The Money Bag: Training with Tires


“The Best Punching Bag I’ve Ever Used”

The author with his home tire bag.


I’ve used many punching bags: Thai bags, teardrop bags, even those old-school Century dummies.

It wasn’t until a trip to Thailand that I got to sample the tire bag.

I was hooked. Like a vacationing foreigner on a ladyboy, I banged that thing to hell and back.

Once I got back to the States, I forgot all about it. I went back to my favorite teardrop at the gym and kept at training.

It wasn’t until I saw Buakaw ripping through a tire bag that old memories began to surface.




Look at that ferocity, that power, that speed… and the bag doesn’t give an inch. I knew I needed one of my own — a little piece of Thailand in my backyard.

Before the tire bag, I considered other options. Whatever bag I chose would have to hold its own against the elements. Just as pressing was the need for a super affordable option. Punching bags come in all dimensions, and prices range between $100-550 USD. But the cheapest ones (i.e. the ones I could afford at the time) lacked the durability of those on the higher end of the spectrum.

After doing a little research, I came to realize that the best punching bag money can buy would cost no more than twenty bucks and that it was none other than the tire bag. There’s a reason the Thais have been using it for decades. That rugged, recycled rubber is cheap, reliable and will condition you like no other punching bag you’ll find online.


Building the Money Bag

Since I was working with a tight budget, constructing a punching bag out of tires was ideal. All I needed to make this instrument was:

  • used tires (which I got for free from the local tire shop)
  • bolts, nuts & washers
  • a chain and a chain connector

These items cost me less than $20.00 at Home Depot. Putting it all together was easy:

Sure, it was dirt cheap, but for me, its durability was the big selling point. I needed something I could smash and leave outside without worrying about it succumbing to the elements.

Tires are weatherproof and they can absorb enormous abuse. I hit the bag at least three times a week and like my best opponent, it’s still swinging after every round. Talk about grit! That bag is indestructible.

Surprisingly, the best part about the tire bag is that it has conditioned my shins, hands, knees and elbows like no other equipment. Hitting the tire bag is real. I feel it every time.

It’s the closest thing I found to striking an actual person. Sometimes it feels visceral and real, like I’ve landed my instep right on an opponent’s neck; at other times, it feels like I’ve smashed my shin bone against an elbow.

Also, since I prefer MMA gloves, I immediately feel the pain when I don’t punch properly. This device has kept me honest. It has improved my technique by forcing me to hit it with control and precision.

Pound-for-pound, the tire bag — the money bag is the best bang for your buck on the market.

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Pierre Smith
Pierre started his journey in martial arts after witnessing Bruce Lee on the silver screen. He began training Tae Kwon Do, earning a brown belt by his 18th birthday. He took up Muay Thai in 2000, training under Kru Nestor Marte in New York City. Pierre eventually moved to South Florida and trained at American Top Team under Christian Toleque and the late Howard Davis Jr. Pierre finally made the leap to Bangkok in 2007, having about a dozen fights. Today, Pierre Smith teaches Muay Thai and strength and conditioning out of his home gym. He also has a podcast called Catching Wreck which is available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Google Play. Pierre can be reached at

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