I am 20 years old and don't have much room or time for much equipment or a gym membership. When I was in highschool about 10kg ago I had my 6 pack everything but since working I've put on that 10kg sitting at a desk all day. I used to be very active while at school (boxing, weights, treadmill and always up and walking) but now I just can't get it all in.

It has been frustrating me for a while so I went and bought a heavy bag to start training after work. I've slowly built up my stamina again (first day I got it I got worn out in 30 seconds - up to about 45 minutes to an hour now). I've also started doing some weights (I'm only small at 65kg so I'm using 6kg dumbbells) and a lot of core work (different types of crunches).

The goal is for me primarily is to lose the fat around my waist/gut/lower back that I've built up.. I've stopped drinking alcohol now which has probably done most of the contributing. I don't own a treadmill and I'm not much of a runner (I was never able to build up the stamina for running longer than 15-20 minutes). I've tried skipping but that also seems to wear me out way too quickly.

Is it possible to get my abs back (and good) with mainly (probably only) the below:

  1. As long as I can on the heavy bag (until I literally can't swing another punch).
  2. Crunches / bicycle crunches / reverse crunches.
  3. Some high-rep free weights.

Or is boxing not a very good fat-burning exercise when compared to running on the treadmill?

I've been using the bag for about an hour every night with another 30-40 minutes on weights and core work for about 2 weeks now and there seems to be a visible difference around my gut - just wondering if there's something way better than boxing and if this is ridiculously inferior to other stuff I could be doing.

I love smashing into the heavy bag every day after work so if there are ways I can be doing this and achieving really good weight loss / ab work then let me know! Any workouts with free weights or my own body (pushups / crunches) that can maximize the effictiveness of a boxing-bag-centric workout would also be appreciated.

Really appreciate any feedback or advice.

  • I also wondered about the boxing bag for a workout. I am 64 and trying to lose weight all over I need to lose about 1 1/2 stone -2 stone. Everything is harder as we age so it's a battle. I love my boxing bag and it's one of things which keeps me exercising. I have problems with my knees so any tips for making this work and not affecting my knees would be welcomed. Found all the advice really interesting. I have a dab personal trainer as well but I haven't asked him about this. Thanks to anyone who replies.
    – user23545
    Sep 11, 2016 at 15:06
  • One thing we do at my boxing gym is punch the heavybag for 10 seconds as fast and hard as you can with correct form and then 10 seconds off. 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off for like 1 to 2 mins. Then we will jog around the block and try beat previous times etc and then back to the bag routine. It kills
    – Lucus
    Apr 30, 2020 at 19:17

8 Answers 8


Boxing is great for conditioning, and is probably even better than steady-state cardio (running at the same pace for a set period of time).

If you don't like running for duration, try intervals. Run hard for 60 seconds, walk for 60 second, repeat 10 times (or more, depending on your ability). Interval training has been shown to be more productive at burning fat, and you can get a killer workout in less time than if you went out to run for miles/hours.

I'd also recommend switching up your core training to include more anti-rotational exercises. Crunches reinforce bad posture, can lead to back injury, and are less effective at building core strength than things like planks and rollouts that force you to hold your core tight and in line.

The best exercise for burning belly fat, though, is the push-away. As in "push away from the table." Strong abs are pretty easy to get. Visible abs are a different story, and they're all about nutrition.

  • 1
    -1 "The best exercise for burning belly fat, though, is the push-away..." Where did it come from? Can you provide any sources?
    – RMalke
    Mar 12, 2013 at 12:27
  • 5
    He means the best way to burn fat is to eat less ("push away from the table"). Mar 12, 2013 at 13:48
  • I'm all for recommending planks and rollouts, but "crunches reinforce bad posture, can lead to back injury" is not accurate. Bad posture? Sep 12, 2016 at 14:47
  • @AndrewMattson He means APT from tight hip flexors. Crunches are known to exacerbate this condition if done improperly. Same goes for back injury, if done improperly then on the negative phase of a crunch one can easily hyperextend his back, make 20-30 reps, as usually done by people who do it incorrectly, and chances for a back injury are quite high.
    – ruslaniv
    Sep 20, 2016 at 18:39
  • @Rusl - bench pressing, if done improperly leads to injury. So does running. Swimming, if done improperly, leads to death by drowning. There's nothing inherent in crunches, themselves, that cause the problems listed. The statement the crunches (period), "reinforce bad posture, can lead to back injury" does not seem to be supported. Sep 20, 2016 at 19:24

One good way to gauge exercise effectiveness, based on my own experience, is where you sweat and how much you sweat. When I work out on the heavy bag (and my BOB free standing target), I move like an actual fight, left and right, up and down, punch high with one hand and low with another in a combo, etc., and sweat pours from my stomach, legs, glutes and back areas.

The other important aspect is how high your pulse goes, mine really hums after attacking the bag. If your metabolism is gunned up along with your pulse, you will be burning calories for hours after you finish the workout. For max calorie and fat burn, several sources have shown that exercising before breakfast may be more effective, if you can fit in the time and an empty stomach doesn't work against you.

I don't do any stomach specific exercises but depend upon full body exercise to work the core areas. But what works for one may not work for all.

As an aside, my best workouts involved imaginary karate fights against three opponents coming from different directions, which were occasionally held in the bathroom,. Strikes and kicks against targets on wall were stopped an inch or so short of target (requiring control and speed in constrained conditions). The combination of rapid karate movements and direction changes seemed to rev up the metabolism and generate sweat like nothing else. Thirty to forty five minutes was enough to get the weight dropping off.


boxing for fitness works your whole body, especially your core, if of course you are throwing punches correctly. Start adding kicks to your heavybag routine. You will see results pretty quickly as long as your diet is on point.

