Yesterday I wrote about a fantastic opportunity I had last weekend, to go work out on my trusty punching bag. During this workout, I mentioned a punch pad I had in the garage as well and some inquiries to my inbox led me to think that folks didn’t know what I was referring to. The thing is, I have to striking stations in my garage. The first is my punching bag. The second is a small, square pad bolted to the wall. This pad was originally installed against the wall in my basement but since renovating, was relocated to the outside.
Striking a punch pad that firmly in place provides different benefits to one’s strike training. For example, I think we can all agree that for the most part, when you strike a person, they’re going to move. Unless they’re Kryptonian, it’s unlikely that they’ll be firm in where they stand if you punch or kick them. A punching bag is pretty good at simulating that effect. A punching bag also allows for a variety of striking techniques, from kicks to punches, elbow strikes to knee strikes. The pad won’t necessarily allow for all of that.
That being said, the pad has some distinctive advantages as well. Besides making my strikes look more impressive to my son (the garage shakes when I punch it), its small size requires a level of precision to my aim that the punching bag is far more forgiving on. So long as I throw a punch at the bag and be cautious not to roll my wrist on it, I can pretty much punch anywhere with the understanding that I’ll hit it. The pad is far less forgiving, having a surface area of about 6×6 inches, requiring me to ensure my aim is true. The alternative is punching a solid wall…
The pad also won’t give or move away once struck. This changes the dynamic behind how I strike. The possibility of sprains or injury increases, but so does muscle development and strength. Since the pad doesn’t yield under my strike, every punch builds greater power. This can be handy when one is learning to punch properly or is looking to ensure proper bone alignment during strikes, since a few degrees in the wrong direction will hurt you more than whomever you intend to strike.
As useful as this punch pad can be, it has it’s disadvantages. Kicking the pad is less than ideal. Some other striking techniques, such as varieties of elbow strikes, can’t be performed on the pad or depend on the angle of approach. Admittedly, I purchased this striking pad a few years ago when I was too cheap to purchase a full punching bag for myself. It was a cost-effective alternative that still let me add some striking to my training routine. Eventually, I moved the pad out to the garage when we demolished and renovated the basement. I got my punching bag soon after.
Since the basement renovations were completed in the fall of 2023, I could have moved the pad back inside. this would make strike training more accessible during the winter months. But i just can’t bring myself to mar the newly dry walled surface of my basement walls. And given that we have a little one in the house, making the walls shake by constantly pounding on them likely isn’t ideal either. But there you have it! That’s the difference between my punching bag and my striking pad. ☯️