TopTen is known to provide some of the highest quality boxing gloves and headgears to competitive fighting sports. The brand has expanded to deliver a wide scope of goods for practitioners and commercial gyms. Today, I am going to talk about my experience with TopTen punching bags.
A good friend of mine who was a professional fighter in kickboxing and MMA opened a gym in Germany in 2008. The gym is open every day for group classes and individual training and bags are used pretty heavily. It is one of those hardcore gyms where people sweat a lot and train until they are totally exhausted. Most of them want to be fighters. Very little emphasis is made on beauty and maintenance. Things are tested under duress and with brute force. Nobody cleans or maintains gear unless repair is needed in light of immediate breakdown. A lot of equipment has been purchased and broken down within a few hours of training, rendered useless despite high price tags, brand name or spiffy designs. You’d be surprised how quickly things break when put under real stress.
There were two things that survived 15 years of use in the gym: the tatami and the Top Ten heavy bags.
The gym has two different bag sizes, one item with 150 cm height for boxing and 3 items with 180 cm height for kickboxing that look similar to banana bags, but with better dexterity and a completely even surface. The outside skin is made from Vinyl that is manufactured in Italy, a country well known and respected for its top design making and craftsmanship. It is pretty hard and heavy, literally. The effect of its hardness results in less swinging and churning which has a lot of advantages in limited space. At first I hated the hardness of the bags. It took a bit of the fun on hitting the bag and observing its swings. I improved my bandages and wore 16 oz gloves instead of lighter competition gloves to get though a longer punching workout of 10 rounds per day. It took a while to get used to the hardness of the bags and I started to appreciate their inertness. They patiently hung while being punched and kicked at without much movement. This is actually of advantage because it allows to fire techniques without waiting for the bag to bounce back into reach after a heavy blow. It’s great for firing combinations at any speed while changing angles and training footwork. However, getting used to the hardness takes time and really good gloves with strong padding.
When we used them bags for the first couple of weeks there were some complications with the suspension. The iron chain and the straps were holding up fine, but the swivel linking the long steel chain from the ceiling to the 4 chains holding the bag were breaking down due to the high weight (60 Kilos per bag or about 150 lbs). We replaced them with stronger swivels bought from a home building and construction store. This stuff is cheap and easy to replace and everybody is well adviced to do the same.
Fast forward: After 15 years of daily heavy use and almost zero maintenance the Top Ten heavy bags are still in use and serving the members in boxing and kickboxing classes. 3 of the 4 bags show only little wear along the seams. The surface material is splitting off, but the structure is still performing like new. One bag had a horizontal crack that was repaired with duct tape which holds up amazingly well (but kinda looks ugly). I believe this happened because some of the members kick the bag while wearing shoes.
Considering the price of just about 180 bucks paid for a fully filled heavy bag that lasted for 15 years, it breaks down to an investment of 12$ per year and bag. On a monthly base this means a cost of 1 US$ per bag. That is an amazing number in terms of accounting. Is there any other piece of equipment in your gym that costs only a Dollar per month? And while it is certainly good for commercial use in gyms it is probably also good for home use as long as you have a way to mount the bag to your ceiling or wall.
My friend’s gym had a lot of other heavybags installed. With the exception of one Throwdown wrecking bag they all tore or broke at some point and had to be taken out of commission.
At the time of publishing this review, Fighters Inc, the official TopTen supplier for the US and Canada does not have those bags available due to the high cost of shipping. However, they plan on stocking up once inflationary cargo fees normalize.