AQUA TRAINING BAG REVIEW
First of all, unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, I am sure you have heard of the Aqua Training Bag (also known as Aqua Punching Bag or Aqua Boxing Bag). These training bags filled with water and covered with a vinyl skin are now one of the most popular additions to commercial studios or home gyms globally. The main concepts promoted which are encouraging people to switch from the more traditional fabric/sand filled bags, are that the aqua bag offers less joint pain on impact, has more positive resistance, increases users ability to box over longer periods of time and is easier to set up/install. You can find out more about the Aqua bag range and purchase one direct by clicking on the image below.
I got my hands on the 21 inch Aqua Training Bag (in bad boy blue) a few months ago to try out after kindly being sent one for free by Aqua Training Bag to test out for the Warrior Collective. This size bag is currently their largest heavy bag, weighing in at around 190 pounds when filled. Dimensions are 31" X 19" X 11" and when unfilled weighs approx 15 pounds. Although hanging kits are sold separately i.e. bracket etc, it does come packaged with all you need to fill/attach (shackle, hose-filling nozzle and extra stopper). It also has a 2 year warranty as standard.
Setting it up
Given the weight of this bag, you will really need to ensure you have a solid fixing to hang it from. I put it up in my studio from an RSJ steel beam with a thick chain. It is simple enough to fill if you have a tap that you can connect a hose to within easy distance of where you want to hang it. If not, then just like me you will have the added fun of filling it elsewhere and then transporting it back to where it is supposed to go up (a 2 - 3 man job to then carry and attach).
First impressions when it is up are fantastic, it genuinely looks like a well made, amazing piece of kit. It is kind of like a magnet. Everyone that sees it up will feel a genuine pull to walk over to it and give it a punch, it is that inviting. It also constantly takes people by surprise as to just how hard it is. Even though I only have this one up, I can imagine that a whole room of these being up in a commercial gym would look phenomenal!
Training on the Aqua Training Bag
Okay, so now onto the fun part! How is it to use? Well, having used it now regularly for a number of months, I can tell you that I genuinely love it, albeit with a few certain restrictions! I like to mix up all my striking when doing bag work i.e. elbows, boxing, knees, clinch and kicks, which leads me to my first points with the Aqua Training Bag. It feels like it was made for Boxing! Which of course I know it was but my view here is that you will not find a more enjoyable piece of equipment to punch. It genuinely does do what it says on the tin, the water inside allows for a much more positive resistance feedback when boxing, which in turn mimics more effectively the impact as it would be when actually sparring/fighting.
Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the other limbs. The combination of water and vinyl skin means that the Aqua Training Bag is not the most pleasant thing to hit without padding (as you naturally have in the form of your gloves when punching). Elbows and knees are not too bad to hit the Aqua Training Bag with due to their durability, lack of nerve endings and smaller surface areas of contact, although you will still want to ensure you are accurate with your shots. Kicks however are this bag's achilles heel. The very nature of kicking means that you are hitting with the larger sections of your leg/foot i.e. shin, instep, heel etc. This then results in some kicks (especially roundhouse kick variations) feeling horrible when impacting on the bag. The resulting sting is not as a result of the heaviness of the bag so much as the way the surface/water wraps around your limb when impacting heavily into it.
Aqua Training Bag Tutorials
All is not lost though, I found a work around to get over this issue in the form of wearing the shin/instep protectors that I would normally have on for sparring/give and take drills, when training on the Aqua Training Bag. I actually found this made kicking the bag with roundhouse kicks a much more pleasant and enjoyable experience. It obviously did not improve the use of certain techniques i.e. side kick, front kick/teep etc but given that these are smaller surface areas of contact when striking, it was not as big an issue regardless. Watch below as I go over this concept in two tutorials I made using the Aqua Training Bag specifically addressing Kickboxing applications!
Any other things to consider? Well, yes, there are a couple! The shape of this bag (and most of the range) is spherical. This again is another reason to push it further into the realm of being a bag predominately for Boxing. There is a reason traditional bags for Muay Thai/Kickboxing are straight as this tends to work better for kicks and knees. The cost! This version of the Aqua Training bag retails at £179.99 in the UK. That puts it firmly in the upper echelon of bags where from a price point of view it is competing with the likes of Fairtex, Venum and Lonsdale. There are cheaper products on the market (think RDX, Maxx) and there are more expensive (Cleto Reyes, I am looking at you) so in my opinion this sits quite happily within this range.
- Design - Looks amazing and is a well constructed piece of equipment
- Easy Set up - It could not be simpler if you have a hose point near to where you are putting it up
- Heavy - The water makes this a legitimately heavy bag, ideal for working on power
- Boxing - You are going to love punching this bag, the cushioning provided by the water does make this a joy to work on in this manner
- Niche - There is no getting away from it, this bag is best utilised for boxing and is not quite as awesome when striking with other limbs
- Cost - There are cheaper bags on the market that are arguably better for all round bag work i.e. punching and kicking
- Weight - You will need a strong wall/fixing to ensure this stays up
Would I recommend this bag? Yes, irrevocably and unequivocally so!! I find that all bags were made with some particular use in mind, traditional bags were pitched mid point so that they could be used happily by everyone without being truly spectacular at anyone thing, small maize bags were made to improve head movement when boxing, pole fixed bags were made for hitting with every limb without the need to time the return of the bag and so on and so on...
You have to ask yourself, what do I want from my bag? If you want it for using at home and are predominately boxing orientated, this is going to be your best friend! If you only have space for one bag and like to kick a lot, then this might not be the the one to go for. However, if like me you have room for multiple bags (or simply don't mind putting them up and down when not in use), you NEED an Aqua Training Bag in your life! A joy to work on and a piece of equipment you will go back to time and time again!
Design - 9/10
Quality to Cost Ratio - 8/10
Durability - 10/10
Ease of Set Up - 8/10 (would be 10 if not for the fact the hose needs to be within reach of fixing)
Use Boxing - 9/10
Use all Striking - 7/10 (solely on the fact that it does not lend itself ideally to elbows, knees and kicks)
Overall - 9/10 (a phenomenal piece of kit!!)
For any further information on this product or to pick up an Aqua Training Bag at a great price, visit www.aquatrainingbag.eu!
If you enjoy this article then you may well love 10 of the Best UK MMA Gyms you should be visiting in 2019 or 10 of the Best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms you should visit in 2018 as already featured on this site.
Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed reading this review on the Aqua Training Bag, please like, share and don't forget to subscribe to the Warrior Collective Youtube Channel for great training videos each week!!
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