Sandbags are the dark horse of training kit. They’re under-used, unappreciated, and seem so unassuming. The truth is, sandbags are one bit of kit that can be utilised for every kind of training and any training goal.
Grab yourself a sandbag and get ready to have some fun.
How do you use a sandbag in training?
It’s probably easier to list the ways you wouldn’t use sandbags in training! Sandbags can be used for any loaded push, pull, press or squat movement. They are great for conditioning work. You can simply walk with them for a loaded carry. You can drag them and do loaded work with them. The only limit is your imagination.
Is sandbag training functional?
Training with a sandbag is the definition of functional training. They’re an “odd object”, which means they challenge your body to work harder as you stabilise yourself. They can be used for carries, drags, push/pull lifts, squats, and loading exercises. Sandbag training definitely prepares your body for real-life movement patterns.
How to get started with sandbag training
There’s a huge list of exercises you can do with a sandbag. But it all starts with lifting the thing. If you’ve worked with atlas stones, this bit will be familiar to you. Here’s how to get your sandbag moving safely.
1) Straddle the bag with feet wider than hip width 2) Squat down and get your hands underneath the bag with a good grip on the sides or handles 3) Lift the sandbag into your lap and sit back so you are cradling the bag to your stomach 4) Chest up and lats engaged as you get ready to stand up with the bag 5) Press through the hips as you stand up with the bag still cradled at your chest/stomach height (the more dynamic you make the movement, the more you can move the bag around) 5 big benefits of sandbag training
Working with a sandbag is great strength and conditioning work, but it’s also really applicable to everyday strength and stability. Sandbag training will teach your body to brace itself, get stable, and build strength through awkward movements. It even keeps your mind sharp as you have to think quickly under the dynamic load.
Core and trunk strength
Lifting and carrying sandbags will strengthen the core, trunk, and hips more than any solid odd object like atlas stones. This isn’t about aesthetics – core strength translates into power and training performance.
Sandbags are a weird shape and are packed with sand which shifts as you move. This dynamic resistance forces your body to think about how to move and stabilise itself as you work with the sandbag.
Did you know there are three types of grip strength (support grip – like pull ups – crush grip – like deadlifts – and pinch grip)? Sandbag training develops all three.
We’ll be honest, one of the best things about sandbags is that they’re so versatile. With one bit of kit you’ve got an entire strongman gym worth of stimulus. Sandbags don’t take up much space and can easily be packed away with the rest of your functional training kit.