Sandbags have been used for many years in the training of athletes and wrestlers. Over the last few years the sandbags have been modified in design allowing for different sizes in sandbags and hence different weights to be used allowing more of the fitness population to work out with them. Originally it was more of filling a large sack or kitbag sealing the top and lifting, the weight could not be modified at all.
With the now holdall style sandbags many exercises can be accomplished and the weight changed relatively easily allowing for progression. There softer than metal so can be more for giving if you drop it but beware they will make you stronger. The sand moves as you lift the bag which is challenging, so each repetition can feel different to the last making the muscles of the body work hard to stabilise it.
They are a great tool for building functional fitness, working all, the core, back, arms and legs, or just add more weight to get stronger and to improve grip strength. As well as challenging your normal lifts such as cleans and presses, pulls, and squats, the rotational exercises add a another dimension into the training allowing different angles to be worked that are more difficult to do lifting metal weights.
In a class format both men and women can work out with the same exercise just modify the weight in the bag. At home they do not take up much room and switching weights can give you a great cardio – strength workout.
Would you want to change from barbell lifting to sandbag training, this depends on your outcomes; you will not be able to lift as much sand as you can a barbell and you will have to use lighter sandbags with the exercises that use movement. If you’re lifting heavy you’re going to be in one position, if you have a heavy sandbag your be lifting it from the floor a feat in itself, with barbells you can set up on a bench or squat stands You can increment barbells but you can’t with sandbags although you can add weight or take it away it is not so precise.
The sandbags are a great fitness tool to use, fun and challenging and may be the only tool you’ll ever need, but depending on your sport may not be the best option.
If you would like to learn more about sandbag training or courses then send us an email
Trevor Killick MSc CSCS.