As someone who started off with amateur boxing and then transitioned into MMA and Krav Maga, I have trained extensively on pretty much all types of punching bags.
But the reflex bag remains my favorite. It has helped me immensely while working on conditioning and speed. I used the double end bag for a long time until I found the reflex bag, which I believe offers a better conditioning workout than the double end bag.
If you are new to reflex bags, then you can be a little confused with all the options that are available in the market currently. Adding to the confusion is the fact that all of these bags look like mirror replicas of one another.
That's where we step in. I have worked with the entire gamut of reflex bag brands and models. Today, I will share my personal picks with you, as well as help you understand what separates one bag from the next one.
Quick Summary - Here Are the Top 2 Picks
Here are the top two options for you to consider, if you are looking for the best reflex bag to buy:
Ringside Fitness Reflex Bag
I have owned the Ringside Fitness Reflex bag for over 4 years. It's hands down the most durable reflex bag that I have ever trained on. Despite days of relentless pounding, this bag has never ruptured. Also, it's very economical and gives you great bang for your buck.
Dripex Reflex Heavy Bag
If you are looking for a heavy bag-reflex bag hybrid that offers some swing back at you, then check out the Dripex Reflex Heavy bag. This is a full-sized bag that's designed for heavy bag training, but offers great swing and controllable tension.
Types of Reflex Punching Bags
As indicated by my top two choices, there are two types of reflex bags that you will come across.
The Standard Reflex Bag
This is the more popular design with a skinny pole and a foam-filled bag on top. These bags are closer to the double-end bag in form and function. However, they are bigger than the double end bag and generally, heavier too since they have a solid filled center, as opposed to being hollow.
Standard reflex bags are best suited for speed, agility, cardiovascular drills and conditioning.
The Heavy Bag Version
These reflex bags combine the design and appearance of a heavy bag with the speed and swing of a reflex bag. The one thing that makes these bags better than say an average apartment punching bag like the Century Wavemaster XXL is the swing really.
They are like the best of both worlds, with a few caveats of course.
These bags are generally better suited for beginners who find a conventional reflex bag too fast for comfortable training. I'd also advice that you use MMA gloves if you're a beginner, but be sure to get the right size, especially if you have big hands as you want a good fit. At least initially, you can get your footwork in place before graduating to a standard reflex bag.
Best Reflex Bags
Here are my top recommendations if you are looking for a standard reflex bag.
#1 - Ringside Fitness Reflex Bag
The Ringside Fitness Reflex Bag is one of the oldest models that you will find in the reflex bag segment.
It is clearly one of the most durable reflex bags currently available, regardless of price or brand. It has seen me through 4 years of training sessions and has been invaluable in terms of helping me build strength, speed and agility in my boxing skills.
What I like about it
I love everything about this bag from the design to the construction, the swing and the price. It's practically flawless. Here are the primary reasons why I recommend this bag to one and all.
It's important that training gear does not cost an arm and a leg, especially if you are not a pro fighter. The Ringside Reflex bag is very affordable without cutting corners with quality. In fact, it offers one of the best builds for a boxing training bag in this price range.
I have put this bag through hell and it hasn't even shown signs of basic stress. Not one tear in four years, despite hours of training. The straps and seams are still tight as they were on day one. If you are looking for a long-term investment, then look no further than this.
It has a very natural arc to it when it moves. You can move side to side, or throw hooks and uppercuts with abandon. The bag offers you tremendous flexibility in terms of the type of training that you want to do.
The Ringside Reflex Bag comes with a base that weighs 240 lbs. when filled. It will be as steady as a rock at the base and provide you with predictable swing for speed and coordination drills.
#2 - Hyperflex Strike Bag (EA)
The Hyperflex Strike Bag from Everlast is the closest option that I've found in terms of durability and function, to the Ringside one I own.
This is a compress foam bag with three adjustable settings for the tension allowing you to go from cardio to a more-controlled swing in the blink of an eye. It stands 67" tall, which is a little short for my liking.
But I am 6'3. This might be the perfect height for someone who's say, 5'7-5'10.
What I like about it
I really love the contact feel of the Hyperflex reflex bag. It's light, allowing you to work on your speed and agility effortlessly. But it's not as fast as the Ringside is. That's precisely what works in its favor too.
