Benefits of a Boxing Speedball Workout for Training and General Exercise

The speedball, also known as the speed bag, is one of the most iconic pieces of equipment in boxing. Who hasn’t seen footage of one of the greats of boxing such as Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard striking rhythmically against a speedball? The following guide will cover the benefits of a boxing speedball workout, how it will impact on skills required for boxing, and also the general upsides to exercise and fitness.


The boxing speedball is a small punch bag that is attached on a swivel hook underneath a flat board at eye level. The aim is to strike the bag, allow it to bounce on the board and hit it again as it returns from the impact. Typically, it will bounce 3 times before being struck again, away from you, towards you, away from you and then you strike again. However, there are many variations to speedball routines and techniques.

Take a look at this great video with demonstration for beginners.


The following are the benefits of a boxing speedball workout broken down into each separate component:


Hand speed

This may seem obvious! The speedball is probably the best piece of equipment for improving you hand speed.

It does this by working on the next three sets of benefits that we are listing below, hand eye coordination, reflexes/reaction time and rhythm/timing.

In addition to these, the fibres in your muscles will adapt to the stimulation of repetitive fast hand movements and fast twitch fibres will further develop to meet the increased need.

Speedball Hand Speed


Hand eye coordination

You need exceptional hand eye coordination to be able to master the speedball. In fact, there is no other piece of boxing equipment like it for developing this skill.

The striking surface is very small. As you progress through tougher drills and become more expert in using the speedball then the size of the ball you use will reduce. The speed at which the ball rebounds back from the board will become incredibly fast as you gain experience.

Striking a small area quickly over many repetitions will push your hand eye coordination to new levels. It is driven by the connection between your eyes visualising a moving object and your hands making accurate contact with it.

Improving this skill will enable you to throw more accurate punches at greater speed. It will also help you to evade or block punches thrown by an opponent.


Reflexes and Reaction time

It is not possible to land a 100% perfect punch on the speedball every time. This means that each rebound will come back at a slightly different direction. A little to the right, or to the left, a touch too slow or too fast.

Adapting to these small variations takes great reflexes so that you can make the slight physical adjustments to make optimal contact.

Recognising these adjustments are required takes good reaction time. Seeing what is required and being able to process that information quickly enough to react.

Improving reflexes and reaction time will benefit you in both being able to throw a punch that lands on a moving target (opponent) and to get out of the way of punches thrown at you.


Rhythm and timing

When punching a speedball, you are aiming to maintain constant and continually flowing arm movements. Not only that, you also need to use equal speed and force to maintain rhythm.

A large part of this comes down to timing strikes correctly. Without timing, it is difficult to maintain constant tension on muscles. With good timing, you maximise the benefits you have with speed and hand eye coordination.

Therefore, mastering the rhythm and timing of speedball drills leads to benefits across a number of the other skill sets.


Punch accuracy

It doesn’t take a lot of working out to realise that hitting a moving target is tougher than hitting a stationary one. In the ring your opponent will not stand still like a heavy bag and let you hit them!

The best way to improve accuracy is to hit a moving target, which is exactly what a speedball is.

Punch accuracy is really the coming together of a number of the attributes discussed above, timing, reflexes and hand eye coordination.


Shoulder and arm strength and endurance

Holding your arms and hands up and continuously throwing punches for an extended period of time creates great tension on your muscles. This leads to gains in strength and endurance in your arm and shoulder muscles.

Aim to recreate the conditions of a boxing match and use the speedbag bag continuously for 3 minutes at a time with 1 minute rest periods in between. This is will be hard to start with and will produce a burning sensation in the muscles. However over time you should be able to build up to 6 sets in each work out.

The muscles involved will end up becoming incredibly toned and they will learn to work together in great harmony.

Ultimately you will be able to generate greater speed from this group of muscles. This leads to increases in hand speed. You should also be more equipped to keep you hands raised into the later rounds of a fight. Giving you advantage over an opponent who has not trained this way.

The speedball develops upper body strength and endurance

Cardio workout

An extended work out on the speedball can provide similar benefits to High Intensity Interval Training.

If you are working at or very close to your max during a speedball routine, with intense sessions striking the bag very fast, your heart rate and breathing will increase. Once you are training regularly the sessions should get to 15 – 20 minutes of concentrated effort.

This will improve your cardiovascular system. With increases in your VO2 max, strengthening of your heart and efficiency in pumping blood and oxygen to your muscles.



Confidence is important in any sport. For new comers, the early stages of learning are when confidence will likely be at its lowest. This is confidence around others as well as confidence in carrying out activities and training.

Becoming competent using the speedball can be a great confidence builder. When others watch you strike the speedball with great rhythm and speed it gives you a great feeling. Where you may have felt a little daunted to train in front of others before, you will feel pride in showing off your ability on a technical piece of equipment.

This confidence will also translate itself to other areas of boxing training and into the ring for early sparring sessions.


Foot work and foot speed

Once you are competent in hitting a speedball from a stationary position the next progression is to add some footwork into the routine.

Boxing is not a stationary sport, you will need to be constantly on your toes and moving when in the ring. Adding footwork into your speedball training such as circling the bag as you strike it while still maintaining a rhythm helps you learn to coordinate foot and hand movements.

Getting your hands and feet working in unison is a vital skill to accomplish as this translates directly into the ring.


Low risk of injury

Compared to other forms of boxing training the speedball has very low risk of injury. The bag that you strike is very low weight so the bones in your hands and your joints will not have anywhere near the same impact stress of hitting other equipment such as heavy bags.


Practical for home use

It’s a very practical piece of boxing equipment for home use as it does not take up much space.

The bag itself is very small, and the platform that sits above it is at head height. You have the choice of attaching to a wall or a stand.

It’s easy to install and it is very light. Therefore you do not have to worry so much about the strength of the structure you attach it to. (As for example installing as heavy bag).


No barriers to entry

Boxing speedball equipment is very adaptable. It can be used by people of all shapes and sizes, levels of ability, age and gender.

Speedballs are for everyone


Final boxing speedball thoughts

Well if you are reading this you have made it to the end of this guide. Thanks for sticking with us. The speedball is an iconic piece of boxing equipment that is both practical for all levels of ability. As well as being suitable for use in the home or gym.

It builds physical strength and speed at the same time as developing key skills such as hand eye coordination and punch accuracy.

If you are just starting boxing training, or are looking to develop your existing boxing skills, the benefits of a boxing speedball workout will make a big difference.


Hopefully you found this article on the benefits of a boxing speedball workout useful. It aimed to help you understand how it will develop a range of boxing skills and attributes.

If is it was useful, it would be great if you could like or share so that more people can find and access it. Thanks!

Some more cool speedball videos


Mayweather going as fast as he can on the speed bag