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So, today’s question is: Can You Use a Tree as a Punching bag?

Are you stuck somewhere in the woods or in a place where you don’t have a punching bag at hand? And The fitness fanatic inside you is not letting you sit idle? Don’t you worry, mother nature has your back this time?

Just look for a tree around you to mimic your heavy bag and you are set to go.

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Using Trees as Punching Bags: Which One to Choose?

If you are going to train your fist or your forearms in nature, be mindful of the following things:

Picking the Tree that Doesn’t Hurt You

Picking a tree that is suitable for your type of training is the first and the foremost thing to do. You can’t just go around picking any tree. In this way, you might end up either hurting the tree or your hand.

We would recommend a eucalyptus tree for such workouts.

Amazon.com: Close-up of a rainbow eucalyptus tree bark, Oahu, Hawaii print picture photo photograph fine art: Handmade

  • It has a lot of smooth spots on the surface which does not harm your skin. It should not have pointy edges or thorns that can get in your padding and hurt you.
  • Punches blown on such surfaces slowly and consistently shock and train your bones, adopting the philosophy of slow and steady wins the race.
  • While using trees as punching bags you surely don’t want to cut your body open, you don’t wanna hurt the body, you wanna condition it.

You Don’t Wanna Hurt the Nature Either

You should never pick a young tree, pick the one that is strong enough to bear your blows, and don’t get destroyed at all, and you get hardcore traditional conditioning just as you want. Think about nature as your training partner that you want to grow with.


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How Martial Artists Use Trees for Punching

In a lot of kung fu and martial arts movies, there is always a martial artist or someone like a Shaolin Monk or somebody training against a tree.

Three Ways to Hit a Tree in Martial Arts 

  1. Heavy Hitting-by letting the hand sit on it and hit it by mass, this is what big dudes do. They have strong arms, so they hit with mass
  2. Snapping your punch and allowing all your energy to go into the opponent with acceleration. The speed will provide more momentum.
  3. Combination of both– have heavy hands with the snap. 

Exercises to Train your Fist

Take a strong combat stance, bend the knees, and keep your body in a very mobile athletic position as if you are about to fight. It’s better to have your one hand on the tree to absorb its strength and essence and the other to be focused on the smooth part of the tree. Divide your fist into two different parts, the first two knuckles, the middle, and the index finger. And the bottom two knuckles, ring and pinky finger. 

Now focus on the first two knuckles, move your hips and spine and as a unit, then punch using the hips and spine and punch with kinetic linking, linking my power from the ground up.

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Here is a video showing how this exercise is done. Then continue the same process with bottom knuckles. Do about ten repetitions on each pair of knuckles.

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Will Using Trees as Punching Bags Hurt Your Bones?

The answer to the question is: NO, If You Have Safety Gear

Improper and untrained punches can damage your hands. The extent of damage caused depends on your punching technique, the tree’s bark, and the intensity of your punch. 

1. Flexing Your Power won’t Do any Good Here

The harder your punch, the more impulse is transferred to it in return by the tree. This may injure your hand severely

2. Right time, right blow

You will have to be vigilant about the position of your hand as it lands on the tree. With a Wrongly positioned punch, you are likely to fracture a knuckle or two.

3. Right Type of Tree Surface 

Trees with soft spongy barks are likely to prevent you from injuries and trees with smooth barks will damage your skin. However, if it is a hard ridged bark, you might end up with serious bruises or bone injuries.

In the above video, the guy uses proper safety gear to punch the trees. This is the best way to protect your hands and get a grueling punching session.

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Use Trees for Punching: Tying a Punching Bag

You can also use trees as punching bag stands. Instead of using them directly for hitting with your knuckles, use a punching bag, a small one, and wrap it around the tree with a rope on both ends.

Similarly, you can use punching pads that we use in martial arts target practice to tie them around the trees and use them for punching.

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Should You Use Trees as Punching Bags?

The gist of the story, you can use trees as a substitute for punching bags when there is no other choice. However, it is not recommended for regular use or use by an untrained person. As the benefits of such a tough bone conditioning are not worth the risks of damage caused if you do it improperly.

Use Rope for Punching Trees

You can use a camping pad and rope to practice with trees. Tie the rope on the tree and use the camping pad for your punching practice. Or, you can use a cushion, and in some cases carton padding will also provide the same cushioning. Make sure that the tree bark is not web or else it will dilute the cushioning and make it less impacting.

When Not to Use Trees as Punching Bags

  • When they barks are wet and hard.
  • If you don’t have proper padding/gloves and safety gear
  • If you don’t have practice of how to punch properly
  • If you are not properly warmed up.

Please watch the video mentioned above to punch the trees in a proper fashion.

Note: Don’t punch a punching tree without adequate protection. You will need to have proper padding on your hands and at least 8oz gloves to help protect your bones. Otherwise, you can damage or disfigure your hand with excessive punching.

If you feel pain while punching the trees, stop! Don’t overdo your muscles because the damage to bone muscles can be damaging, especially if the bones are sensitive.


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