A Value Knock-Out: The Apartment Friendly Punching Bag Solution

Think a small living space stands between you and a literally kick-ass punching bag workout? Think again, with this smart, compact solution.

I had a huge place in college. The kind of house you could throw an epic party at, fill it with people, and still have room for a fog machine and a giant six foot tall inflatable beer. When not indulging in health destroying activities, it was also big enough to house a full-sized boxing station. I had an 80lb heavy bag with a speed-bag hooked up. You could dance around wailing on it all day. Moving across country to a much smaller abode, I bequeathed the station to a relative and was bagless for years.

Where can you put a heavy bag in your apartment? If you're lucky enough to have a balcony, the ceiling above probably can't support it. Nor will your landlord appreciate you trying to rig supports in your living room, so hanging a bag is a bad idea. Putting up a free-standing station likely isn't an option if you value space in your bedroom, don't want guests eating dinner around a sweaty canvas sack, or live with a girl, who will definitely not put up with a bag stand in the living room.

It turns out I was thinking about this the wrong way. There is no need, or room, for an 80lb heavy bag in your apartment. Luckily there is a small boxing equipment store near my apartment, and on a whim, I went in and found a 35lb punching bag that's under three feet long. At a cost of $35, it was a steal, so I walked out of there with a bag and a plan. A quick stop over at Home Depot yielded two heavy duty clips and some canvas car straps.

You're a smart reader, so you're seeing all the signs of creating some sort of hanging punching bag, but you might be asking – where is he going to hang it from? Fear not, Primer readers, we've already given you that solution: a door jamb pull-up bar. I figure if this thing could hold my old 250lb self rocking out six pull-ups, it could definitely support a 35lb bag swinging back and forth.

Back to the creation process: all I had to do was make a loop of the canvas, attach the clips, and then hook the bag up to the pull-up bar. Yes, it sways back and forth a bit and it needs to be reset to a center, punchable position every now and then, but I really go to town on the thing five days a week. I've added boxing and bag work seamlessly into my home workouts. There is no apartment this can't fit in – it's far quieter than you might expect. I wouldn't recommend punching it at 2am or while your roommates are having a candle lit dinner, but it's not that noisy. The bag is also light and mobile, so you can move it around quickly – stash it in the closet when a date comes over, or leave it strategically out somewhere so she asks about your awesome habits.

So, sorry to say to the lazy among us, there is absolutely no reason you can't have this in your apartment. It takes up no room and the entire cost was under $60. That price includes the bag, hook-ups, and the pull-up bar. So for under sixty bucks you can do all your punching bag work outs and rock out pull-ups and chin-ups. Not bad – so what are you waiting for?

Once you have figured out how to make a punching bag with the above items, here are my three core work-outs.

1. Cardio Speed Bagging. The punch cadence is simply Left-Right as fast as possible for as long as possible, to get you going.

2. Every Punch a Knock-Out. Every punch you throw, you throw as hard as you can. Left-Right-Right Hook.

3. The Four Punch Combo. Left Jab, Right, Left Jab, Right Hook, Left Jab, Right, Left Jab, Right Upper Cut. Repeat over and over and over.

Start trying to go for 2 minute rounds, though two minutes of bag work feels like 15 minutes of sprinting, so you'll have to work you way up to it.

If you're new to bag training, I recommend checking out this great beginner's tutorial on bodybuilding.com. Much like every aspect of training, form is very important so you don't hurt yourself. Happy boxing!

Robert Fure is a fitness, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in Los Angeles. He is also a certified Personal Trainer and the Creator/Editor of Fit and Furious, an online outlet dedicated to the pursuit of a fit lifestyle. His entertainment work can be viewed at Film School Rejects.

  • Ben

    Wow this is awesome!

    I have and love my pullup bar already, and have always wanted to use a bag for training. Being new to it though, I find the bags at the gym intimidating, and my current gym doesn’t have one, so this will be great. Can’t wait to try it out.


  • Ben

    Also, do you think a heavier bag would work/be desirable?

  • Mike

    To prevent the bag from moving off-center, why not try placing some cheap zip ties on either side of the strap on the bar? Place the connecting end on the top, so there’s more bulk that a strap would have to move over to un-center itself.

