One of the things I love about boxing is how affordable it is to start. It lowers the barrier of entry and opens the door for people to choose learning how to box over learning how to do other sports.
There are only a handful of sports where you, by yourself, can progress and learn skills without having to buy a whole lot of equipment.
Even better – if you’re at the point where you do need or want some boxing equipment to take your training to the next level – there is nothing spectacular or complicated about boxing equipment and it’s possible to improvise most of what you need and DIY with low cost materials. So if you’re broke or simply don’t want to go out and buy equipment you should consider building yourself a home made boxing gym.
I’m going to show you how to make your own home boxing gym which is every bit as functional as one equipped with brand name equipment.
Elements of the Boxing Gym
To fully outfit a home boxing gym the requirements are fairly simple and I’ll show you step-by-step below how to make it all for less than $200. The same equipment you’re going to learn to make would cost you at least $1000 if you bought it new.
- Adequate space
- The Heavy Bag Stand or Cage (approx $150)
- Heavy Bag (approx $15)
- Double End Bag (approx $15)
- Slip Bag (likely FREE)
- Uppercut Bag (approx $15)
The only thing you’re going to be missing with this set up is a speed bag and platform – but to be honest – that frustrating little ball has very little application to what happens in the ring. It just makes you look bad ass in the gym when you figure out how to hit it right.
Home made Workout Equipment
Home made workout equipment is a must if you want to eliminate unnecessary money spending. It is also a bliss to have equipment at home. Why? Because then you can work out whenever you feel like!
Home making your own workout equipment will help you save money. Purchasing a home gym is scary for many. Countless attachments, cables, moving parts, options and sales pitches. All you actually need is 2 to 7 pieces of equipment to have a functional gym. You do not need any machines.
That’s right. You are not required to have any of those fancy, thousands of dollars worth machines to build a great body at home or lose weight. Home fitness is real and effective. Your whole family will be able to stay in shape together, with no expenses after the initial material costs.
Compare buying and renewing 5 gym memberships for years with a one-time purchase of a set of dumbbells and a few other, under 100$ pieces of equipment. Which would you prefer? Having home made workout equipment will save you a lot of everything while giving you benefits and flexibility.
Benefits of Home Made Workout Equipment
- You learn more about the equipment because you make it
- You gain functional strength
- You can repair anything that breaks
- It is as expensive as you make it
- It is as good as you make it
- You gain all of the benefits of working out at home
- You own the equipment
- You can always improve it
- You will spend less money on fitness
How much space is enough to build your boxing gym?
You want a space big enough to divide into two areas. One area is where you’re going to hang your bags and do heavy bag work. The other area is simply open space where you can move around to shadow box, jump rope, or do whatever type of strength, interval, or endurance training you’re working on.
If you want to replicate the type of space you’d find if you were standing inside a boxing ring, then your open space should be a minimum of 4.9m square to a maximum of 6.1m square (that’s a ring size of about 258-400 square feet).
Now I know that’s quite a bit of space and unless you live in a place where it’s warm every day of the year, you’re likely contemplating putting your gym in your garage or a basement. I know my garage can’t handle dimensions like that (and still have room for the car) and have a separate area to hang my bags so I’ve shrunk my open space area to something closer to about 20 square feet.
With a smaller space – you just envision yourself controlling the centre of the ring as you shadow box. You’ll still be able to practice all your movement, pivots and the like – you’ll just be limited in how far you can actually travel in one direction. You want to work a lot of angles and direction changes into your training anyway.
For the area where you’re going to hang your boxing bags – you want enough space ideally to hang both a heavy bag and a double end bag so you don’t have to interchange them when you want to use them. Each requires enough distance around them to ideally allow you to circle each bag 360 degrees.
If you’re looking at one bag – it’s an area of about 64 square feet (8ft x 8ft). Add another 4ft onto the width for a second hanging bag so about 12ft x 8ft = 96 square feet.