  • I was going to say, when your arms get to tired, no reason why you can't kick that bag. Sep 12, 2016 at 14:48

keep it up am 47 yr sold I hit the bag for 10 min right after I do skipping for 10 min then shadow box for 5 min the do step ups for 5 min 30 min cardio workout Then I go to my weight training I fell strong and young again anyone can do it just go for it do it no matter how old you are I have a good shape on my body now and fell good about that.

A good Heavy bag workout is the 10 hit cardio. First is you step up to your heavy bag hit the bag twice then drop to the floor do 2 nuckle pushups get up hit the bag 4 times drop to the floor do 4 nuckle pushups, do this to 6, 8, 10, then count down it is a great heavy bag workout

Another heavy bag workout, is the 30,30,30s. you do this for 3 min on the bag, 1 min rest between rounds. To start you step up to the bag hit the bag slow like you walk up to a bag and hit it,for 30 sec then you ride the bike you hit the bag at the same time pumping your legs at the same time for 30 sec, after you hit the bag hard as you can for 30 sec you do this for three min follow through the routine you can do one round two rounds of this your body will tell you. Try it and give me a feed back if u like this workout

  • 1
    Please use the edit button to expand your answer instead of commenting it.
    – Baarn
    Mar 12, 2013 at 8:51
  • I've edited in your comments, but please read over your answer again and try to use some punctuation
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 12, 2013 at 12:20

I am 77 yrs old/young I also do the 30/30/30 but 2 min. And 1min. Rest. Work the speed bag in my minute break. Also do a 20 m cardio/20 m weight/20 m stretch class. Also work my biceps and triceps with heavier weights. Bad part my diet eat like a pig and lot of sweat stuff. My rest days are Tuesday.Thursday.and Sunday. Did a quad bypass 7 months ago.

  • As much as we appreciate your input, we need a little bit more info from you on why this works for you, caveats, etc.
    – Sean Duggan
    Oct 3, 2015 at 15:39

Unless you get proper coaching and feedback on technique, no. You will develop bad habits and likely hurt your hands/wrists by doing improper technique while working the bag. Hand wrap technique and proper gloves as well as boxing basics are needed, otherwise you have a high chance of hurting yourself.


It depends completely on how your using the bag. I've seen lots of people use the bag constantly for 5 minutes and then walk away from it tired. But that isn't doing them any favours.

Get yourself a bell (or an app for your phone) that will allow you to time boxing rounds. So, set it to ring every 2 or 3 minutes with 1 minute intervals. During the 2/3 minute intervals use the bag constantly, but then rest in the minute break. This is the most effective way to use the bag.

However, using a bag will raise your heart rate and work your chest and arm muscles as well as your legs. Just because you have never ran for longer than 15-20 minutes doesn't mean you can't run that distance. I was the same as you, I also did boxing and never ran any longer than 20 minutes. Now though I'm training for a half marathon.

If you push yourself to run even 2 minutes more each time, you will improve your fitness. Remember, there is no such thing as can't. That motto will get you through your running.

If however you're adamant you won't run, then I would suggest swimming.

  • Really cool idea getting that bell app.. Found a pretty simple and effective one that I just gave a go. I'll give running another crack, though assuming that boxing 10-15 rounds of 3 minutes should burn something combined with what I've read saying you can't target-burn fat it should still be at least semi-effective for cutting down my stomach / waist fat ya?
    – Marty
    Mar 12, 2012 at 9:48
  • Yeah it should, but you don't see boxers just boxing. They do running as well to make weight and to burn fat. Mar 12, 2012 at 10:25
  • Or alternate session on the bag with your other exercise, like your abdominal work, so even when you are "resting," you are keeping your heart rate elevated. @mickburkejnr - think he's looking for an alternative to running, so suggesting that he run might not be the best advice. Sep 12, 2016 at 14:49

i don't agree that you need to join a boxing gym and need an instructor. That may be true if you want to get into a ring and actually fight. I have learnt the punches and various routines on youtube. There is a ton of great stuff- just start doing it. I have lost 20 Kgs at home and I am lovin it. I have a 100 lb punching bag, a bench press and dumbbells at home.

This a good beginner routine that worked for me 1. Warm up- 5-10 mins (includes stretching, breathing etc) 2. Skipping or Jumping- 10-15 minutes total. 3 rounds with 30 second breaks. In the breaks do pushups. Increase the intensity as you get used to it. 3. Weights- 1-2 body parts a day. Do intense,and feel the pain each rep and finish it fast. Should not take more than 15-20 minutes. 4. Punching bag routine (watching youtube). 20 to 30 minute depending on the routine. Once a week, I replace the bag with a shadow boxing routine that involves lots of cardio 5. That's it. Do this 4-5 times a week at home. Eat healthy- Proteins, Skimmed Milk, veggies, fruits and some carbs as well. Such as: A. Breakfast- 3 egg whites, 1 yolk (omelette with very little oil), 1 glass of skimmed milk, 1 whole grain toast. B Lunch- 1 Chicken breast roasted, stir fried(little oil, buy a good non stick wok) etc with 1-2 vegetables. Such as beans, carrots, brocolli, spinach, kale, anything basically.Add ginger, garlic to make the dish more tasty. For the carb portion- I eat a small cup of rice sometimes. C. Dinner- Similar to lunch, could have a chicken broth, lentil soup, kidney beans, red meat sometimes etc. For snacks- Only if really hungry- add a fruit or dry fruits(almonds etc, not the salted ones) Avoid BS foods such as flavored yogurts, be careful with the energy bars, cereals for breakfast, carb or starch loaded foods, no soda, fries, And control the alcohol intake.

Enjoy the cheat days!

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