A reflex bag is a piece of fitness equipment specifically used in sports such as boxing and martial arts. It consists of a round, padded, circular bag atop a loaded spring attached a weighted base. To use this equipment, one punches the bag, which bends backward on the spring and comes back toward the point of impact. Thus, many athletes use this type of punching bag to improve hand-eye coordination, timing, and to perfect defensive movements.
Depending on how hard one strikes the bag, the spring allows for a backward bending motion that may even cause the bag to hit the floor. Then, the bag can mimic an opponent’s punch by coming back at the user in a swift motion. In this way, a reflex bag tests a user’s precision and timing.
One may choose to punch the bag as it returns. Another option is to practice bobbing and weaving, as if dodging punches. This is done with fast footwork, lunging, and quick movements of the head. Blocking the bag with the arm or body is another way to train using the unique movements of this equipment.
A reflex bag differs from a heavy bag, also commonly used by boxers and for strength training. A heavy bag generally allows a user to land more powerful blows, combinations of punches, and kicks. Those who attempt to use the reflex bag for these purposes often find the equipment unhelpful. Some complain that the smaller, lighter bag only works the arms, while a heavy bag promotes a total body workout. Believers in the reflex bag, however, point out that using the equipment as if fighting an actual opponent should require a wide variety of maneuvers resulting in a challenging cardio exercise.
Proper punching techniques and boxing accessories are important in order to avoid injury while using this equipment. One can wrap the hands and wrists with a long cotton strip to help stabilize the joints. Boxing gloves that offer padding along the knuckles and reinforcement at the wrists could also be beneficial to this workout. One should practice correct form by hitting the bag along the knuckles of the index and middle fingers, keeping the wrist straight, and putting body weight behind each blow.
Many people find the reflex bag not only useful, but easy to set up in the home. Its relatively light base, which holds up to 60 pounds (27.3 kilograms), is less troublesome to move than the much heavier punching bags. The skinny structure of the equipment also lends to its ease of storage.