BOB, that is, the body opponent bag, appeared when classic bags for boxing already existed. It is not just a free-standing punching bag but a mannequin-shaped one made of rubber that fully imitates the torso and the head of a very severe robust fellow – and everyone just fell in love with this almost live opponent. Does he not look like your "favourite" boss, on whom you can let off steam after a hard working day?
There was also an even more feature-rich Slam man. This was a real robot for training with all kinds of flashing lights and whistles built into it for training your reflexes and reaction. Moreover, several programs for training had been programmed in it. But despite its robotic features, Slam man turned out to be uncompetitive. The high price and low quality of its assembly discouraged users. Nowadays, you won’t find Slam man anywhere, in contrast to BOB, which is still available.
But the price of $369 is way above one’s budget. Not everyone can afford it. So, what should you do? Should you give up on your dream? We decided to find out whether it is worth the money or not, and if we can find a decent alternative to it. We carried out an investigation and you can decide in the end, whether you need a BOB or an alternative in the form of a classic bag or a free-standing punch bag.
Why is Punching dummy BOB so popular?
The body opponent bag or simply BOB is perhaps the most promoted alternative to a free-standing punch bag. Those who wish to join martial arts or simply get a bag or a pear ball to let off steam ask themselves very often the following questions: "Is it worth spending $369 on a rubber opponent? Does it really help during training?" Answers vary: some say, "Yes, BOB will turn you into a champion" and others suggest spending the money on a trainer.
Let’s see once again what is so special about BOB:
- The design imitates the human body and allows even the neophyte who got a training manual from the Internet to try to learn how to throw a perfect jab or a low kick. The keyword here is "try."
- In the XL version, "shorts" have been added to the torso, which allow you to work out kicks with your legs and knees. The price has been increased too and in the vast Internet network, hard-headed users found a life hack that suggests wrapping a mat around the base of a cheaper version of Bob in order to get a similar model with a mat instead of shorts because it is still possible to work out kicks on the legs.
Those were probably all cool features. If we discard advertising and beautiful promises, we should then talk about the cons.
- BOB, despite its harsh look, is a real sissy. The rubber coating is quite strong but you can damage it easily. People who are familiar with small gyms remember the bags wrapped with tape, in which holes and cracks appeared after thousands of punches. Bob can get similar damage, for example, from punches with nun chucks. The rubber companion will not recover from such a turn of fate and simple tape will not help him here. But if you train in gloves, you have nothing to worry about. The main thing is not to believe a word of the following expression: "A universal punch bag is for any punch".
- Despite Bob’s loud resistance and strength, it is not suitable for power punches. For working on your technique, precision and speed, it is absolutely suitable, but the mannequin begins to rattle and crawl on the floor from strong punches. And a professional athlete will not be able to carry out strength training with Bob. Why? Just look at how Bob flew away from a pair of slaps performed by Mayweather. Floyd played in the middleweight and featherweight categories, so you can imagine what will happen to poor Bob from ten heavyweight punches. Moreover, many users highlight Bob's tendency to fall: «I very much prefer a heavy bag. One of the BOBs at our gym that has a flaw that makes it fall over very easily so we practice stopping it from falling with» — says a user from Texas under the nickname Miss_Parker.
- Bob does not literally stand still. Even after having filled up 100 kg of sand in the base you will be faced with constant bouncing on the floor. And the heavier it is, the louder its noise will be. By the way, there is no single punch bag or dummy in the market, which don’t move at all. That is why saying that Bob is the perfect companion for any punching power training is an exaggeration. It is suitable for working on punching technique when a fighter invests minimum force and concentrates on the definition of movements.
What punches is Bob most suitable for and can it be replaced with a punching bag? The opinions of athletes and fans
People who are not so familiar with martial arts, when seeing BOB’s complexion immediately say something like: "This is better than a bag of sand because it feels like training with a live person", and turn out to be wrong. The first thing that a experienced fighter will tell you is that any mannequin, pear ball or bag will never replace exercises under the guidance of a coach. Even Slam man could tell you where and when to throw a punch thanks to its winking indicators, and Bob will never turn an inexperienced rookie into a super fighter without the help of a coach. And you can safely put an equal sign between the other free-standing punching bags and Bob. The shape is similar (though without a body relief), disadvantages are almost the same, and most importantly – the purpose is absolutely the same.
So, what about the practicality of a free-standing bag based on the example of popular Bob in comparison with the classic hanging punch bag? «BOB is good for practising palm strikes, knifehand strikes, heel strikes etc,. Light punching is ok too but it really can't be used for kicks. If I had to choose between the two, I'd always go for the heavy bag.» — says Kevin, the administrator of one of the forums on martial artists. A similar view is shared by dozens of other athletes. And here we get closer to the first clue to the question "What is better?" For comprehensive and effective training, according to some athletes, it is better to have a heavy punch bag that will help you to work on power punches even if you are the lucky one who got his own Bob: «I'd go with Bob probably just because it's more fun to kick. Heavy bags are good for boxing and simulating someone coming towards you while Bob is just made to beat on. Two different products really. One doesn't replace the other».
