Training for strength, speed, and conditioning has been overly complicated these days. However, the sandbag is a basic, fantastic, and inexpensive piece of equipment. Don’t be fooled by its low-tech appearance because it simply produces excellent results.
The sandbag is the most functional and versatile piece of exercise equipment on the market today. You can take it anywhere to train. For instance, you can take it to the park, use it to walk up steps, jog, and sprint with it, drag it, and throw it. The best thing about using the sandbag is that you can instantly switch exercises and planes of motion. For example, you can go from doing shouldered alternate lunges to overhead squats to deadlifts without stopping. You don’t need to change the weight in the bag. Just think and do it!
Let’s discuss the incredible benefits of sandbag training with one drawback that is not really a deal-breaker but can be for some.
The sandbag is rated average to good for strength training, but it’s excellent for strength and conditioning. I told you the drawback was not that bad. But if you are a strength enthusiast, you may be slightly jaded about the sandbag. There are other methods of strength training and equipment that work better. One reason the sandbag is not awesome for strength is that you can’t really load up the bag with sand like you can with dumbbells and barbells. So, you sacrifice doing low reps.
Sandbag training is highly versatile, and this is what makes the workout unique. The sandbag changes the dynamics of the movement and has so many variables you need to take advantage of and use.
1. Multi-Planar Movements
The great thing about using the sandbag is that you can train multi-planar movements. By placing the sandbag above your head, doing a bear hug, or placing it on one shoulder to do a squat or a lunge, you can work many planes of motion at once. The sandbag makes it easy to switch exercises and planes instantly or with minimal rest. If you want to train like a pro athlete, then you need to train all three planes of motion, making the sandbag perfect for doing it. You simply can’t train this way using barbells or dumbbells.
2. Core and Muscle Stability
Using the sandbag in many different positions will develop your core strength and stability as well as for your joints. You can put the sandbag in different positions that you simply cannot put a barbell, dumbbell, or even a plate. And so, by being able to maneuver the sandbag into these different awkward positions, they strengthen your core and stability more. Also, these awkward positions turn on and awaken your stabilizing muscles. By having stronger stabilizing muscles, you will improve your speed and explosiveness and prevent injuries.
3. Real-World Sports Training
One of the most incredible things about sandbag and sports training is that you can train sport-specific movements exactly. Again, using the sandbag gives you the versatility to be specific that you don’t have using a barbell. For example, you can do speed skaters and rotational movements with the sandbag. You can do them with a plate too, but the shift of the sandbag is greater when you rotate during the speed skater exercise. It is much more sports-specific. Using the sandbag makes it more challenging.
Another example is doing squat from the front load position. This is more applicable because your arms are up in front of you and not behind you doing a squat. Also, it’s difficult to put the barbell on your elbow joints to do squats, also known as Zercher squats. Using the sandbag in this position again turns on more stabilizers and your core. You can also hug the bag in the Zercher position, whereas, with the barbell, you can’t.
4. Grip Strength
There is one type of strength that the sandbag will produce-grip strength. You must change your grip when using a sandbag and its different positions—using barbells and dumbbells; you don’t. For example, when you grip the handles on the sandbag, they are not in a fixed position like a barbell. Or, when you grasp the canvas of the bag, it is really difficult and highly strengthens your grip. Developing grip strength will make your whole arm down to your core stronger. It is best for real-world strength and sports performance.
Sandbags are great because they don’t take up a lot of space, can be used anywhere, and perform many exercises. You can also be innovative with it as well. That’s why I love the sandbag because I can take it to places like the park, run hills with it, or throw it over my shoulders and walk-up steps. With the sandbag, you don’t need to figure out how to bring the gym with you.
If you are traveling to a beach destination on your vacation, need I say more.