Like similar clubs across the country, the Nevada Partners Boxing Gym in Las Vegas is jammed these days with novices looking for a hot workout trend. “They see ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘The Contender’ and they want the all-body fitness you can only get from boxing,” says Richard Steele, the fabled professional referee who manages the gym. But you don’t need a gym to get a boxing workout. If you have enough space in your garage for a heavy bag, you can get an at-home, calorie-melting workout that builds strength and coordination.
The big softy
TKO 502V: High-quality, heavy bag.
Likes: Seventy-five pound bag has a soft yet solid feel that retains its shape. Thick, burly vinyl cover. Tie-down strap with metal ring on the bottom gives you an option that is valuable for kickboxing. Presents a generous target at nearly 4 feet in height.
(866) 856-3448; www.tkogear.com
The right feel
Everlast Indoor/ Outdoor Series: A weatherproof, 70-pound bag you can hang off a backyard tree.
Likes: Convenience of optional outdoor use due to waterproof covering. Tough vinyl covering. Good punching feel.
Dislikes: At 2 1/2 feet in length, it is adequate for boxing but presents a small target for kickboxing. Lacks a tie-down strap.
Price: $99. (800) 777-0313; www.everlastboxing.com
Goes with you
Century Hydrocore: The heavy bag you fill with water.
Likes: Unlike others, very convenient to transport. You can adjust it from a maximum of 70 pounds to a kid-friendly 25 pounds. The large reservoir “bottle” in the center is easy to fill; just attach a hose. Has a fabric tie-down strip on the bottom. Decent punching feel.
Everlast Freestanding Heavy Bag: A bag that rests on the floor.
Likes: Ideal for people without sturdy rafters from which to hang a heavy bag. Adjustable-height (from 52 inches to 70 inches) makes it suitable for kids and adults. Base holds 24 gallons of water for stability. Spring action returns the bag to upright position.
Price: $160. (800) 777-0313; www.everlastboxing.com.
-- Roy M. Wallack