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Tendonitis and speed bag?

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  • Tendonitis and speed bag?

    I was just wondering about how much time to spend on the speedbag. Because it is a repititive motion, is there a risk of tendonitis? I usually work the bag for a few minutes longer once my triceps and shoulders begin to burn (after about 10 minutes). I figure after my muscles begin to burn, I am approaching a point of diminishing returns. So I stop for fear of waking up with tendonitis the next day. What do you all think?

  • #2
    Lately I've been working the bag for about 60 minutes at a time. Obviously, I don't punch non-stop and I'm not punching anywhere near "all out" speed, mostly trying to pick up new technique punching at quarter to half speed maybe. Having a variety of techniques helps to spread the load so to speak - i.e. elbows, FCP, FSP, downard elbows,etc. all help to keep any one part from taking too much of the force.

    Back in the day, all I knew was FCP , so I had recurring hand pain from doing nothing but circle punches.

    The only problems I've encountered from speed bag:

    1. Chafed knuckles / abrasions - punching bag with rough surface or seams w/o gloves or wraps
    2. Hand pain - punching over-inflated bag excessively - i.e. nothing but circle punch
    3. Left shoulder - When I had the bone spur in my left shoulder , it would ache anytime after 2 minutes of speedbag. That pain is mostly gone post surgery
    4. On occasion I've experienced minor pain in the right shoulder, I usually lay off the bag for 1-2 weeks and all is well

    I do extensive rotator cuff training 1-2 times per week to help avoid future injuries. I don't work the speed bag more than 5 days in a week.

    Lastly, I'm a big proponent for layoffs - i.e. stay off the bag completely for 2-3 months of the year. I do the same for weights, heavy bag and any other workouts I do.
    Last edited by Tim; 02-08-2008, 11:36 AM.

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    • #3
      I go from one bag or exercise to the next. I'll hit the big speed bag, wait about 15 seconds, hit another size bag about 5 minutes, do dips, pushups, curls, hit the small bag, double end bag, etc.

      Since I'm on the road every week, I'll usually hit 3 or 4 days in a row, then off the bags from traveling.

      Like Tim said, rest is very important. No sense in hurting yourself. When my right shoulder really feels strained, I let it rest until it is feeling strong again. Often, rest takes just as much discipline as exercise.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by riqal View Post
        I was just wondering about how much time to spend on the speedbag. Because it is a repititive motion, is there a risk of tendonitis? I usually work the bag for a few minutes longer once my triceps and shoulders begin to burn (after about 10 minutes). I figure after my muscles begin to burn, I am approaching a point of diminishing returns. So I stop for fear of waking up with tendonitis the next day. What do you all think?
        As a certified speed bag fanatic for a few years, I would say YES, there is a chance of repetitive injury and tendonitis, especially if it is overdone, and PARTICULARLY if you already have an acute joint injury.

        But the term "overdone" could be relative to the user. A beginner may generate more joint or muscle soreness than a more polished user. However, for some of us older folks with longer standing chronic, overuse injuries from other things - speed bag for longer workouts can cause some joint pain. Personally, I have had FIVE shoulder surgeries in the last 12 years, and have used the speed bag to help regain strength and function after each one, but I can't say that my own overuse didn't help cause the problems, or at least aggravate them. Particularly for shoulder impingment problems, because the "home" position that I use is with the elbows up almost parallel, which brings the shoulder joint directly into the "painful arc" zone and holds it there. I don't think that position itself causes impingment itself, but it will certainly aggravate it if you already have the problem. In that case, punch sparingly and protect the area by icing afterwards.

        For you, Riqal, I would say if you DO get a bit painful afterward, that may be your point of diminishing returns. As long as it's just a "lactic acid burn" in the muscle, but no joint or last pain afterward, then you are in the training zone, and not really causing injury to the tissues. For me, the Downward Elbows were my most problematic movement when my shoulders hurt. And for a few years I had a nagging left elbow tendonitis that the speed bag did not help. I finally had to take a long lay off to get over that one.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tim View Post

          1. Chafed knuckles / abrasions - punching bag with rough surface or seams w/o gloves or wraps
          2. Hand pain - punching over-inflated bag excessively - i.e. nothing but circle punch
          Except for the 8 x 5 bag, to me, there is a vast difference when hitting with the neoprene gloves and no gloves on the larger speed bags and both small and large double end bags.

          Why hit in pain when you can do it in comfort? If you have better control w/o the gloves, just learn to get the same control with the gloves, or just suffer some lack of control. I just don't think it is good for the hands to take a beating like that.

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          • #6
            one thing that can help is to stretch the shoulder after the
            speed bag workout.

            Grab a broomstick and hold it at either end resting on your legs ...

            now simply twist the stick so that one arm is forward and the
            other behind you and gently push with the arm in front of you
            in the rearward direction ... then switch ...

            if you look in a mirror it will be like you are trying to sheath
            a long sword ...

            what you want to avoid is having the front arm (the one gently
            pushing) travelling upward ... keep your shoulder and arm low
            so that the back arm (the one being stretched) is pushed upward
            so it stretches the shoulder joint.

            after you do that, you can raise the stick and bring it gently down
            behind your neck but do NOT let it touch your neck ... you may
            need to roll your hands forward to really stretch the shoulder.

            make sure you do these stretches VERY GENTLY ... but if you have
            shoulder problems, these are great stretches to open up the joint
            and give your shoulder better mobility.

            At no time should there be pain ...

            you may hear/feel some popping and even a little 'tearing'
            if there is scar tissue/adhesions ... but always, always, always
            do these gently and stop if there is discomfort/pain.

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