Some people get Bob for working on self-defence techniques, which is seen as an art for some coaches. One of them is Sammy Franco, the author of dozens of books on modern self-defence and well-known for one of the most systematic training. According to Franco, Bob is ideal for: widowmaker razing techniques, first strike scenarios, choking techniques, stick fighting training, ground fighting endurance work, spectator intervention training, edged weapon target orientation, target specificity training. But the master of modern street fighting believes Bob to be ineffective for working on hard punches: «However, when it comes to developing true punching power, the BOB is a poor choice. For example, the head of the body opponent bag is simply too flimsy and cannot withstand the impact of heavy duty power punches.»
So, is it possible to replace BOB with a punching bag?
Based on the foregoing, we can make quite a logical conclusion: yes, Bob can be easily replaced with any free-standing bag. You will still be able to work on the technique with it, but it gives in to the hanging heavy punching bag in terms of working on power punches, as well as Bob. If you plan to work out every single day and seriously, it is highly recommended to get a heavy bag even you have the most expensive model of Bob.
Are you getting a dummy for fun and to let off steam and not for the championship belt? If you don’t care about spending $369, you can safely buy Bob as it will give you a lot more fun than a regular punch bag. Here is the paradox – you are overpaying, who to work out some super exclusive choking technique on, if not on the rubber mannequins? But the range of such positive aspects is so small that you do not want to pay more, and that is why we have found alternatives.
Top three alternatives to BOB
As you understand, Bob is not universal, especially when it comes to comprehensive training on a serious level. Therefore, in order to work on different techniques, different equipment is needed.
- Are you looking for a sustainable dummy to work on power punches? – Get a heavy punching bag.
- Do you need to develop precision, technicality and coherence? – Choose among the free-standing punchbags. For ideal training, you will need to have several bags and pear balls, but this is just an option if you are going to the gym. For working out at home, you can decide between getting a heavy or a free-standing punching bag.
We chose three Bob alternatives that will help you to work on various techniques. Even if you buy all three, it will be cheaper than buying a rubber opponent. But the main thing is not the number but the desire: the well-known Rocky Balboa did not train on pear balls but on frozen carcasses. Read, compare and choose!
A hanging heavy punching bag to work on power punches — Everlast 70-Pound MMA Heavy-Bag Kit
The classic bag with sand by the famous sporting goods manufacturer, Everlast. It is the bestseller in the Heavy punching bags category on Amazon.com. The advantage of this choice for the beginner is a pair of gloves and bandages is included in the kit. This way you get a starter kit to the world of heavy sport. The bag is made from a solid fibrous coating that prevents all kinds of cracks, which eventually form on synthetics with a glossy finish. Here is the main disadvantage – working out without gloves is not recommended because the surface is too rough. A heavy punchbag is called that way as it is supposed to be universal to work on any power punches, both with the hands and feet. Yes, while working with it, there is no speed reaction training as with the bouncing bags, but it was made for completely different purposes.
Remember, that in contrast to the free-standing equipment, this bag tends to swing and some of the techniques cannot be worked on it. Despite this, the model is ideal for rookie-fighters and for those who want to let off steam under the guidance of a coach to avoid injuries. But don’t forget that for a 70-pound bag, you still need to find a comfortable place that gives a margin for your manoeuvres.
Price: from ~$71.00 Check the current price
The best free-standing punching bag to work on the technique, precision and speed — Everlast PowerCore Freestanding Heavy Bag
Another bag by Everlast that is also the best of its kind. The model is a free-standing one, suitable for almost all the same exercises that you can work out with Bob. The only disadvantage is the lack of the body relief, which means that working on special techniques aimed at specific parts of the body (such as the shoulders or the head) will be uncomfortable. It has a classic structure – a bag that is mounted in a hollow base from the inside and that increases in height from 52" to 65". The base should be filled with sand or water for stability.
Does this model give in to Bob? Power punches turn out to be more real with this bag but it also bounces because of the punches, so in this type of training, such equipment still gives in to the hanging one. Releasing stress and threshing the bag for fun is also possible but developing a professional technique without assistance and other specialised devices will be problematic. This model is ideal to work on punching techniques and cardio workouts, both for rookies and skilful fighters. Working on leg kicks is a contentious issue. The main thing is, as in other cases, not to invest so much strength in the punch focusing on the technique.