    They might get in the way when you’re doing actual pull ups, but they could just be considered incentive to not rest your chin between pull ups. Alternately, zip ties are cheap and plentiful enough that they can just be cut off and replaced as necessary.

  • Dax Hansen

    Bas Rutten put out MMA workout tapes with 2 and 3 minute rounds of boxing combinations. It makes for a great workout.

  • James

    What are your thoughts about free-standing heavy bags?

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Robert F

    A heavier bag should work, they generally weigh 80lbs, so you will definitely be within the safety limits of the straps and the clips, and well under the weight limits of the bar, so I don’t really see a problem in terms of weight. Make sure that the bag will fit in your door frame without hitting the ground after making the loops. These bags can be quite tall (5ft) and the door frame is probably under 7ft, so when you include the drop for the pull-up bar and the drop from the hanging loop, it could be close.

    But sure, if you can fit it, I think it would work. Is it necessary? Up to you. The benefit of the heavy bag is it won’t sway or move as much, the downside is it’s a lot heavier and bigger, and you do still have to store it somewhere when not in use.


  • http://www.primermagazine.com Robert F

    Hey Mike, good idea, but I’m not certain it would work – the pull up bar is very smooth, so even if you tightened the zip ties as much as possible, they still might move. Plus, if you’re really wailing on the bag, throwing upper cuts, you can make it jump a little bit, so it might just jump the zip tie. To be honest, it moving off center doesn’t bother me much – just punch it back into place with a few left hooks! What might work better if the movement bothered you would be to use more canvas to wrap the connection point in place and tie that off. It would increase friction in the area and stop it from moving as easily, but make it more difficult to remove the bag when you’re done.

    I love Bas Rutten, he has some amazing stuff on YouTube, but adding in boxing to your workout is killer.

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Robert F


    I like the idea of them but hate the cost and weight. A fully loaded model like Wavemaster weighs 170lbs or so, and if you use sand instead of water, it’s significantly heavier. This can make it a pain to move around. Plus, because of their size, they’re more difficult to store when not in use – the benefit of the small bag and pull up bar is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

    If you have the room and the money (a cheap one is $100+ and a ‘pro’ model is $300+), then they can be a good investment if you don’t have a place to hang a true heavy bag or put a heavy bag stand. It also depends on your strength level and work-out plans. If you just want to work cardio and pepper the bag with shots, a cheaper, lighter version might work well. But if you really want to lay into the bag and throw some hard kicks at it, you need to go with one of the larger, heavier ones that can absorb that impact with tipping over.

    Personally, I would only buy one if I had a ton of disposable income and moderate space. I would definitely prefer a regular heavy bag and stand if I had the room, but if its your only option, you have the space and money, you can definitely get a good workout from it. I would recommend really looking into the particular model before buying though, to make sure it isn’t prone to rolling over from hard impact.


  • Ben

    Thanks so much Robert!

    I’ll have to do some measurements, and weigh the options.


  • Will

    Great idea. I popped into Dick’s this weekend and got a pull-up bar and a 40 lb. bag this weekend, works like a charm. Even with a set of wraps and bag gloves, it all only came out to just over a hundred bucks.

    My slight modification: My bar is one of those that hooks around the top of the door frame and has the pair of parallel grips sticking out perpendicular to the normal bar. I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s a pretty common design. Anyway, I hang one of the straps of the bag around each of those, so the bag doesn’t move around as much and it’s less noisy than having the metal clips/chains jangling against a metal bar.

  • http://twitter.com/michaelhernsin Michael Hernsin

    I found this useful, [url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiqIIvB–uI”]HOW TO HANG A PUNCHING BAG IN AN APARTMENT[/url]


    It’s a youtube video showing how to hang a punching bag in an apartment. I highly suggest watching this, if you want a CHEAP, easy, and super effective way to hang your punching bag in your apartment. i did and it turned out great!

  • http://desaraeveit.com/ Desarae A. Veit AKA DesaraeV

    I have a free standing everlast filled with water. Thoughts on how I could make it quieter? I think the site breaks on the iPad. When I start typing comments all text disappears.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Hey Desarae, The comments appear to be working on the iPad, please let me know if you continue to have problems so I can investigate!