For a beginner this is a great place to start before moving up to a faster model. The fact that it has multiple settings allows you to slow it down even further makes it very appealing.
You can lock the bottom spring into place and this allows only the top spring to move, giving it a more even swing.
A slightly heavier striking surface
The Hyperflex Strike bag has a foam-filled striking surface that has a certain deft to it. This is precisely what reduces the speed and swing, but it's better for conditioning drills since you have a denser surface to hit, that's going to take more power than gentle taps.
The Hyperflex Strike is pretty close to the Ringside one. It's slightly bigger and it may feel like a more natural fit for beginners. You can just move around it with ease, something that you cannot do with smaller, lighter ringside reflex bags.
#3 - Ringside Cobra Reflex Boxing Punching Bag
The Ringside Cobra is hands down, the most popular reflex bag amongst MMA fighters. This is in fact, the second iteration of the same bag that Ringside introduced a while ago.
Amongst a slew of new upgrades, there's an industrial grade alloy spring that makes this one of the fastest reflex bags in the world right now.
What I like about it
I used the first iteration of the Cobra for a long time. But the connector that connects the bag to the neck was poorly designed and would break off after a while. The new iteration is built like a tank.
Engineered for MMA fighters
The Cobra is designed for fast agility drills. We are sure that you've seen Ryan Garcia knock this around demonstrating what it's capable of. That's precisely what made this so popular amongst amateur boxers and MMA fighters.
If you are looking for a bag that snaps back at you fast, this is it. It's speed, hand-eye coordination, footwork and the whole 9 yards.
Stands 7' tall
The biggest draw of the Ringside Cobra for me, is the height. This is a full 7 feet tall at max height adjustment. That's perfect for both, punches as well as kicks, even for a tall athlete like me.
Also, let's talk about the actual ball. It's a brute. The outer cover is faux leather and there's a thick foam core.
The newest iteration of the Ringside Cobra is built like a tank. It has a powerful industrial spring, a legit striking ball and a sturdy base to boot.
It's designed for fast agility drills and any athlete who's looking to improve their speed will find this useful.
#4 - Everlast Reflex Bag (EA)
This Reflex Bag from Everlast is designed for medium-speed boxing drills. That said, it has one of the best swings that I've seen in bags at this price point.
It swings real good, allowing you to work on your defense. A common gripe that I've heard from boxers and MMA fighters is that reflex bags don't swing enough to allow them to duck.
What I like about it
The Everlast Reflex Bag is strong, stable and durable, three qualities that I always look for in a good reflex bag.
Bottom Spring Mounted Design
The Everlast Reflex Bag has a spring mounted on the bottom, instead of the neck joint. This is what gives the bag its swing and balance. This is a huge plus since the bag rebounds at the perfect angle for proper punching drills.
If you go hard at it, it's going to swing back equally hard. Also, this does not merely move back and forth. It will move in the horizontal and vertical planes. So there's ample scope for a variety of training drills.
Rubber foam padding
The striking ball at the top is wrapped with rubber foam. That's to say, there's a layer of soft padding around the striking area itself. This makes it a tad thicker than the standard reflex bag.
On a positive note, the shock absorption is superior than what you'd expect from similar bags.
The Everlast Reflex Bag has all of your basics covered. It's durable with a good rebound speed. If you are looking for a bag that can handle everything from pads to body shots, this is what you want.
#5 - Title Boxing Deluxe King Cobra
The Title Boxing Deluxe King Cobra bag is one of the newest offerings from Title, that aims to trump the Cobra, which got a shot in the arm since the Ryan Garcia videos went viral.
So, what does Title do? It names their bag the King Cobra. Go figure. So, what does the King Cobra do better than the Cobra? For one, it's slower and hence has a more predictable swing, which is what a lot of beginners prefer.
What I like about it
I have used Title gear for years. The King Cobra is a classic example of why their gear is popular. It's tough, real durable and can take a pounding. If you check for Reflex bag reviews on Amazon, you'll find a lot of users complain that the reflex bag broke off when they went heavy on it.
The King Cobra does not even have a single review that says this.
