If you walk into a boxing gym or a martial arts studio, you’ll most likely find many punching bags in the training area. But the same is not the case for mainstream gyms.
Most of the commercial gym chains, including the likes of Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness, have one thing in common – they all have excluded a boxing bag from their list of equipment.
But why is that the case? After all, having punching bags in the gym has its own merits. For example, working out with a heavy bag can be an excellent cardiovascular workout and significantly improve your hand-eye coordination and balance.
Training with punching bags might also help you relieve some pent-up stress and tension while building your self-defense skills.
All things considered, using a boxing heavy bag sounds like a nice switch from our monotonous workout routines. But still, most modern-day gyms prefer to invest in free weights and machines, but not in punching bags. Is there any specific reason for that?
Let’s find out.
Why Do Most Gyms Have No Punching Bags?
If you’re a martial arts admirer who wants to train with heavy bags, you might be out of luck. Most traditional gyms don’t offer such pieces of equipment.
But before you get frustrated, you should know the reasons behind this decision.
Here’s why gyms prefer not to have any punching bags in their training areas:
This is the first and the most important reason. Believe it or not, your local gym exists to serve you. Whatever the public demands, the management will ensure that they are able to fulfill them.
However, not everyone would want to train with punching bags. In fact, only a small proportion of athletes would come in and start using a boxing heavy bag seriously. Others might just hang around and nudge the bags a bit. But they won’t be training with them.
So, because there aren’t a lot of customers worldwide who want punching bags at gyms, it’s only natural that you have a hard time finding them at your local fitness club.
On the contrary, sports gyms and martial arts studios, where a vast majority of members want to train in areas like self-defense, are equipped with a host of punching bags.
No matter what gym you are going to currently, you’ll have to agree that it’s well-packed. Apart from the highly luxurious ones, most gyms are filled to the brim with different amenities, machines, equipment, and other areas meant for the well-being of the members.
Now, in such a situation, adding an area dedicated entirely to punching bags does not make sense. And trust us, a separate area for boxing bags is required to prevent any potential accidents.
All gyms have limited space, especially franchises like Anytime Fitness which are mostly located inside malls and other buildings. Thus, it makes sense that they make the most of the space available to them by building state-of-the-art cardio and weightlifting sections, the two pillars that support the sustenance of conventional gyms.
Replacing resistance machines and free weights with punching bags, therefore, does not make sense in a limited space.
The high amount of cost required to set up punching bags is another reason why most gyms opt to simply not offer this particular amenity.
From the outside, you would think that purchasing a boxing heavy bag might be much cheaper than purchasing a treadmill. But treadmills require a one-time investment. They don’t need regular maintenance and upkeep.
Punching bags, on the other hand, wear out quickly, especially with heavy and brutal use. Moreover, the gym will have to invest in a lot of punching bags to accommodate the high volume of clients. Keeping a single heavy bag in the cardio section simply does not make sense.
So, the overall cost of this operation would be more than what most conventional gyms can afford.
In contrast, strength and cardio training equipment that have longer lifespans do not come with such monetary complications.
Gyms With Heavy Bags
Does Anytime Fitness Have Punching Bags
Does Planet Fitness Have Punching Bags
A lot of people do not like noisy gyms, especially if the noise is coming from other members. Unfortunately, training with a punching bag is not silent by any means.
Heavy bags generate a lot of noise when they are being punched. This can be disruptive and annoying to other members who are performing traditional strength and cardio exercises. The noise might even carry off to nearby buildings and residences.
The only possible solution to such a problem is that the gym spends some extra cost in an effort to minimize the noise. Installing sound-absorbing materials can be one path, but it’ll require a lot of investment from the gym, and it’s simply not worth it.
So, it’s better for gyms to omit punching bags completely.
Potential Liability Issues
One of the primary reasons why gyms don’t have punching bags is the looming threat of liability issues.
Punching bags can be dangerous, even more so than treadmills and resistance machines. If not used properly, using a boxing bag may result in severe, long-lasting injuries that will lead to lawsuits against the gym.
You might be thinking, the same is possible for other kinds of machines and equipment at the gym, too, right?
That’s true, but punching bags often invite inexperienced individuals to try them out. If you punch them with a poor form, poor wrapping technique, and cheap gloves, you will do a lot of damage to your body. And this kind of damage is usually non-detectable at first. You’ll feel slightly hurt initially, and then the injury will build up over time, eventually festering into something worse.
So, public gyms are absolutely right to be wary of punching bags and the potential disasters associated with them.
Moreover, the management will have to ensure that each boxing bag is fastened or anchored perfectly. Brute force applied to these bags might result in them getting unhinged and hitting some other member, also causing injuries.
All of these accidents might be anyone’s mistake – either the trainer’s, the member’s, or some bystander’s. But the fact remains the same – the gym will have to take the responsibility for any such accident.
So, the management will have to invest in expensive insurance coverage if they have to avoid liability issues.
Does this seem worth it? Absolutely not. And that’s why you don’t see punching bags in conventional gyms.
The Intimidation Factor
Lastly, seeing experienced professionals train with heavy punching bags might be intimidating for some members, especially the newbies.
In today’s world, most gym franchises target beginners who want to start their fitness journey. If they feel uncomfortable by the inclusion of heavy training equipment like punching bags, they will likely want to transfer to another gym.
This is why gyms like Planet Fitness have labeled themselves as the ‘judgment-free zone,’ where the comfort of beginners is prioritized before anything else.
So, it’s common to see no punching bags in modern gyms.
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In conclusion, punching bags do serve an important purpose in the fitness community and combat sports. They are also good tools for someone who might want a little change in their routines and is looking for a new challenge.
However, there are many reasons why mainstream public gyms cannot incorporate punching bags into their equipment selection.