Price: ~$99.99 Check the current price
Inflatable free-standing punching bag to work on the technique and precision — Pure Boxing Inflatable Free-Standing MMA Training/Punching Bag with Bounce-Back Base
This is the bounce back punching bag of 64" height, which allows you to train reflexes and work on punches that are not possible to be performed with many hanging bags including Bob. Its main feature is the principle of a "swinging doll". If you want to, you can bring down a hail with powerful punches and hold the inflatable pear ball in a horizontal position. As soon as you stop, the bag will get into the starting position without your help. The pear ball is the easiest one and is even suitable for children.
There are two types of training with it – with a weighted base and with an empty one. In the first case, it will be more difficult to lay the equipment on the ground, and in the second one, it will be easier; this option more suitable for children. You can pretend to be Bruce Lee and beat it with your hands, feet, head, run and jump over it knocking it down to the ground: if you do it with a bag of sand or with Bob, such feints will not work at all. One more thing – be careful when filling the bag with water or sand as many complain about the rather problematic process of pouring. On the equipment’s surface, there are scattered points for attacks that allow you to stick to the technique, withstanding punches of a certain strength and height.
That thing is highly specialised and will not replace a full bag, but together with a heavy punch bag, it can be a good alternative to Bob.
Price: ~$22.17 Check the current price
To make it easy to compare, we created a short table where you can compare the punching bags that are mentioned above.
Punching Dummies and Punching Bags Comparison Chart
|Model||What kind of trainings is it suitable for?||Type of equipment||Pros.||Cons.||Price|
Century Body Opponent Bag (BOB)
|Technique, precision, speed, self-defence and special techniques||Freestanding punching dummy||Unique style, convenience for certain types of training||High price, lack of universality|
|Everlast 70-Pound MMA Heavy-Bag Kit||Work on power punches||Heavy punch bag||High quality of materials, gloves included||Inconvenience for some type of trainings|
|Everlast PowerCore Freestanding Heavy Bag||Technique, precision, speed||Freestanding punch bag||High assembly quality, security||Inconvenience for some type of trainings|
Pure Boxing Inflatable Free-Standing MMA Training/
Punching Bag with Bounce-Back Base
|Technique, precision||Bounce back punching bag||Low price, compact size||Narrow focused, lightweight|
BOB is really interesting. Even the most ascetic specialists who prefer a minimum set of devices for training do not deny the advantages of its design. Are you ready to pay a high price and add Bob to your sports equipment? Feel free to do so! If you are just starting your fighting career, you should get an ordinary punching bag first – martial arts legends started theirs with it. And, of course, remember that to learn the subtleties of a fight, you will need a good coach and not a rubber mannequin.
We often use dummies to practice boxing, usually just a training bag with sand hanging on a rope. But it is not always convenient and safe. They are good for training your punches, but you would need an instructor that will aid you to train effectively and not just continuously punch in one place. If you think that you do not need an instructor, or just do not want to pay for his services - then a boxing dummy can be a useful purchase.
The most popular items if this category for boxers of a beginner or intermediate level are Century Bob Body Opponent Training Bag and Slam Man Training System. SlamMan was a sales' leader for a very long time on Amazon.com: people loved him for his training programs, a pair of boxing gloves, training video and feeding program for athletes. But unfortunately SlamMan has been discontinued and now it is not available for sale. As you know, the holy place is never empty, so SlamMan is replaced by exactly the same boxing robot but with a different name – Pure Boxing The Man Punching Bag.
It looks like the SlamMan' twin. It's characteristics are identical to the old SlamMan. And since there is no other Punching Bag with sensors in the market, we will call a new analogue - "SlamMan".
We have compared the Century Bob and the SlamMan System in our Product Review based on amazon customers reviews. First, let’s know what technical characteristics have been announced by the manufactures of both items:
Century Body Opponent Bag (BOB)
- Adjustable height
- One Year Warranty
- Low profile base fills with sand or water; unit weighs approximately 270 pounds when filled
- Seven height adjustments
- Made in the USA
P.S. This model doesn’t turn around its base.
SlamMan Boxing Dummy
- Life-size aerobic boxing machine that combines best qualities of speed bag and heavy bag
- 8 illuminated LED targets tell you where to punch; 3 skill levels with 5 programs each
- Base and torso are made of reinforced, blow-molded polyethylene for maximum durability
- Molded foam striking surface offers 100 percent memory retention; 3 adjustable heights
- Includes pair of 12-ounce boxing gloves, instructional video, and low-fat meal plan
Let’s consider the details:
Origin of training box
Century Bob Body: The manufacturer points out that the item has been produced in America.
Slam Man: We could hardly find out that these simulators were manufactured in Taiwan.
The boxing robot material and its filling
Century Bob Body: The base of a bob boxing dummy is made up of plastic, while the head and the torso form a sturdy rubber construction: «Rubber is soft enough for gloveless punishment but it would probably be better on the wrists to get some extra padding». Customers have also noted that the material is rather resistant to blows. Some people use also nunchuks without injuring. Of course, you are not supposed to pierce the simulator by any sharp objects.