The Title King Cobra features an 8" thick bag that's filled with infused foam. It is big enough for target practice. But it's going to take a lot more effort than flimsier bags. The positive thing about this is that you can go a tad heavy on this.
There's a 9" high-tension steel spring that gives it the stability one looks for from reflex bags. It's a steady and predictable swing.
Can be bolted to the floor
If you hate messing around with sand or water to fill bases, then you'll appreciate the four masonry floor anchors that this bag comes with.
You can permanently bolt this to the floor and even secure it with weights, so that it stays fixed in place.
The Title King Cobra is a good bag for anyone who seeks medium-paced swing. It's designed like a rock and can take an absolute pounding. If it were not for the 66" top height, this would have been one of my personal favorites.
#6 – MaxMMA Cobra
The MaxMMA Cobra is an excellent choice if you are looking for an economical reflex bag. It’s a combo of two reflex bags in one pack, and also features four adjustable tension settings.
So, you can swap the bags and adjust the tension on-the-fly depending on the drills that you are training for. Both the bags are made of heavy duty PU. Just ensure that you secure the base with some weight plates and you should have a great time with this.
Also, don’t expect to use it for serious heavy training. It works best for beginners looking to hone their skills at home.
#7 – Tech Tools Punching Bag with stand – Best option for kids
The Tech Tools Punching Bag with stand is a height adjustable reflex bag that’s designed for teens aged 14 and up. It features an EVA foam reflex bag that goes from 49” to 63”. That’s the perfect height for a punching bag for teenagers and/or kids learning boxing as well as MMA.
The spring quality is pretty good for a bag at this price point. I don’t see why this couldn’t hold up for years despite everyday use.
The swing is decent and not too fast or unpredictable. Should work like a charm for a wide range of training drills.
Standing reflex heavy bags
These bags are a hybrid that combine the design of a heavy bag with the functionality of a reflex bag. A lot of beginners find it very difficult to get their timing right on the reflex bag. They’d rather throw the punches on a large heavy bag, than struggle to time it on a reflex bag.
That’s where these bags come into the picture.
#1 - Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag
The Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag is a heavy-reflex bag hybrid that offers a full-sized striking surface with great swing and rebound.
This bag is attached to the base with four TPU shock absorbing springs. This gives it a steady but decent swing and rebound. It offers 360-degree shock absorption too, which is pretty much what beginners seek while starting practice with bag drills.
What I like about it
I like the very premise that the Dripex is built on. It lets you go really hard with kicks and MMA practice, while also offering the unpredictability of a reflex bag.
Thick PU Surface
The striking surface is made of thickened PU leather with a high-density EPE foam core. This creates a realistic surface, that's not too hard on your body, nor too soft for serious athletes.
Also, it's tear resistant and can last through years of constant use.
Steady Swing and a stable base
The Dripex freestanding bag features Dual TPU absorbers and 4 springs that offer 360-degree shock absorption, while providing the bag with a steady rebound. This also ensures that the bag is very quiet and does not create a ruckus.
The ABS base is rounded for portability and can be filled with 182 lbs. of sand. So, it's pretty stable. But there are also 12 suction cups on the underside which will secure the base to the floor even further.
The Dripex is a solid heavy-reflex bag hybrid that offers the efficiency of Reflex Bags while also providing the convenience of a full-sized striking surface. It's an excellent choice for beginners, children and even professional athletes who seek the convenience of both types of bags in one.
#2 - FITVEN Freestanding Punching Bag
The Fitven Freestanding Punching bag is one of the most popular hybrid bags around. It stands tall, offers a capacious surface for heavy bag drills and yet, has the right amount of rebound for speed and agility drills.
What I like about it
With a steel tube construction and an industrial-grade alloy spring, it's built like a tank.
Four Springs for a quicker rebound
The Fitven features 4 springs that give it a pretty good rebound. Normal reflex bags can only sustain light to mediocre intensity of punches and kicks. But you can actually go hard on this bag for boxing, MMA and Muay Thai.
The quicker rebound allows you to work on defense as well as footwork. Also, it's not a tiny reflex bag coming back at ya. It's a full-sized heavy bag. So you better move fast.
205 lbs. base
It's important that you work on a heavy bag that's stable and does not slide around. Most budget-priced bags will require you to secure the base with weights even after you fill it with sand. Because it weighs just 60-70 lbs.
