Unique Core Exercises Using a Heavy Bag

Before we get to the exercises, you've got to understand the demands on the core, then you'll understand why these exercises are so good for training the core effectively for combat sports.

Although the most popular exercise for the abs is the situp or crunch, this is probably provides the least transference to improved power for a martial artist.

That's because to develop powerful strikes, rotational power is needed, and this happens when you transfer power from the ground, through your hips, through the core, and finally into your shoulders and fist to connect with a knockout blow.

So because situps and crunches are straight up and down, they miss the rotational component that's required for ultimate punching power.

Not to mention that when you're punching somebody it's generally done when you're standing and not lying on your back, but that's another story.

So, if we really want to develop power that snaps the heads of your opponents, we've got to train the core in the rotational pattern, preferably when standing.

That's where these heavy bag exercises come in.

The first one I call the HB Hand Pass.

Here's how you do it:


  1. Stand facing a heavy bag in a good athletic position.
  2. Put your hands out so that the palms face each other.
  3. Quickly push the bag from hand to hand trying to keep your arms stiff and do the task with your core, not arms.
  4. Perform for 10-15 seconds as fast as you can then rest for a minute.

The next exercise I call the Power Push.



  1. Stand facing a heavy bag in a fighting stance with your right palm on the bag.
  2. Pivot your foot and rotate your hips like you're throwing a right cross (if you stand conventional) and throw the bag as hard and fast as possible.
  3. This one is good if you have a partner to stop the bag from swinging wildly.

Both of these exercises are great for developing a rock-solid core that is also functional for striking.


For more unique and effective free training techniques, visit Heavy Bag Workouts.

Article written by Eric Wong

Eric graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Kinesiology program with Honours and has been active in the Strength and Conditioning field since 2002, specializing in training for maximum performance in mixed-martial arts.

He is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Jeff Joslin, helping prepare Jeff for his last two fights including his UFC debut. Other athletes following his strength and conditioning methods include Rory McDonell, Ray "The Hitman" Penny, and Jack Szatko, among others.

He is the author of the Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program, which has elevated the performance of mixed-martial artists around the world. He has also produced the highly popular and successful MMA Ripped Fat Loss Program.

He currently resides in Burlington, Ontario, and can be contacted to hold a clinic for your club or design individual programs for an upcoming fight.