Combining your space requirements means you’re looking at a minimum area of about 84-116 square feet. That’s about as small as you want to go – but if you don’t have that much room – then you work with what you’ve got – don’t dismiss your home boxing gym – adapt and overcome.
How to Make a Heavy Bag Stand or Cage
I built the heavy bag stand that I use in my garage boxing gym. I wanted to avoid hanging a lot of weight from my roof (as I have two heavy bags and a double end bag) and also because I train early in the morning and my daughter sleeps right above the garage.
I initially did hang the heavy bag from the roof but the vibrations (even with a heavy bag spring) made it sound like the house was falling down. My daughter is 19 and didn’t appreciate waking up at 5:00 am with me.
So I had to find a solution that did not involve hanging the bags from the roof of the garage.
If you look around for a heavy bag stand – you’ll find a number of options and most of them do not allow 360 degree movement around them. The ones that do are basically cages but they’re massive and cost a fortune (thousands of dollars). I wasn’t interested in paying that much so it was time to improvise.
I couldn’t be happier with the result. I built it out of wood for about $150. It’s custom sized to the space I have available and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of two heavy bags (about 3-400lbs). I can use it as a chin-up bar, hang a TRX or other suspension trainer on it, and attach/detach a slip bag and double end bag, and probably other uses I haven’t thought of or needed yet.
All that for $150 and a weekend of work. Well worth it.
I recommend you read through the instructions here in their entirety before trying to build – you may see some things that you’d like to do differently or maybe assemble things in a slightly different sequence.
What You Need for Your Heavy Bag Stand (Cage)
The list of materials to build a heavy bag stand resembling mine consists of:
- 4 – 4 x 4 x 9 (I just got the cheapest stuff I could which happens to be pressure treated)
- 8-2x6x10 (Spruce – again cheapest I could get). Note that the picture only has seven – I had to go back and get one more…you need eight.
- 2-2x4x8 (gets cut up in 2ft sections to make the braces)
- 4-8″ lag bolts (you can actually use shorter ones – 6″ would work fine) with nuts and washers
- 4-6″ lag bolts with nuts/washers (only two in the picture, but I had to go back for two more)
- 4-angle brackets (about 3/4″ – 1″ wide is fine)
- box of 3 or 3.5″ wood screws
Assembling Your Heavy Bag Stand (Cage)
Keep in mind that I’m no engineer. I’m sure that if you have any carpentry or woodworking skills whatsoever you will be able to improve on my design. There is nothing complicated about this and it seems to be doing the trick for me. I did learn a thing or two about building it that I can pass on so you don’t make the same mistakes (like bracing the legs while it is laying down and not trying to do it by yourself as it is standing up…that was fun). So here we go:
1. Build your weight bearing beams. For this you use six of the 2 x 6 x 10s. You screw one to the other so you end up with three beams. You don’t need to cut them unless the space you have is less than the length of the boards -if so you’ll have to customize the size of your stand/cage.
By screwing the 2 x 6s together you significantly increase the amount of weight the boards can support. So lay one of the 2 x 6s on top of the other – line them up so they are square and then put some wood screws into them at an angle, alternating as shown in these pictures.
2. Build the Sides of Your Cage/Stand. You’re going to build two of these, so just repeat once you have one done.
a. Measure and Drill Holes for Assembly. The idea here is that you want to attach the beams to the 4 x 4s which are the legs of your stand and then brace them so it can hold everything up without moving too much. This stand is going to creak and groan and flex a little but it won’t fall down…
You’ll use the big ass lag bolts so you need to drill a hole the diameter of the lag bolt through both the 4 x 4 and the beam you just built.
Lay two 4 x 4s on the floor and put one of your beams on top of them to space them out and make your measurements. You need to come in from the end of the beam and 4 x 4 so when you drill everything lines up nice.
Measure in from the end of your beam the width of a 4×4 and divide by 2 so the hole will match up with centre of the 4×4.
Measure middle of your beam width.
Mark the hole where you’ll drill.
