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July 07, 2020 5 min read

Ever considered a sandbag as essential gym equipment? If you’ve been looking to amp up your training, incorporating sandbags into your fitness routine is key to developing overall strength. Referred to as a strongman sandbag, it has quite a reputation. 

Sandbags have been around for centuries and have been used for many years for military training exercises, as well as strongman competitions. However, they’ve evolved since those days into a variety of uses and exercises.

Sandbags have become a dynamic piece of equipment for athletes and disciplines worldwide.

Can you build muscle with sandbags? Absolutely. A sandbag targets the muscles differently than traditional training equipment like dumbbells or barbells. That’s due to the dynamic resistance that sandbags offer.

Sandbags are unlike most equipment because they aren’t predictable in the way they hold their weight during a workout, therefore requiring more control (more on this in the benefits section). 

 

If you're thinking of adding sandbags to your strength training, you’ll find a full overview on sandbags, including who can use sandbags, sandbag benefits, recommended sandbag workouts, and choosing the right sandbag material.

Sandbag exercises for strength

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Who Can Perform Sandbag Exercises?

Let’s set the record by saying that there are many different types of weighted bags and different uses for them. In this post, we’re talking about strongman sandbags used for training, not for home improvement or flood protection.

Now you might be asking "who can use strongman sandbags?". The answer is: anyone who’s looking to build strength and power.


No matter if you’re an avid Strongman competitor, a CrossFit athlete, weightlifter, or a fitness enthusiast, sandbags are great challenge for all training types. You can use sandbags to simulate stone lifts, carries, presses, and 
perform cleans

Sandbags are a great piece of 'equipment' because they're versatile and can be put to use no matter your fitness goal. For example, if you’re looking to build strength, use them for squats and deadlifts.

If you’re more into conditioning, you can use a sandbag as an alternative to kettlebells or barbells to burn calories and lose fat. 

The Benefits of Using Strongman Sandbags

A big reason why people love using sandbags is because of their ability to be used for almost any type of exercise. As we mentioned, they can be an alternative to standard equipment such as dumbbells or other free weights.

That’s especially important if you’re limited on your resources or if you’re doing your workout at home. Check out some of the top benefits of using sandbags for fitness training.

1) Sandbags Improve Stability

As we mentioned earlier, sandbags are somewhat unpredictable, but that’s a good thing. The sand within the sandbag tends to shift as you move through your workout, therefore forcing you to focus on weight stabilization of the sandbag.

As you progress with your use of sandbags, they help develop strength and power, similar to using a stability ball. 

2) Performing Sandbag Training Anywhere

What’s really cool about using sandbags is that they’re portable and fit into almost any compact space. If you’re working out from home or a garage gym, sandbags are great to have around. You can also take sandbags on the road with you. Simply dump out the sand and replace it upon arrival at the new destination. 

3) Sandbags Training Improves Performance

An obvious, yet underrated fact about sandbag training is that it’s hard! But if you’re looking for a great way to increase strength and conditioning, then using a fitness sandbag is key.

If you’re someone who’s pretty active and want to improve your performance with unique drills like load carries, sprints, drags and throws, then sandbag training is definitely worth it. 

strength training with sandbags


The Best Sandbag Workouts 

Alright, now it’s time to get to business and actually start using heavy duty sandbags. But where do you start? What are the best sandbag workouts? As we mentioned before, sandbags are versatile and can be used for almost any workout. Whether it’s squats, deadlifts, or press-ups, the options are endless. 

Here are some of our top sandbag workouts that build muscle and burn fat using lower and upper body muscles: 

1) Sandbag Squat Thrust 
  • Start by picking up the sandbag and holding it in front of your chest 
  • Squat down as if you’re about to sit, holding the sandbag in front 
  • After a brief pause, stand upright and press the bag over your head
  • Finally, stay standing and pause, then sink back down into a squat

2) Sandbag Shoulder Throw
  • Grab the sandbag off the floor and into your arms (like a hug)
  • Next, get into a squat position with a firm grip on the sandbag
  • Make sure to keep your back neutral and core tight
  • Lift the bag up with you as you stand up and throw it over one shoulder 
  • Repeat this throwing process with the bag over the other shoulder

3) Sandbag Press-Out Lunge
  • Grab the sandbag off the floor and hold it across your chest (like a hug)
  • While standing, step out to your right side with your right leg 
  • Keep good form by maintaining 90 degrees on your left knee/leg 
  • Pause and press the bag out and in front of you and back to your chest
  • Push up through your heels to stand up to repeat the process with the other leg

4) Sandbag Russian Twist
  • Note: be sure to test out the weight of the sandbag before starting  
  • Start in the same position you’d be in as if performing a sit-up
  • Grab the sandbag off the floor and hold it across your abdomen
  • Make sure to keep your feet off the floor and your core tight
  • Next, with the sandbag in hand twist from one side to the other 

Choosing Sandbag Weight and Material

Sandbags come in a variety of styles and options. Some fitness sandbags come with handles, while others are designed without a handle (strongman) to give you a bigger challenge. You’ll want to choose a sandbag that fits your fitness goals and training objectives.

What kind of sandbag is best? Some of the things to look for in any sandbag is based on quality. The best fitness sandbag has a tight seal to avoid sand leaks or dust particles.

Also, a strong zipper (that’s covered and won’t get in the way) and material like nylon are essential for longevity and durability of any fitness sandbag. It's also important to choose a sandbag based on your training goals. Pick a weight that will challenge you. 

How much weight should you start out with? It’s a great question and is one of the most frequently asked specifications from people that have never used a training sandbag. That also depends on your fitness level, so pick a sandbag that can grow with you.

For example, investing in a sandbag capable of holding 100 pounds can be optimal because you can limit the amount of sand (up to 100 pounds) as you develop strength. 

Gymreapers sandbag size options
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Experiencing the Difference

We’ve covered a lot of information that is useful to anyone looking to implement sandbag training. In this article, you’ve discovered a full overview of sandbags, including who can use sandbags, some of the sandbag benefits, recommended sandbag workouts, and how to choose the right sandbag material. 

If you’re looking for a heavy duty sandbag to help you reach your fitness goals, mix up your routine, or simply a new challenge, Gymreapers offers premium strongman sandbags that are ideal for the gym, beach, boxes, garage gyms, and any functional training location. Shop sizes and options today.


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