Filling a punching bag: What is the best filling for a punching bag?


What is the best punching bag filling?

Would you like to refill an old punching bag for your home gym or are you just wondering which filling material to use when buying a new punching bag? Here you will find the answers.

What you will learn in this post:
  • Which filling materials for punching bags are available
  • Which is the best filling for punching bags
  • How to properly fill a punching bag

What can you fill a punching bag with?

Whether you want to give your old punching bag a new filling or order a new punching bag and have to fill it later: Basically, there are different filling materials that not only differ in volume and weight, but of course also in price. But not all materials are equally suitable for filling a punching bag. Here we would like to give you a brief overview:


You may have heard the term "sandbag" for a punching bag. This term actually comes from the fact that punching bags used to be filled with sand - after all, there weren't many alternatives. In fact, sand is one of the worst materials you can choose for a punching bag. Because: Sand is - in relation to its volume - very heavy. Sand has a density of 1.2 to 1.8 kg per liter. If you now consider that a punching bag with a length of 120 cm and a diameter of 30 cm has a volume of approx. 85 liters, it becomes extremely heavy with a sand filling. Whether a wall bracket could carry this punching bag is questionable. But that's not the only problem with sand as a punching bag filling: the more often you hit the sand, the more it compacts. At some point your punching bag will feel like a rock-hard wall. This would give you little shock absorption and protection against injuries.


Corn or other dry grains are lighter than sand, allowing for better filling in the punching bag. The problem here is often not the weight in connection with the volume, but the fact that grain and legumes can absorb moisture - if they get wet or are in a damp room climate (e.g. basement, garage). On the one hand, the moisture ensures that the punching bag will be heavier and, on the other hand, that the filling sometimes becomes mouldy. If you want to use corn, make sure that it is treated appropriately and protected from mold or pests. However, impregnation does not solve the last problem either: the beatings pulverize corn and legumes over time. Your punching bag not only loses volume, the filling also hardens - similar to sand and becomes rock hard.


A modern alternative to corn, legumes or sawdust is granulate. This is often made of rubber or cork and consists of small beads. The advantage over natural filling materials is that the granulate does not absorb moisture and consequently does not form mold. In addition, it does not attract any pests. Unlike sand, the granules do not compact over time, so your fingers and wrists are well protected. Depending on the supplier and the material, you need around 80 kg of granules for a punching bag that is 120 cm long and approx. 30 cm in diameter. At a price of between 0.60 and 4.00 euros per kilo, filling the punching bag can be quite expensive.

water & air

In fact, there are now some manufacturers who offer punching bags filled with air or water. Sometimes there are also combined models with water and air filling. This seems very practical at first, because you don't have to order or buy both filling materials separately, you have them available at home. With inflatable punching bags you simply have the problem that they offer no resistance and therefore have no effect on your training. Such punching bag stands are only suitable as a fun boxing gadget or gift. But they have nothing to do with serious boxing training. If you're considering filling your punching bag (if it's waterproof) with water, you'll have a weight problem here too. A liter of water weighs 1 kg. For a punching bag that is 120 cm long and 30 cm in diameter, you need around 80 liters to fill it. This would make your punching bag weigh about 80 kg - over a relatively short length. If you take less water to get less weight, your punching bag is only half full - so you can't work it's entire length and train properly.


Textiles - mostly fabric remnants - have proven themselves many times as filling material for punching bags. They have enough volume without being too heavy. About 10 kg of fabric make 40 liters of filling. Also, the scraps of fabric don't pack up as much as other materials, so you'd end up banging against a wall. At the same time, textiles, as a soft material, offer good shock absorption for your hands. If you turn old clothes into scraps of fabric yourself, you also have an extremely cheap filling for your punching bag.

What is the best punching bag filling?

From our experience, we can highly recommend textiles as filling material for punching bags. For us, leftover fabric is the best filling material for punching bags.

How do you fill a punching bag correctly?

If you have decided to fill your punching bag with scraps of fabric, you can proceed according to the following instructions:

  • Prepare the scraps of fabric into appropriate strips or pieces. The textiles should not be too big so that they fill out the punching bag optimally. Strips of fabric three to four centimeters wide are ideal. Ideally, you should only use old t-shirts, sweaters, or bed sheets—nothing with buttons or zippers. This could lead to injury.
  • Cover the bottom of the punching bag with a 10 cm thick layer of leftover fabric and press it down. You can use a broomstick or a long wooden spoon for this.
  • Now work your way up layer by layer. Fill the punching bag with about 10 cm of fabric at a time, compress it so that there are no voids and continue with the next layer. If you want to make your punching bag heavier, you can fill heavier filling material between the individual layers of fabric.
  • In the end, you should be able to close the punching bag well without the material spilling out at the top end or the closure and seams breaking. Over time, the scraps of fabric will compact and slide down, allowing you to add some more filling. Just let the punching bag hang down. You can also work it up with a few strokes and compact the filling.

Do you need tips on how to hang up the punching bag correctly and securely on the wall or ceiling after filling ? Our boxing professionals also have advice on this and have summarized the most important information for you.

Photo by sportyglee

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