But the Fitven features a 5mm abs rounded base that weighs 205 lbs. when filled with sand. That's a brute of a base folks. As if it wasn’t enough, there are 12 suction cups which keep it glued to the floor at all times.
I really like this hybrid bag from Fitven. It goes from 47” to 73”, comes with a sturdy base and four TPU springs. Can’t go wrong with it.
Top Reflex Bags Brands
Most boxing and MMA gear companies manufacture double-ended bags. But the reflex bag is a fairly new concept, so not many have ventured into it yet.
This actually makes it easier for you to pick up a good bag, because the options are limited.
Here are some top brands that manufacture Reflex Bags.
Everlast is one of the oldest brands that manufacture boxing gear. They have been making quality punching bags for decades now. And not just punching bags, they have also been rolling out other cool boxing gear like women boxing shoes and punching bag stands with pull up bar among others.
Their Reflex bags are very solid and durable, along with other competitively priced high-end gear. On average their pricing is slightly higher than its competition but the quality is always better. And I firmly believe that you get what you pay for in boxing. Check out their Hyperflex Bag listed at #2 position to see what I mean.
Ringside's association with martial arts started in the 1930's. Since then, they have been hand-crafting a wide range of boxing and training equipment for amateurs and professionals.
Their Reflex bags were not as popular as Everlast but ever since the Cobra and Ryan Garcia, Ringside has been gaining good ground. The only problem is that they have a very limited number of Reflex bags in their catalog.
Title is the newest kid on the block, especially if you compare it with the other brands listed here. It started in 1998. But since then, it's grown to become one of the leading brands in boxing as well as MMA.
They offer some pretty cool gear that's more contemporary than the peers. Also, Title's gear are generally suited for the budget-priced shopper.
Quick Setup Guide
Setting up the reflex bag is pretty straight forward. But there are a few things that you should consider right from the onset to ensure that you don't go around in circles.
Height Adjustment - How high should you have the reflex bag?
This depends on the type of workouts you are planning to do. If it's primarily for boxing training, it's best that you keep the bag at about eye level or slightly lower. This allows more clearance for your punches and kicks and allows you to maintain a steady head, keeping the eye on the target.
But if you plan on doing MMA training (Kicks), then you can lower the bag to about chest level. This makes it easier. Also, this depends completely on the maximum height setting for the bag.
Some bags can extend up to 7', while others have a max height of about 55". So, keep this in mind before you shop.
Keeping the base steady - Sand vs. Water
Sand is the traditional filling for the heavy base. It's super-heavy and requires no additional weight to hold it down. But one problem is that sand can be messy to work with. Just use a funnel if you find the opening too small to comfortably and quickly fill the base.
Water is easier to use. But it can be messier at times, especially, if the base springs a leak.
A reflex bag will move around, not only on the horizontal plane, but also on the vertical one. So, ensure that there's enough clearance for the bag to move freely.
Also, make sure that there's enough clearance on all sides for your kicks and punches. If you're planning on using your reflex bag in a cramped apartment home gym, then you may end up hurting yourself while working out or limit your range of motion.
FAQs for Reflex Bags
Now we answer a few common questions about reflex bags
Q. Double End Bag vs Reflex Bag - Which Is Best for What?
A. Both, the double end bag and reflex bag serve the same purpose. But there are some key differences in the two. For one, the double end bag is an inflated bladder whereas the reflex bag is a solid one with a foam filled core. There's a huge difference in the feel upon contact as well as the energy that it takes to get the same rebound. The reflex bag is more demanding.
The double end bag is smaller than a reflex bag and has more tension, which gives it more rebound. But it's generally a lot faster and better suited for advanced athletes.
Q. What Is a Good Alternative?
A. If you are looking for an alternative, then check out the freestanding heavy bag. It's sturdy, strong and can take everything you throw at it. I own the Century Wavemaster XXL as well as the Century Bob. You can check out my reviews over here.
Q. Is a Reflex Bag Too Challenging for Beginners?
A. The very idea of a reflex bag is to make it easier for beginners to practice, with a steady and predictable swing. That said, if you are very new to this, it may take a while before you can practice comfortably on it.
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