of throwing a solo jab without any movement, initiate a jab with a parry and head movement out of the way. Visualize as if he is throwing a jab and you are countering his jab with a jab of your own. But you are parrying that jab and moving your head out of the way.

Do the same thing with a cross. Instead of throwing a simple, solo cross straight down the middle. Throw a cross but move your head off the centerline. Imagine you are evading a cross while throwing a cross of your own but with head movement.

What you are doing is forcing to drill technique first. You are priming your mind and body to do the same thing when you transition to the heavy bag. And then eventually to sparring and fighting.

Most people who start on the bag first, tend to abandoned drilling technique. They just start hitting it as if it owned them money. But you need to slow it down, drill technique through shadow boxing, speed bag, rope or slip bag first.

Pick 2-3 different strikes or 2-3 different combinations where you drill while incorporating head movement. Drill that over and over again for time or for reps.

After 10-15 minutes, move to the punching bag and do the same thing. Now you will be landing on something solid.

Then do what you just did drilling during shadow boxing, speed bag, rope or slip bag and drill it on the heavy bag.

Remember: since we are focused on drilling head movement - make sure you incorporate head movement into each strike or combination you decided to drill.

Working On the Pads

Another important way to drill head movement and timing is hitting the pads.

You will need someone to hold them for you.

Make them pressure you while simulate throwing light punches to make you react. Your goal is to move your head off the centerline and respond back with a strike or combination of your own.

This is an extremely useful and important drill if you want to elevate your timing and countering skills.

You can also do this during light sparring. Have someone throw punches at you going 15-30%. You don't throw anything back. All you are doing is integrating head movement and reacting to them striking you.

Then start incorporating head movement with striking at the same time.

With this, you'll have better sense of what to do on the heavy bag because you've drilled with someone live who was throwing punches at you.

Final Thought Drilling on the Punching Bag

Don't ever stand still and go through the motions of hitting the punching bag. You need to actively visualize punches, kicks and takedown attempts coming at you and you responding to them.

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Fight Training From Home Programs/Courses

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