Everything You Need to Know about the Best Filling for Punching Bag

Anyone who is training for boxing or martial arts is probably familiar with a punching bag. They are generally filled with materials that allow you to strike them repeatedly without damaging them, and depending on the type of material used, it can be as light or heavy as needed.

While a lot of them do come pre-filled, you will find that often you can actually save money by filling them yourself. Additionally, by filling the punching bag yourself, you have control over the material used, as well as how heavy it will be.

what is the best filling for punching bag

What Material Is Used to Fill a Boxing Bag?

There are various materials that can be used to fill or refill a boxing bag, and depending on the firmness and weight that you are wanting to go for, you may decide to use a different material. Common materials used include sand, rubber mulch, rice (uncooked), and fabric or cloth.

Depending on where your skill level is and how much weight you want your punching bag to have, you will want to decide which material will be better suited for your needs. Fillers like cloth and rubber mulch are great for lighter bags; whereas sand, rice, or sawdust is heavier per volume, and these are great materials for heavier punching bags.

The great thing about having a refillable punching bag is that you can really use whatever material you think. There are some that you will want to stay away from, as they may damage the bag, but there is a real chance for creativity with what you decide to place in your bag.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are choosing the material for your punching bag is the amount of give and weight that you want to achieve. Taking into consideration your level of expertise in boxing, you can adjust the weight as needed.

It is important to keep in mind that you won’t want to make the bag too heavy or with little give, if you are just starting out, as this can limit the amount of progress that you make. Additionally, when you are a beginner, your hands and knuckles won’t be as attuned to boxing, and a heavier bag can lead to bruising and in some cases fracturing of the bones.

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Punching Bag?

The cost to fill your punching bag will vary depending on the material you choose to use. For instance: if you are looking for a more lightweight bag and will be using cloth from old t-shirts, towels, or even bed linens then the cost will little to nothing; as you already have the materials on hand.

If you are needing to buy all the filler required, it can get more pricey; especially if you are using something like sand or rice. These types of materials have far less volume for the amount needed, as as such you will need a lot to fill the bag properly and getting that uniform shape without concaves, bumps, or ridges.

There are still budget-friendly options available if you are needing to buy the material; such as mixing store-bought filler with the cloth that you already have on hand. Or if you are running out of materials that you have at home, you can visit your local thrift store for cheap t-shirts that can easily be added to the bag in order to fill it completely.

How to Fill a Punching Bag Correctly?

Filling a punching bag yourself is easier than it sounds, and gives you more control over the firmness and weight that your bag will have. By following the steps listed below, you will be able to fill it without much hassle, and can start your training regimen fairly quickly.

#1. Grab the Necessary Supplies

Before you can start to fill your boxing bag, you will want to make sure that you have the necessary supplies handy. For this, you will want to have a quality kickboxing bag that is made from high-quality vinyl, canvas, or leather. Picking a bag that is made from a high-quality material is important, as it will be put through a lot of abuse.

Regardless of what material you are choosing to use in your punching bag, it is a good idea to fill the bottom few inches with sand in order to give more structure and weight to the base of the bag. The sand that you use does not make much of a difference here, and play sand is readily available at a decent price in most garden centers of supermarkets and hardware stores.

Additionally, you will want to decide on and have your filling handy. There is normally a level of padding between the bag and the filling, so depending on how thick this is in your bag, you may need less filling than you thought.

#2. (Optional) Place a Filled PVC or cardboard Pipe in the Middle

If you want to weight down your punching bag and add some stability, you can fill a PVC pipe or cardboard tube with something like rice or sand and place it in the middle of the bag. Keeping it centered in the bag, you can fill the other stuffing around this.

Keep in mind that this is an optional step. If you choose not to use a cardboard tube or PVC pipe that is filled with either rice or sand, your punching bag will be stable enough to fit in with your needs.

#3. Fill the Bag

Using your preferred stuffing, you can begin to fill the rest of the bag. During this step, it may be necessary to pack down the stuffing in order to get a more uniform shape for the boxing bag. Remember, you want the bag to be firm when all is said and done; without any lumps or ridges.

Remember not to make the bag too heavy for you, as you want to train correctly with the right amount of give. If you find that the bag is too heavy or too light, you can create a mixture of fillers in order to get the right weight that is ideal for your level of skill in boxing.

#4. Seal the Bag

Once you are done filling the bag and confident in the amount of stuffing, you can lace up the bag at the top. Most bags will use heavy-duty sting in order to tie and untie the top portion, to gain access to the bag as needed.