You may fill it with sand or water, the wet sand is better as the base becomes more stable. By the way, if you injure Bob Body Opponent accidentally and cause leak, you will be able to prevent the flood in home.
Slam Man: This robot can also be filled with sand and water. Customers have told about the quality of Slam man punchbag with regret. The black parts of the robot are made up of rigid plastic what impacts the hits negatively: “The hard plastic is NOT ACCEPTABLE for a martial arts/fitness/ training equipment”. The blue parts are also not very pliable as compared with Bob, and a foam face part may be injured for a quite short period of robot using.
What does the set include?
Century Bob Body: Bob is supplied with the instructions for use only.
Slam Man: The manufacturer does not say anything about it.
Height adjustment of dummy for boxing
Century Bob Body: 6 levels of height from 60 to 78 inches are available.
Slam Man: Only 3 regimes of height adjustment – 64, 68, and 72 inches- are available.
Century Bob Body: no
Slam Man: The chief advantage of this boxing target dummy consists in the fact that, unlike Century Bob bag, it is not simply a dummy, but a real dummy train boxing which includes 15 training programs. Special mounted LED-lights light up in turn and allow you to train target hits, attention and concentration. At first, you will be offered to choose a training level: beginner, intermediate or professional. Basing on this, you may also use 5 mounted workout programs. There is also a regime of workout randomized choosing.
Both items: Customers have told about the increased level of noise when using such simulators. Despite their large weight, the punchbags slide during a workout and vibrate when moving aside and returning back (Slam man doesn’t come back at hit) – generally, users believe that it is better to train in a large vacant room (you are lucky if you live in your own house) or when the neighbors are friendly and don’t react to the noise.
Century Bob Body: Now you can buy Bob at Amazon.com for ~$269.99. Also, a renewed model is available – Century Bob XL with Base Unit for ~$369.99. This one includes 2 sets of bolts instead of a one set in the previous model. According to the words of customers, it is made still better and is capable of turning around its base.
Slam Man: It costs ~$315.99 on Amazon.com.
So, we have regarded the main technical features of the units, now it's time to know what amazon customers think about these boxing dummies:
Century Body Opponent Bag (BOB)
- The optimal size of this punchbag:
“The upper section is the human form (without arms) and is fairly realistic in size and mass of an adult male”
- An excellent means to reduce tension.
As one of the customers has said: “Have anger issues? Get BOB. Have anxiety? Get BOB. Feeling destructive? Get BOB...”. He has also noted that the device has helped him to fall asleep and feel better as well as restrain himself.
- Bob can be useful not only for boxers: many people who are looking for a kickboxing bag or a simulator to train karate hits, often prefer this very product.
1. Customers have told that Bob requires to be dealt with as carefully as possible. Round nuts attaching the base to the body can become loose if using improperly.
2. Yes, workouts with Bob turn into more noisy activity.
Tips about using of Century Bob Train Bag:
1. “For you to fill the simulator with sand easier, the funnel made up of thick paper should be used. By the way, you will need about 200 lb of sand”.
2. “I would not recommend to use Century bob in training facilities with lots of visitors as it will quickly become unfit. Though, it suits for personal use ideally”.
3. “For Bob to slide less on the floor, you may use a rough small carpet.”
4. “You may work with Bob Body Opponent even using nunchuks or a wooden sword, in which case you only need not to apply too much forceю Otherwise you risk to injure this dummy. And don’t use sharp objects, have pity for Bob!”
By the way, speaking about boxing gloves, some customers recommend to use them not to injure hands, it is true especially for beginners, while other customers are against this precaution. That is what they say: “Remember that if you are attacked on the streets, you will not have gloves to protect your hands”. You can also read all customers reviews about the Century Bob Box.
SlamMan Aerobic Boxing Training System
- To work out with such robot is a great pleasure:
“You get a great workout that is also fun and very challenging”.
“I would recommend it to anyone looking for a way to get stress out. and its fun and healthy” .
- The dummy stands a hit well and doesn’t pay back – it is an advantage for some people, while for those who are looking for a sparring partner – it is not.
1. As you have already known, it really makes noise. As a result, many people are quickly bored with it.
2. The size and location of led-lights are not good enough – customers have noted that they would buy it again only in case of the re-design of the product:
“The three lights on the face seem almost ridiculous in terms of hitting with your left and right because your glove is so big it covers his whole face, therefore hitting all three at once”.
3. Also, some customers have found out the led-lights to be useless since they don’t measure the hit strength.
1. “I also put and old sparing helmet on it's head and I have viciously attacked this slamman for the last year with explosive workouts”.
2. “Slam man was made from rigid plastic, you’d better use boxing gloves”. Read all helpful customers reviews on Amazon.com
It is you who choose the best product! We hope that our Products Review will be useful for you. Good luck and sports victories!