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Archive for the 'Combat Sports' Category

Homemade Punching Bag and Stand

It was around this time last year when I shared a video that detailed how to create a punching bag from used tires (see here). In the time since, I’ve received several emails from readers of the site who have successfully created similar bags of their own. One question that does come up regularly however is how to inexpensively hang such a bag. And while there are certainly commercial products available, it is nice to have inexpensive, do-it-yourself options as well.

One idea that was recently sent to me can be seen briefly in the video below. This homemade design also includes a suspension trainer and speed bag stand.

Free instructions for the stand can be downloaded from the following link:

Total Stand PDF Instructions

A related video can also be found here.


In addition to the bag stand, the same Youtube channel also includes a tutorial for creating a homemade tire bag. The instructions are unique from what the tutorial that I shared last year. If you are considering building a bag of your own, it may be useful to peruse both tutorials before moving forward.

For additional homemade equipment ideas, please refer to the following page:

Homemade Equipment Archives


If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. – Napoleon


Dan Gable Boxing in his Rocky Gym

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you have probably seen me reference Dan Gable. Not only was Gable one of the greatest wrestlers ever, he was equally successful as a coach. It is not often that such a dominant athlete can mirror his own success while coaching. Many great athletes have natural abilities so they struggle to teach others who do not possess the same raw talent. Gable was unique in this regard. As the head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa, he led teams to 16 NCAA titles and 21 straight Big Ten titles. In other words, Gable knows a few things about training and athletic development. When he speaks, it is a good idea to listen.

Unfortunately, Dan Gable’s message does not receive nearly as much attention as it deserves. For instance, the video below has only received a few thousand views despite being online for almost two years. By sharing it here, hopefully more people will listen and learn from one of the greatest athletes and coaches to exist in recent history.

As for the video itself, it is always nice to see athletes from other sports who benefit from the heavy bag. Perhaps I am biased as a former fighter and current boxing trainer, but I have always felt that heavy bag training was useful for athletes in many sports. Punching the bag will improve coordination, power, hand speed, and more. These are physical attributes that will prove useful for all. You certainly do not need to be a fighter to benefit from heavy bag training. And it goes without saying that heavy bag training does not require a state of the art facility. For example, I have shown how an old stack of tires can be used as an effective punching bag (see here).

In summary, Dan Gable signifies one of the greatest examples of low-tech, high-effect training. Gable never relied on anything fancy to prepare himself for the mat. The difference between Gable and everyone else wasn’t the tools that he used, but rather the relentless effort and drive that he displayed continuously year after year. Plain and simple, Gable outworked everyone around him. He was as relentless with his training as he was on the mat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If there was ever an athlete or coach to study and learn from, Dan Gable’s name certainly deserves a spot towards the top of the list.

Also see: Dan Gable’s Home Gym


I was going to work at it every day, so hard that I would be the toughest guy in the world. By the end of practice, I wanted to be physically tired, to know that I’d been through a workout. If I wasn’t tired, I must have cheated somehow, so I stayed longer. – Dan Gable


Russian Boxing Training

Below is a video that I first shared a few years ago. The original clip was removed from Youtube but fortunately it has been uploaded again.

In case you missed the original entry, the video was created in 1981. It includes almost 20 minutes of training footage from several former Soviet boxers. Ironically, despite being filmed over 30 years ago, you will see many techniques that have become quite popular in recent years. For instance, you can see the fighters perform a variety of bag drills, upright barbell exercises, medicine ball throws, and bodyweight movements. You will also see circuits performed where the athletes work for 20 second intervals which are separated by 10 seconds of rest.

The take home lesson therefore is quite simple. Successful training strategies for competitive fighters have been around for a long time. Those who believe otherwise are those who have ignored the past. In addition, these Soviet amateurs offer yet another example of successful fighters who have thrived on the basics. So often the public confuses Russian training strategies with what they saw the fictional Ivan Drago perform in the Rocky IV movie.

The reality however is that the old Rocky IV film came only a few years after the video above. If you wish to see what real Russian training looked like, don’t look to Hollywood. Instead take a look at what really happened. As you’ll see, fighters have always thrived on the basics. Elaborate facilities and methodologies are not necessary. History confirms this observation beyond any reasonable doubt.


Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it. – Anthony J. D’Angelo


Old School Training – Khabib Nurmagomedov

If you are familiar with this blog, you have likely seen numerous examples of world class fighters who have thrived with a low-tech approach to training. I have intentionally highlighted fighters from all styles to demonstrate the effectiveness of such simplistic methods. An abbreviated list of athletes who have been featured before include Fedor Emelianenko, Buakaw Banchamek, Marcelo Garcia, Jack Dempsey, Ray Robinson, and countless others.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is yet another name that can be added to the list. He is a Russian mixed martial artist who is currently 21-0 as a professional. He is a multiple time Combat Sambo World Champion, a judo black belt, a NAGA grappling champion, and currently a lightweight fighter in the UFC.

If you have not heard of Khabib before, the compilation video below will provide a brief introduction.

As for Khabib’s training, he relies heavily on the sport and applies himself diligently with the basics. The ten minute video below captures some of the work that he performs throughout a training camp. Within the clip, you will not find anything fancy. Instead, you will see a world class fighter who trains in an environment that is as rudimentary as any.

You will see him running, shadow boxing, lifting stones, performing calisthenics, punching the mitts, and performing various partner drills. His training style is one that could be utilized almost anywhere. There is no dependence on high-tech equipment or the sophisticated programs that are so heavily marketed in today’s industry. Khabib’s training is not for show and is not performed with the intent to sell you on a particular methodology. His training is done for a single reason, which is to prepare him to fight at a world class level.

So much can be learned from Khabib’s example, as well as the others who have been featured before. First and foremost, if you are a fighter, the most important part of your training involves fighting. Whether sparring, drilling with partners, hitting the bags, or hitting the mitts, such work is physically taxing and vital to your development. The significance of supplemental work pales in comparison to that of your actual sport training.

As for all around conditioning, simplistic methods have stood the test of time for good reason. As Khabib and countless others have demonstrated, hard work with the basics is as effective as anything. You do not need a complex or elaborate program to condition yourself to fight. Intensity can be applied with almost anything, including nothing. Exercises such as swinging a sledge, running hills, and calisthenics have always been effective and always will. Such work can be performed almost anywhere and can be easily implemented alongside sport training without interference.

In summary, you do not need to be a fighter to benefit from Khabib Nurmagomedo’s example. If he can prepare to fight the best in the world with such simplistic methods, the average person can certainly get in shape with such methods as well. Don’t be fooled to believe that you need a complex program to condition yourself to thrive in the world around you. Apply yourself diligently with almost anything and the results will soon follow.


Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it. – Bruce Lee


Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever

Below is a link to a documentary that was recently emailed to me. It was sent by someone who noticed that an old book of mine was seen around the 25:16 mark. Naturally, upon receiving the email, I scrolled to that point and thought it was neat to see the book on display.

Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever

Initially, I did not have a chance to watch the entire film but I’m glad that I made time last night. The story that is chronicled throughout is one that I have seen many times. Now before I share my thoughts on the film, I’ll start by sharing a brief summary from the producer:

Nick has lived a wayward life, grappling with alcoholism before discovering kick boxing as a tool to keep him focused and out of trouble. This documentary follows Nick over 6 months as he struggles to keep on a solid path of training in preparation for his ultimate goal Рa fight at Cambodia’s CTN stadium. As Nick trains in a range of kick boxing gyms, he comes to learn about the sport, its culture and himself. Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever is a kick boxers personal journey which explores the importance of the goals we set in life.

Nick Tower’s story is similar to many fighters. Throughout his life, he has battled many demons. He’s made his share of mistakes and continually struggles to make the right decision. Fortunately, his desire to fight steers him in the right direction. He is never far from straying into trouble, but the gym keeps pulling him back.

His story is a nice reminder that we all have an opportunity to change. The past is the past. It does not need to dictate your future unless you allow it. Each day offers a chance to improve and move forward. I have never met anyone who has lived a perfect life. I certainly made my share of mistakes as a youngster. Like Nick Tower, it was the fight game that steered me in the right direction. If I had not found boxing as a youngster, I’m not sure where I would be.

Never assume that you are too old to pursue the dreams that matter to you. As stated within the film, winning starts with beginning. And winning isn’t just about stepping into the ring to fight. Winning the game of life also starts with beginning. It is impossible to move forward if you aren’t willing to start. Don’t become paralyzed by your past. What you’ve done in the past does not dictate the future.

One thing that we all share in common is that the future has not yet been written. It’s an open book and we all have our own pen. Just like you, I don’t know where I’ll be in a year, in five years, or in ten years. What I do know is that each day offers the opportunity to improve and advance. Doing so starts by winning each individual day. Whatever you’ve done in the past does not influence today’s score. You still have an opportunity to win the day. Don’t let that opportunity pass you by.



When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor Frankl


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