I wanted to share with you one of my favourite and most versatile bits of equipment, the sandbag! It's easy to store away, you can take it with you anywhere you go,...(carry, or in the car depending how brave you are feeling) It can be used in so many ways and you can easily get a great full body workout in.
This one here is the Bulldog Gear Strongman Sandbag 2.0. I personally prefer this sandbag in my training, due to it being more awkward to pick up. This challenges grip, core and mobility differently to one with handles. Easy to manoeuvre doesn't always mean better. That being said, the sandbag with handles also has its place. It's easier to hold when running, you can hold it in the front rack position, grip it well for overhead movements, perform movements such as the bear complex and generally the easier grip means you can perform higher volume more efficiently.
Which ever bag you choose you are going to have an epic workout!
When choosing your sandbag, aim to pick something that in terms of load you can lift, press and pull. Unless you have skipped leg day your whole life then it's very likely your legs are stronger than your upper body. I would choose a bag I can press, or simply get more than one sandbag.
Here are 10 things you could use your sandbag 2.0 for in your training to work your whole body.
Squat Clean over the shoulder
Rock your hands underneath the bag until you get a good grip or until you bring the tips of your fingers close to each other. Drive your legs in to the ground as you pull the bag on top of your thighs. Knees can draw towards each other as you hug it in tight. You can sit in a low squat or where ever feels comfortable for your mobility. Rapidly extend your hips ( think about jumping) generating power, allowing you to throw the bag over the shoulder. Aim to alternate shoulders.
Power clean to the shoulder
Another great variation of clean, but this time there is no squat involved. Grip the bag either side keeping a neutral spine and active shoulders. Drive your legs allowing your hips and shoulders to rise together. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles, making the bag feel light and easy to bring to one shoulder. Aim to alternate shoulders performing this both sides.
Bent over row
Deadlift the sandbag first, gripping either side and standing up to full extension. From there, hinge at your hips as if you are taking the bag back to the floor whilst keeping a neutral spine. Row the bag in to your torso feeling the shoulders draw back and avoid hunching. Add a slight pause before lowering the bag back down again, and repeat.
Sitting down rock the bag in to your lap. Lie back in a supine position holding either side of the bag. Perform a hip thrust as you press the arms up holding the bag. Bring the bag back down to your torso aiming to keep your wrists above your elbows. Your back wont feel like its sinking flat on the floor, you should engage the backs of your shoulders, drawing them back as you support the bag above you.
Have some fun testing out your mobility by getting down and up with the bag. You don't have to perform this exactly as I am here. Test it out and try different variations that your mobility will allow. This is a bit of fun but also a great way to challenge your whole body in different ways.
Caterpillar roll out
This movement allows some push, pull and global tension using the core to stabilise the body as you move. The first option is from your knees which can be advanced to a standing position. Roll the bag out, tucking your bum under whilst drawing in your lower ribs and take the bag as far as way as you can control. From here bring one hand down and begin to roll/ pull the bag back in towards you before going again.
The conventional deadlift will strengthen the whole body, predominantly targeting the posterior chain. Ensure you can maintain a lumbar curve in your spine as you move. If your back rounds, or you struggle to reach the bag you can lift it off a platform such as a plate to start from a more manageable height for your mobility. We want to feel the hamstrings loading not all that weight hanging out in the lower back. Grip the bag on either side which will also work wonders for your grip strength.
Keep your arms straight and pull tension back against the bag. We want to create external rotation at the shoulder. To help this, turn the armpits of your elbows forwards and think about putting your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
Push the ground away with your legs allowing the hips and shoulders to rise at the same time. Engage your glutes and extend your hips, standing tall. On the way down, perform the reverse, but stay focused on feeling full body tension and maintaining that position in your spine. Keep the bag as close to your body as possible. Your head should remain in a neutral position so avoid cranking your head back. Your eyes can lift without your head lifting.
This variation of deadlift will target the hips, glutes and quads more than the conventional deadlift. Your hips will be lower and the torso will remain more upright. We want a wide stance with the toes turned out to around 45 degrees. Knees should track your toes, if they collapse inward as you lift you will probably find you have set up too wide. Pull your knees apart and starting from a lower position, push the floor away allowing hips and shoulders to rise together. Keep the hands inside the legs and the bag as close to your body as you can. Avoid lowering the bag on the floor out in front of you, think about taking it to the floor under you.
A cheeky way to challenge that end range position over head, improve shoulder stability, and tax the midline with an isometric hold. Clean the bag up and press, push press or jerk it overhead. Keep your arms extended and focus on pushing the bag up to the ceiling allowing your shoulder blades to elevate. Draw your lower ribs down making sure you don't arch your back. When you need to stop, simply drop the bag on the floor in front.
We can use the bag to squat in various ways, but for this variation I am holding the bag at my stomach. Clean the bag up and hold it tight to your body. Set your feet up just outside your hips. Lead back with your hips as you initiate your squat, bending the legs and aiming to keep the torso upright. Your torso will roughly be at the same angle as your shins. Your knees should track your toes and can travel forward. To stand up, think about leading up with your chest and stand to full extension.
Give this simple 10 minute workout a go :
5 Rounds - 30 sec work 30 sec rest:
1- Sandbag Squat
2- Sandbag Clean (any variation)
Record reps each round and aim to maintain or beat your score.
Or try this full body workout:
16 Minute Amrap - ( As many rounds as possible)
10 Floor press
30 Front squats
Have fun training and I would love to know if you found this useful. Please like and share it with anyone else it might help.