      • http://desaraeveit.com/ Desarae A. Veit AKA DesaraeV

        Works on my iPhone. My iPad needs reset or I’d test it for you

    • http://www.filmschoolrejects.com RobertFure

      It depends on what’s creating the noise – is it the impact of your fist to the bag, or is the bag and stand wobbling/lifting and creating noise when it hits the ground?

      The solution for the first would be to try taping the bag to muffle sound with athletic tape, though this would leave a sticky residue behind if you ever tried to remove it. If you’re okay with a temporary solution, wrap the bag in towels and then tape/tie them in place.

      If the latter is the cause, you’ll want to either fill the base with more water or switch to sand to make it heavier, or place it on top of a few towels to dampen the impact.

      • http://desaraeveit.com/ Desarae A. Veit AKA DesaraeV

        I think it’s from wobbling. Although it doesn’t move much. I’ve tried moving it onto a very thick wool rug but still worried it might be loud.

  • Dawn

    This is amazing!!! I’ve been trying to find an apartment-friendly punching bag for my boyfriend for AGES! Perfect! Thanks!!

  • Bob

    How loud is this setup? if I have neighbors upstairs would they hear? Thanks.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Yep, it’s still a punching bag, so it makes a bit of noise.

  • Quiet Punch

    Very cool idea! I have been working quite some time now on my latest project: Quiet Punch. This might come in handy for people in dorms and apartments once we go to production.

  • Stin

    Best. Idea. Ever! This is exactly what I have been looking for. Sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar!

  • http://www.politicaldebateforums.com/ Rebel

    Neat idea

  • Bekah

    Do you have any suggestions for how to do this with a speed bag??

  • Andy Wong

    Did this, worked out great! Also, plugging for expertboxing.com; it’s by far the best boxing training site!

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  • Butter Battle Pacifist

    Or, get a pull-up bar with the two grip points that poke out, and you can hang the bag from each point, which stabilizes it a little better.

  • Brandon butler

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    • Brandon butler

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  • tonbotoka

    Just fyi, I am a girl with a bag in my living room and I came here looking for a way to also put up a speed bag. Cheers! :p

  • James Hallock

    i have a UFC octek free standing bag with a water drum on the bottom, i have about 50 gallons or so in it, am i able to convert my bag into a hanging one? i have hardwood floors i don’t wish to ruin, i had a carpet under it, but when i punch it, it tosses it across the floor regardless. the bag itself has a hard plastic core and is about a 45-50 lb bag

  • ShibeGuy

    I did an apartment friendly speed bag platform for my garage a few months ago ( see blog post at http://www.justmeasuringup.com/blog/diy-boxing-speed-bag-station-that-stows ) My version raises out of the way though when not in use so I don’t have to bump into it all the time. It’s also in the center of the garage too, so I can still use it even with two cars parked.

  • http://Anabolic.co Anabolicco

    This is a great idea and one that more people should incorporate. Getting fit and building muscle doesn’t have to involve buying expensive equipment. Creativity goes a long way! We’ve covered some of the must-haves for home training in this article – http://anabolic.co/training/5-must-have-pieces-of-equipment-for-home-training/ – and it would be awesome to see if there are ways to “create” some of these safely, as well.


    Erin – AnabolicCo

    Check out our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/AnabolicCo/?fref=ts

  • kevin

    was looking into focus pads and aother wall gear but this seems much better seeing as i already have a pullupbar installed and i get to use an actual bag to practice

  • http://pointraiser.com Sharjeel Ashraf

    Your tips about adding a punching bag to apartment are really amazing. I have added more tips about it like adding a free standing punching bag or adding a wall-mount punching bag for low noise, here: Best Tips for adding a punching bag to an apartment

  • Callie Weylin

    Exactly what I was looking for! I also have the pullup bar but never thought of putting a bag up on it. Thanks! Was struggling to work out how to bring boxing into the new place which would be much smaller than where I am (moving from a house to flat). Great tip!

  • Hudson De Witt Kelly

    I just bought a bag cant i just put a reinforced piece of wood on the ceiling to ensure i dont knock down the ceiling

    Besides i do only weigh in at 142 pounds will i really destroy the roof if i hang in my studio apartment

    Or should i just donate it to the apartment complex and have them put it in the gym there??