I would like to make an attempt to provide some of the missing information in this blog entry for others who are interested in water-filled heavy bags, and are having trouble finding information on them. Granted, one way to compare different types of bags is to try them out. Unfortunately, I don't go to a gym, and there aren't any major retailers in the area who have boxing equipment.
First of all, there are two different types of water-filled heavy bags: water only, and water and foam. A bag filled with only water contains a sturdy, warranty guaranteed rubber bladder to hold the water, and covering it is a strong nylon coated canvas material. A foam/water bag has a bladder to hold the water surrounded by a layer of firm foam, which is then contained in nylon coated canvas. There are variations to these designs. Different foam/water bags will have different thicknesses of foam, usually 2-3". Water and foam/water bags both vary in the maximum weight they can contain in water. Typically it will range from 100-170Lbs. total weight, the empty bag weighing around 20Lbs. This is one benefit of ordering a water-filled heavy bag online; they ship empty, so the shipping charges are much, much less than the shipping for a pre-filled bag. Different bag designs also vary the length of the bag from top to bottom, and the width of the bag in diameter. Most water bags are shorter than a typical heavy bag, and also narrower. The heavier the bag, the longer it will be in order to accommodate a larger bladder to hold more water. Most water bags seem to be 13" in diameter, compared to the usual 14" of a standard heavy bag. This difference is minute, and is barely noticeable once the bag is filled with water and spreads out a little.
The majority of water-filled heavy bags available by such manufacturers as Title, Ringside, Fighting Sports, Combat Sports International, Everlast and Century follow the basic design I outlined above. There are others available that may vary slightly, however will follow the same basic principles. One water bag is quite different; Ringside's Tsunami Water Heavy Bag. They claim to have developed a dual bladder system which changes the way the bag reacts to punches. I haven't used these, but they look very different than other bags - not only because they come in bright colors - the outer material of the bag appears to be rubber-like, judging from photos.
There are different types of water bags in terms of hanging bags and standing bags. I am mainly focusing on hanging bags here simply because they are the type of bag I was looking for. All the same principles apply to standing bags, except they come with a stand that has to be filled with sand to weigh it down and prevent it from moving. I have heard that these types of bags tend to creep along the floor during intense use, although I have no personal experience. From my understanding, the floor creep can be suppressed if placing the bag on carpet, or wedging it in a corner, however I have no experience with these bags.
Water bags are different in other ways from standard heavy bags when they are being hit and used. A water bag will displace more of the energy it takes from a hit than a standard heavy bag will. This means that the bag tends to swing less. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As many others have noted, if you're looking for bag swing, that's what a double end bag is for. Water bags are acclaimed to be much easier on the user's joints, tendons and hands. There is a consistent density throughout a water bag, unlike some standard heavy bags which can harden at the bottom and soften at the top after extended use. Cheaper standard heavy bags may also contain heavy duty plastic bags filled with sand, and sometimes they wind up being on the outside of the bag. If the user hits one of these they could really hurt their hand. Water bags alleviate a lot of these issues. However, a water bag is not as dense as some hard-packed standard bags. This will probably not be a problem for the typical home user, as a water bag is probably going to be as dense or denser than a standard bag of the same price after extended use.
Some people seem worried, and even convinced that a water bag is a guaranteed wet floor. Some have had this problem actually happen. For the most part, it appears to be a very rare occurrence. Modern water bags are sealed up using modern technology to ensure that a leak is an extremely unlikely event. Just in case, most water bags have a 10 year warranty on the bladder, so if it leaks, the bag will be replaced. I've heard it's a good idea to let 2-3 inches worth of the water in the top of the bladder out after filling it completely to allow for some room for the water to move when hitting the bag.