Keep in mind during this last step that you will want to make sure the bag is securely laced, and that it won’t come undone during use. Just think of it as how you want your shoes to be tight while you are walking, and you should be just fine.

What Is the Best Filling for a Punching Bag?

There is no single best filling for a punching bag, and one of the great aspects of filling it yourself is being able to choose the filling that fits in with your needs. If you are a beginner, you want to avoid making the bag too heavy, as this will make it much harder to learn the basic movements and hand-eye coordination.

A bag that is too heavy can also lead to bruises of the knuckles, hands, and wrists if you are inexperienced and have not built up the proper technique or stamina. For beginners, a lightweight bag is ideal, and you can use an inflatable bag and a bag with fabric; such as from old t-shirts, towels, and throw blankets. This will give the bag a softer feel, as well as far more give than materials such as sand.

how to choose the best filler for punching bagsAlternatively, if you have been boxing for a while and feel like you need the boxing bag to be heavier, then you can fill it with material that is better suited for weight; such as partial sand. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller particles, the heavier it will be in most cases.

So for a heavier bag, something like sand, sawdust, or even rice would be a great option. Keep in mind, however, that this can get expensive as it will take a lot of these types of fillers to get the bag full, and have the right uniformed shape.

One of the great things about filling your bag yourself is that you can switch and choose the material that is best suited for your training at any given time. While it is easier to switch out lighter material, you will find that will a little help and know-how, you can customize your boxing bag exactly to your personal preferences.

Is It Better to Fill a Punching Bag with Rubber Mulch?

Rubber mulch is a good alternative way to fill your punching or boxing bag that may save on cloth, rice, or sand. It is not better or worse to use rubber mulch to fill your punching bag; although a lot of people will prefer a combination with the mulch and other materials.

Rubber mulch is lightweight and comes in a variety of particle sizes allowing you to easily choose which ones are best suited for your empty punching bag. Some benefits of using rubber mulch to fill your punching bag are:

More realistic give – Due to the way that rubber settles and feels when you are using it as a filler in your punching bag, you will probably notice that it feels more like you are punching a real person. This filling would be stronger and more resistant when in use, and can be a great way to train. Rubber does not shift easily, and with a slight amount of give that it has in your bag it will be a good option for realistic training methods.

Easy to Come by – Rubber mulch is relatively easy to come by, as you can obtain it in most garden centers at supermarkets and hardware stores. Generally, you will only need around 4 bags of mulch even for extra-large bags, and it is pretty inexpensive. If down the road you find that you want to fill your bag with something else, you can repurpose it as well.

Budget-Friendly Filler – If you are budget conscious and looking to find something to fill your bag that won’t break the bank, rubber mulch is a great option. You can generally find it for under $10 a bag, and when mixed with other filler materials in your punching bag, one bag can go a long way.

For beginners and young punchers, a great way to fill the punching bag easily is to use a mixture of rubber mulch and old fabrics like t-shirts and towels. This way both materials will go a long way, and you can easily start your training regimen.

What Kind of Sand Is Used for a Punching Bag Base?

If you have a free-standing punching bag, then chances are that you will have a base that needs to be weighed down by either water or sand. When we talk about freestanding heavy bags, it simply means those that are not attached to the ceiling; and have a weighted base that is connected to a stand and mount for your punching bag.

These will generally use either water or sand; although as you can imagine, if there are any issues in the integrity of the base itself, they can crack and leak. Sand would be much easier to clean up if this was the case.

Sand is a great choice for filling the punching bag base, as it can provide enough weight for the stand to be sturdy. Additionally, regardless of if you have a stand for your punching bag, it would be wise to fill the first few inches of the bag with sand to add some weight and overall sturdiness to the bag itself.

You can do both at the same time, saving you time and money down the road. When you fill the bottom of the punching bag with sand, you only need a few inches of it and remember that sand can add a lot of weight per volume, and you won’t want to make the punching bag too heavy (especially if you are a beginner).

You can use any type of sand for the base of the punching bag and play sand is great as it is readily available, does not cost a lot, and does not have any of the large particles of non-sand material that you may find organically at a beach or source of water.

Play sand comes in small bags that you can pick up at most garden centers across the nation in supermarkets or hardware stores. These bags generally come in 1-5 pound sizes, making it easy to choose the correct size for what your punching bag needs are, and you can return any that are unused after you are done filling the base of the bag.


After reading through this article, you should have more of an idea of what is the perfect material to use in your refillable punching bag for you. The most important thing to remember is to keep in mind the quality of the bag, how heavy the filling will make it, and what level your skillset is at.