Now move on to one of the 4 x 4s. Measure down from the end half the width of your beam. Then mark the middle of the 4 x 4. That should be the spot where you drill and it will match up with the hold you put in your beam.
Hopefully the pictures make my explanation more clear…Once you have the holes marked – drill a hole the diameter of your lag bolts (I believe I used a 1/2″ wood drill bit).
The back cross brace
Now before you move onto assembling each side, you need to pre-drill a hole that will be used to attach the back cross brace which is a 2 x 6 brace that basically makes it possible to stand everything up. Decide which of the 4x4s is going to be the back of the cage – measure about 4ft up from the bottom (so when it stands up the brace is about 4ft off the floor and drill a hole front to back the same diameter as one of the 6″ lag bolts. Make sure you turned the 4×4 before drilling – the hole shouldn’t be on the same side as the holes you’ve already drilled. Repeat for the back leg on the other side assembly.
Now take your last 2 x 6 x 10 and drill holes in both ends just like you did for the beams so it’s ready to be attached to the back legs when you stand everything up.
b. Attach the Beam to Legs. Position the beam ON TOP of the legs, put a lag bolt in each hole and push it through until it hits the floor.
c. Attach the Braces. This deviates a bit from how I built mine but this should make standing the sides up and tightening everything down much easier. When you try and stand it up without the braces, the legs can swing in and out – makes for an interesting experience but not the safest setup. As such I don’t have any specific pictures of this stage of the build but you can understand how the braces work by looking at a picture where I have them on.
You make a brace out of the 2 x 4 by cutting a 2ft length and then cutting both ends at 45 degrees. Screw it to the beam and the leg which will prevent the leg from moving in or out.
Make two additional braces that will be attached to the back cross brace once you stand everything up. You won’t be able to attach these while the side assemblies are on the ground.
The back cross brace again…
3. Stand up the sides and Attach the Back Cross Brace. You’re going to need at least one and probably two people to help you with this. The way I did it (which is not how you should do it) required my whole family (three plus me) and I could have used one more. I’m pretty sure my wife still holds a grudge for that little episode.
Until you get the back cross brace with its braces attached and everything tightened down – the whole cage is very unstable so keep that in mind and be careful.
Don’t forget to push the lag bolts the rest of the way through on all the side assemblies and the cross brace, put on a washer and then tighten them as much as you can.
Attach the front cross brace
4. Attach the Front Cross Brace. With any luck you’re cage is now standing but it’s probably not all that stable.
You have the option of pre-drilling the holes for the front brace like you did the back brace while the sides are still on the floor, but you can also do it while it’s standing. I didn’t find it that difficult.
You attach the front cross brace the same as the back cross brace but you position it just under the top beams and you don’t put any 2 x 4 braces on it. You could and it would probably make it even more stable, but I chose not to so I had more room on the front of the cage.
Attaching the top beam
5. Attach the Top Beam. You’re almost there – now it’s time to add the most important beam – the top beam which is the one that your bags are going to hang off of.
It lays on top of the two side beams and is held in place by the angle brackets – two per end, one on each side of the beam.
Haul the beam up and position it on the two side beams. Centre it so a bit is hanging off each end (gives you another place to attach things if you like).
Once you have it positioned – mark it and then screw the angle brackets to the side beams. Put the top beam in place in between the angle brackets and then screw the angle brackets to the top beam. When done you have four angle brackets screwed to the side beam and top beam (two on each side assembly).
Guess what? You’re done. You have a fully functional homemade heavy bag stand/cage. Attach your bags in the usual way and punch away. You should probably tighten the nuts every now and again until you’re sure nothing is working itself loose anymore – but you should get years of enjoyment out of this thing. Hope you don’t have to move it…
I did toy with the idea of putting each leg into a cement filled bucket to keep them from moving around, but I haven’t had any problems. I’m sure it would add some stability to the entire thing, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary.
Your Home Made Heavy Bag Stand/Cage