Bob XL vs Heavy Bag: Which Is Better For MMA?

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If you’re looking to kit out your home gym, you’ve probably instinctively thought you’d need to get a heavy bag mounted against the wall.

But even professional fighters, like Sean O’Malley, use a Century Bob XL at home to train and keep themselves sharp.

You’re probably wondering whether this human-like Bob is better than the traditional heavy bag. In this article, I’ll help you decide which is better in the Century Bob XL vs heavy bag debate!

Need a quick answer? I’ll settle it for you:

The Bob XL is an ideal replacement for the heavy bag if you don’t have a sturdy wall for mounting, as the Bob XL stands freely unlike a heavy bag. The Bob is best for developing combinations and accuracy, whereas a heavy bag is better used for conditioning and movement.

The Bob XL was created by Century Martial Arts who have over 40 years of innovation in the freestanding punching bag space. Now let’s get into settling this debate!

Century Bob XL

★★★★★ 5/5

Century Bob XL
The improved Bob with extra lower abdominal and upper thigh surface for perfecting more strike variations.

If you just need more of Bob to work with, like groin strikes, or high leg kicks, then the Bob XL might be the guy for you.

Bob XL vs Heavy Bag: Is Bob better than a heavy bag?

A Bob punching bag isn’t better than a heavy bag but is more specialized for the different needs of the fighter. The Bob is perfect for combinations and perfecting your accuracy because it looks like an actual human opponent. A heavy bag is better for kicking and conditioning.

The Bob and the Bob XL are designed to withstand a lot of beatings. This human-faced bag can take a punch and the materials don’t wear down easily, which is a common result of regular heavy bag use. It feels exactly the same even if you strike the same spot hundreds of times over, it keeps its form and doesn’t become denser at the base like a heavy bag often does.

If you’re trying to improve your accuracy and combinations as a fighter, then a Bob is a great tool to use for that because you can develop your strikes with pinpoint accuracy. It’s hard to do that on a heavy bag unless you literally draw a face on it (not cool).

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A demonstration of punching a Century Bob

Having a Bob allows you to practice, with full force and full accuracy, a lot of the strikes you couldn’t otherwise. You can practice effective hooks, elbow strikes, and specifically aiming for the jawline or temple areas for maximum damage.

The Bob is also great for other defensive or aggressive martial arts that involve eye gauging, slaps, and throat strikes like some used in Kenpo Karate. These kinds of attacks simply can’t be practiced fully without something like a Bob that can keep on taking it.

The main negative about a Bob is that it probably isn’t the best tool for kicks and conditioning your kicks.

When the Bob is full of water or sand, it’s a more comfortable sponge-rubbery response each time you strike it, so it’s not going to actually help your shins get the conditioning they need to withstand nasty leg kicks or to deliver them yourself.

Fighter kicking a heavy bag for conditioning

A heavy bag has a firm material, usually made from leather which is tough. And as the filling inside the heavy bag becomes denser near the bottom, it makes it a good conditioning area for your shins.

So at the end of the day, it’s all about what you want a punching bag for. Neither of them is necessarily better than the other. A Bob is great for developing pinpoint accuracy and combinations.

A heavy bag is always a winner for leg kicks and conditioning, particularly as a leg kick is often a cutting-across motion that is almost always going to hit its target no matter how it moves whereas a punch needs to connect with exactly where it was intended to go.

What is the difference between Century Bob and Century Bob XL?

The main difference between the Bob and the Bob XL is that the XL version has an extended torso allowing for even more kinds of strikes in the lower abdomen and upper thigh areas. It allows for practicing groin strikes in self-defense martial arts and high leg kicks for MMA.

A collection of Century Bob punching bags

Bob basically got himself upgraded to an XL and was given a pair of shorts to go along with his torso. For some kinds of martial arts, that can be pretty useful.

There are also some improvements to the aesthetics of the design in the Bob XL, which make him look a bit more realistic and muscular.

Both the Bob and the Bob XL have a height adjustment allowing it to go from 60″ to 78″ (inches) tall.

Is Bob XL better than Bob?

Bob XL isn’t any better than the regular Bob. In function, they both have the same materials and features like being highly durable and height-adjustable. Bob XL just has more materials in the lower abdominal/upper thigh region, so the XL is only better by having more surface area to hit.

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A woman preparing to train on a Century Bob

The right Bob for you is probably dependent on the kinds of martial arts you practice. You might be able to save yourself some money by going for the regular Bob if you don’t plan to be practicing groin shots any time soon. If you’re an MMA fighter in training, then that certainly is the case.

You can check out the regular Bob below and decide for yourself if he swings your boat.

Century Bob

★★★★☆ 4/5

Century Bob
The ordinary Bob that became so famous, he’s just as willing as his older brother.

Original Bob could be a perfect fit for you if you simply don’t need the extra surface of the XL, and you can save a few bucks as well.

Are Bob punching bags realistic?

A Bob punching bag is only realistic in that it has the shape of another human to strike. Punching a Bob is the same feeling anywhere you hit it, so it isn’t comparable with a human opponent who has bones and muscles, which you can only really get from sparring.

By all means, use the Bob to improve your movement around a stationary opponent and improve your pin-point accuracy in your strikes. But when it comes down to learning how to actually fight another fighter then there is no comparison between a Bob and the real thing, or any kind of heavy or freestanding bag either.

If you want to get better at beating another human opponent, you really have to fight another human opponent!

How do I stop my Century Bob from moving?

To stop your Century Bob from moving around too much when hitting it, you need to make sure to fill it with kiln-dried sand. Kiln-dried sand is very dry and fine sand that fills up the Bob compactly whilst giving the right amount of weight to stop it from moving.

Most people will fill up their Bob with water because it’s usually the easiest and quickest solution to get using it. But if you take a little extra time to go down to your local builder’s shop or gardening center, you should be able to find sand (and ideally the kiln-dried kind) that will give it the best base and withstand heavy strikes without tipping over.

Can I leave Century Bob outside?

If you leave your Century Bob outside, it is going to wear down faster as it will suffer from the elements. If you fill your Bob with water, then you can leave the base outside and bring Bob’s body indoors with a quick twist and pull to remove it.

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Both Bob XL and regular Bob have the same base, which is circular for the purpose of being able to easily tip it over to one side and roll it to a new location. You don’t need to worry about lifting it every time you want to use it, so you can just fill it up once with water or sand and wheel around as you want.

There you have it, by now you should have a good idea to decide which is better in the Bob XL vs heavy bag debate. Take a look at the Bob XL on Century Martial Arts to check availability.

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