Exercise Gear for the Road: Sandbag Training

Staying on top of our fitness has been a bit of a struggle during our travels.  The first month we dropped into a few CrossFit boxes, but at $15-$20 each, those drop-ins we taking a toll on our budget.

In a previous post we told you about the BodyBoss System, which have used a few times. I (Megan) am sure if it was our only option we could adapt to using it, but we were hoping to replicate weightlifting type movements and workouts.  Certainly it would work well for a different type of athlete.

In March, we visited Hannah & Austin in South Carolina.  Austin uses a Brute Force Sandbag for weight training at home.  We tried his out a few times, then went ahead and ordered our own. We got it the first week of April, and I think the fact that we already ordered a second Brute Force Sandbag is a testament to how much we like it!

With a sandbag, we can replicate nearly every weightlifting movement, however it feels totally different from lifting a barbell.  The movement of the sand creates an unstable load, which can be much more challenging than a barbell.  I feel it forces me to focus more on technique; for example if I don’t focus on my snatch form, I often end up muscling up a snatch instead of dropping underneath and receiving the lift.  With the sandbag, muscling it up isn’t impossible, but it is much more difficult.  I really have to focus on keeping the bag tight to my body, fully extending my hips, and pulling the bag up, rather than muscling it up.

We first ordered the larger option, the Strongman sandbag, ranging 50-125 lbs.  Wow, it’s an asskicker! For heavy lifting it’s great, but for moves I need to go lighter on (thrusters, presses) the extra room in the bag makes it difficult for me to fully extend overhead.

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We decided to go ahead and order a second, the Athlete sandbag, which ranges from 25-75 pounds.  With this bag I am able to replicate most lifts, and for heavier stuff like deadlifts and squats I use the bigger bag.

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The sandbag also allows for great versatility of movements.   The bag can be carried on one or both shoulders, bear hugged, carried by the handles or between two people, drug, and more.  We’ve only just begun programming workouts using the sandbag, but here’s an example of one of the first we did:

20 Minute AMRAP
200 meter sprint
20 Straight-Leg Deadlifts
20 Mountain Climbers
20 Lateral Bag Hops
20 Kettlebell Cleans

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As we put the bags through the paces and program more workouts with them, we will be sure to post some of our favorite workouts and further reviews.  For now, this is the system that works best for us during our travels, and we think it would be a great addition to any gym!

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