When setting up my water bag I ran into a couple of difficulties. The first was filling the bladder. Most water bags, including mine, have a small rigid hose extruding from the top with a screw off cap. This hose resembles a typical garden water hose, and has threading which a garden hose can be screwed into. My bag was being setup indoors, and I don't have a hose, so I decided to be patient and pour water from a container into the opening until the bag was full. This, however, was not as effective as I anticipated. I was able to fill the bladder up to about 75% full, but when putting more water in, it welled up in the rigid hose and was ready to overflow. After moving the bag around a little, lying it down and rolling it, hitting it a little, I was able to pour some more water in. I did this numerous times until the bag was nearly full. I suspect that the filling hose extends down into the bladder below the top of the bladder which makes simply pouring water into it very difficult to fill it. If possible, it would be better to fill the bladder with a hose. This would, however, require the user to have to unscrew the hose after about every 1/3rd to allow some of the excess air to escape and allow more water into the bladder. The latter technique I haven't tried, but this is what I have heard.
I finally did get a hose to top up the bag, and got a faucet adapter which allowed me to connect it to my kitchen sink. See this article for some very well written advise on connecting a hose to your kitchen sink. This worked very well - after everything was connected, I simply turned on the tap and let the water flow into the bladder until it seemed to be full because the tap made a slightly different noise. After the bladder is full, just unscrew the hose from the tap (not the bag) and let the excess water flow into the sink. This is where it gets tricky. It seems that once water has started to flow through the hose out of the bag, it acts as a siphon and draws all the water out of the bag. By bending the hose to stop the flow of water, I was able to let out just enough water so that when unscrewing the hose from the top of the bag, no more excess flowed out. It would definitely be easier to fill the bag outside, or perhaps in a bathtub, but that would mean moving it while it is full, and weighing 100lbs or more.
The other problem I am facing is due to the fact that I don't hang from the ceiling but rather from a heavy bag stand. The problem is that with the long chains, the bag hangs too low from the stand to be very functional. I have come up with a very simple construction of a rig to hang the bag directly under the hook of the stand without causing any inward-crushing force on the top of the bag, such as shortening the chains would result in. Due to some interest from a reader I've taken some photos of the rig. The bungee cord is there to prevent the filling tube from rubbing against the board.
If you're looking online for a good water heavy bag, I don't want to recommend one, because I haven't used them all. I would recommend finding a site that you like, that ships to your area for a decent price, and maybe even has the item you want on sale. Some of the sites I have found to carry good water bags are as follows.
- Title MMA - Title, Fighting Sports and Century water bags here.
- Elite MMA -Ringside Tsunami bags and water bags as well as Everlast's Hydrostrike here.
- Ringside -Ringside's water bags and Tsunami bags as well as Everlast's Hydrostrike found here.
- Title Boxing -Title, Fighting Sports, Everlast and Century water bags here.
- Everlast - Only Everlast's Hydrostrike water/foam bag here.
- Combat Sports - CSI and Everlast water bags found here.
- Fighting Sports - Fighting Sports, Title, Everlast and Century water bags available here.
- Boxing Depot - Some Ringside water bags here, including the Tsunami.
I believe that covers it. If I have missed anything, please let me know. Finally, I have some images of the various heavy bags commonly carried by the sites I have visited for a visual comparison. Thanks for reading.
|Title Water Heavy Bag 60lbs|
|Title LiquiShock Foam-Water Heavy Bag 100-180lbs|
|Title LiquiShock Water Heavy Bag 140-160lbs|
|Century Hydrocore Water Bag 70-100lbs|
|Combat Sports Water-Foam Heavybag 130lbs|
|Ringside Water Filled Heavybag 130lbs|
|Ringside Water Filled Heavybag 150lbs|
|Everlast Hydrostrike Water-Foam Heavy Bag 120lbs|
|Everlast Hydrostrike Water Heavy Bag 100-150lbs|
|Fighting Sports Water-Foam Heavy Bag 100-140lbs|
|Ringside Water-Foam Heavybag 170lbs|
|Ringside Water-Foam Heavybag 100lbs|
|Ringside Water-Foam Heavybag 130lbs|
|Tsunami Water Bag 50lbs|
|Tsunami Water Bag 65lbs|
|Tsunami Water Bag 80lbs|
|Tsunami Water Bag 105lbs|
|Tsunami Water Bag 150lbs|