Sandbags are a great way to strengthen your muscles and get fit. They have been used for centuries in various forms. However, they are not very effective when it comes to weightlifting or other exercises involving heavy weights. You need something else if you want to build muscle mass and improve your physique. That’s why most people don’t use them at all!
However, there are some people who do use sandbags and train with them regularly. These people usually make their living doing so.
There are many different types of sandbagging techniques out there and they vary from person to person. Some people just put a few pieces of wood around the outside of the bag while others cover it completely with dirt or even concrete.
What makes these methods more effective?
There are several reasons for this. First of all, the heavier the weight, the harder it is to move. So, using a sandbag will require much less effort than lifting a barbell or dumbbell. Also, sandbags tend to be lighter than other bags which means that they are easier to carry around and therefore more portable. Finally, sandbags can be made smaller without losing any of their effectiveness since they have such small openings (which allows air inside).
When people talk about sandbag training they are referring to the process of using these bags to train for higher impact exercises such as pushups, pull-ups, and squats. Nowadays, most people use sandbags mainly for this purpose and not much else.
There was a time when they were used for other things though such as combat techniques (e.g. throwing it at someone). However, these things are frowned upon nowadays since people tend to get injured more often when they do them as oppose to regular weightlifting techniques that are much safer.
As a whole, sandbags are great for building up strength and endurance. Even if you don’t plan on using them for your main exercises, it wouldn’t hurt to use them for support once in awhile.
You never know when they might come in handy. So, if you want to learn how to make your own sandbag then just follow the instructions below. It’s a very simple process that just about anyone can do.
Things That You’ll Need:
* Sand – Get it from an excavation site. Be careful not to get any rocks in it though.
This will damage the bag and make it less effective.
* Rope – This will be used for the handles on the bag.
* A Bag – This will be where you put the sand. You can use a backpack or any sort of bag for this.
* Water – This is optional but it will make your bag stronger and last longer.
* A Shovel – To fill up your bag with sand and to dig the sand out of wherever you got it from.
I. Making The Sandbag
The first part of this process involves making a bag out of something sturdy such as denim or canvas. After all, you can’t very well fill it with sand if it rips or tears after a few uses!
For this example, I’ll be using a denim bag since it’s one of the most common types that people use. First, you need to lay the bag in front of you and decide where you want the straps to be. Make sure that they’re even on both sides.
After laying it out, you’ll need a sewing machine (or a friend who knows how to sew) to sew up the bag and turn it into a carrying device. Once that’s finished, you need to get sand and fill it up completely.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be using a 10 lb. bag for this tutorial (but of course you can use whatever weight you want).
Once it’s filled, put the bag in front of you and decide where you want the straps to go. If you’re going to put them directly next to each other then place them about 1/3 and 2/3 of the length of the bag from the top.
If you’re going to space them out more then place them about 1/4 of the length of the bag from the top. Next, sew them onto the bag, making sure not to make it too tight or too lose. And that’s it! You’ve made a sandbag! You can now use it for whatever exercises you want. The final product should look something like this.
Note: If you want to make a much larger bag then you can always sew multiple bags together side-by-side. This way you can make really big sandbags or even little rafts for fun if you’re using them at a lake or something similar.
Now that you know how to make a sandbag, you need to learn how to use it since that’s the whole purpose of this tutorial. Fortunately, there are many different exercises that you can do so you’ll never get bored.
Plus, all you need to do them is yourself and a sandbag. Now let’s get started.
A. Sandbag Cleans
This is one of the most common exercises where you lift the bag from an almost seated position and pull it in between your legs as you stand up. From there you lift it up over your head.
It trains the upper body to a great degree and really every part of it except your legs which get some movement but not a lot. If you want more of a leg workout then you can do something similar to a squat while lifting the bag. Here’s a good video on the proper way to do these:
B. Sandbag Clean and Press
This works almost exactly like the sandbag clean except after you lift the bag up over your head, you drop it down in front of you and, using a bit of a squat, press it upwards until your arms are fully extended above your head. This trains almost exactly the same muscles but is something slightly different and will therefore provide a bit of variation.
Here’s a good video on the proper way to do these:
C. Sandbag Throws
This is more of an explosive movement than anything else. You pick up the bag from a semi-seated position and, using all the strength your legs can muster, throw it at whatever target you have.
This obviously trains your legs a lot and your core as well. Here’s a good video on the proper way to do these:
D. Sandbag Carries
This is my favorite exercise because it trains almost every muscle in your body. You pick up the bag from a semi-seated position and carry it around with you while you do other things.
I’ve seen some people recommend carrying it for 100 yards but I highly doubt you’d have the time to do that along with everything else so I’d say 25-50 yards is good and you can always shorten or lengthen that distance as you see fit. Also, contrary to popular belief, it’s not very heavy. When I first tried this I couldn’t quite lift the bag but after a few weeks of training my core it was very easy. The best part about this exercise is that it can be incorporated into almost any workout you’re already doing. You can pick it up and put it down or you can try to incorporate a walking motion while you lift it. Either way works. Here’s a video on the proper way to do these:
E. Sandbag Cleans and Presses
This is just like the sandbag clean and press except you’re picking the bag from the floor as opposed to a seated position. Obviously this is harder but it’s a good way of changing things up.
You can also do these without pressing the bag above your head, simply dropping it back down in front of you and then repeating. Here’s a video on the proper way to do these:
F. Sandbag Getups
This is the first exercise I would start with if you’re new to this type of training. All you do it pick the bag up from the floor and get into a seated position.
From there you stand up all while keeping the bag between your legs the entire time. It trains your legs and your core. Here’s a video on the proper way to do these:
G. Sandbag Swings
This is more of an explosive movement than the others. You simply swing the bag as hard as you can in an arc until your arms are fully extended.
With this one you want to make sure you’re not hitting anything (like a cement wall) and that you have enough space to fully extend your arms or you could hurt yourself. Also, be careful not to swing the bag with your arms entirely straight, this puts a lot of strain on your shoulders. Here’s a video on the proper way to do these:
H. Sandbag carries
This is just like the sandbag carries I described in exercise D except now you’re picking the bag up from a lying position rather than a semi-seated one. Obviously this is harder and if you struggle with the other one you’ll definitely struggle with this one.
If this is the case for you I’d recommend sticking with exercise D.
And there you have it, your very own homemade Strongman circuit. Some of these exercises you can mix and match to create different variations.
For instance, you can put away the Sandbag Getups and bring out the Sandbag Cleans and Presses for one session and then do the opposite for the next session. There’s a lot of variety here so you won’t get bored and if you actually own all of the equipment listed then you’re set with a home Strongman circuit. All you need now is some music, some water, and yourself.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Myths and Truths of Recovery Techniques by M Bracko – ptonthenet.com
The 8 Biggest Fitness Myths and Misconceptions by J Karp – ptonthenet.com
Misconceptions About Lactic Acid by J Mike – Training, 2014 – elitefts.com
Relevance of Flexibility Training in Fitness, Sports, and Occupational Settings by M Bracko – ptonthenet.com