If you’re ready to add a challenge to your workouts, or you simply want to spice things up a bit, then sandbag training is a great way to do just that. Yes, sandbags. Sandbags have been used in strength training for hundreds of years (maybe even thousands: think Roman gladiators), but today they have been all but forgotten. Which is a shame, since sandbag training is awesome! Lucky for us then, that the awesomeness that is sandbag training is making a bold return into the mainstream.
Why Sandbag Training Is Awesome
Even though you probably aren’t training to become a gladiator or gladiatrix, you’ll still be able to benefit from sandbag training. Here’s why you want to add it into your workouts:
Works stabilizing muscles
Not only do you hit the main muscles involved in the exercise, but due to the shifting nature of the sand, it causes you to work many stabilizing muscles as well. Sandbags could be thought of as the most uncooperative piece of equipment you’ll encounter because of this mercurial nature, but that’s what makes them so good to train. After a session, you’ll feel aches and pains in muscles you didn’t even know you had.
Works entire trunk
With sandbags, you don’t just work your core, but your entire trunk – front and back. Again, this is mainly due to the shifting movement of the sand as you’re performing the exercises. You can also perform a number of rotational exercises which target the deep muscles of your core very effectively.
Allows progressive overload
The key to getting results with your workouts is progressive overload (consistently adding weight). Sandbags facillitate this very easily. All you do is add more sand the moment the exercise becomes easy; you can even load and unload your sandbag during your workouts if you fill it with individually packed bags.
Not only can you perform practically every dumbbell / barbell exercise with a sandbag, but it also opens up a whole world of sandbag-specific training for you. For example, sandbag burpees or hill sprints carrying a sandbag – the possibilities are endless.
You can pick up a sandbag for under $5, then you simply need to fill it with sand and you’re done. Of course, you can pick up more fancy sandbags for a lot more, and they’ll probably be more durable and have better grips etc. The point is, it’s up to you how little you want to spend: for $5 you could pretty much have everything you need for your own low-cost home gym.
Of course it’s fun, it’s like training with a giant bean bag! Seriously though, it’s challenging, introduces you to a range of new exercises and gives you great results. So if you want to add a little spice to your workouts, then try it out!
Trains functional strength
We know, we know: functional strength, the new buzzword. You already know that functional strength is more about the type of training you do rather than the equipment you use, but having said that: it’s hard not to train for functional strength when using a sandbag. You’ll more likely need to shift a sandbag-like object in your day to day life (i.e. uncooperative, odd-shaped and heavy) than a dumbbell / barbell (apart from at the gym).
And that’s why sandbag training is awesome, but that doesn’t mean you need to ditch the gym. You could add sandbag training as a supplement to your existing training, maybe one or two times a week. Or, if you don’t already do any resistance training, and want an inexpensive and effective way to get started, then you could aim for 4 – 5 sandbag workouts per week.
Make Your Own Sandbag
So we already talked about how you can get a fancy from places like Amazon:
But what about if you want to go for a nothing fancy, low-tech option? Glad you asked, because it’s simple and inexpensive. Pretty much all you need is: a bag, sand, duct tape and zip ties.
Rather than recreate the awesome work, other people have already done, we’re going to point you to some great tutorials which show you everything you need to know:
Talk about simple, that’s all there is to it! So now, even if you’re not a member of a gym, or if you travel a lot, you can make yourself one of these and get an awesome full-body workout. No gym, no equipment, no excuses!
Sandbag Exercise Videos
Okay, so now that you’ve got yourself a nice, heavy sandbag, let’s move on to the workouts and exercises. Remember, because the sandbag is so versatile, you can do pretty much every exercise with it that you could do with dumbbells or barbells; however, the sandbag really shines with the exercises which are unique to it. We’re talking about exercises with involve: hugging, shouldering, carrying, dragging and throwing.
Let’s take a look some of the exercises you can do:
Those are just a few of the many, many challenging exercises you can do with a sandbag. Putting some of those together, here’s an awesome workout you can do:
What do you think of sandbag training? Let us know in the comment section below!