Sandbags of varying resistance are growing in popularity in gyms as a refreshing type of weight training equipment in conjunction with standard dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells.
The portable typically log-shaped bags with handles are great for pulling, pushing, core and lower-body movements and are available online or at fitness equipment stores, and utilized in commercial gyms, sports performance facilities, and school weight rooms.
This article provides several sports performance-enhancing full-body indoor or outdoor sandbag exercises for improving endurance, power, size, core strength and agility.
- One moderately heavy (70-80% RM) sandbag
- Water bottle
- Exercise mat (optional)
- Timer (optional)
- Perform an upper- and lower-body dynamic warm-up (e.g., Arm Circles/Lunges.)
- Finish with cool-down upper- and lower-body static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
- Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
- Do the exercises on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
- Sets/Reps: 3x10 (certain exercises are also timed movements without reps).
- Rest: 30-60 seconds between sets; 60 seconds between each exercise.
- Per workout, choose five of the following exercises in any sequence.
Grasp one of the sandbag handles with your right hand at your side and walk approximately 10-15 yards. Put it down and immediately pick it up with your left hand and walk back to start position for building core, grip and forearm strength.
Squat and Overhead Press Combo
Hold the sandbag handles in front of your shoulders. Lower slowly into a squat position, pause one second, and explosively rise and press overhead to develop lower- and upper-body size and power.
Lateral, Forward and Backward Jumps
Place the sandbag on the floor. Line up alongside it with your hands held overhead. Keep your eyes on the bag to avoid tripping while doing in succession 10 quick Lateral Jumps, 10 Forward Jumps and 10 Backward Jumps. Advanced version: Do as many multidirectional jumps as possible in a fixed time period (e.g., 30, 45, or 60-90 seconds) furthering both agility and endurance.
Use the bag handles for the Cleans using similar pulling technique when using a barbell for boosting upper and lower body size and power.
Sit on the ground or on a mat with your legs slightly bent and your arms wrapped under the bag at waist level. Slowly extend the bag out, pull slowly to start position and pause one second squeezing your shoulder blades together targeting your back, shoulders and biceps.
Carrying the weighted bag for these outdoor uphill Sprints simultaneously challenges your lower- and upper-body endurance. With your arms wrapped around the bag at chest level, sprint as fast as possible to the top of the hill, walk down, rest and repeat.
Supine Chest Presses
Lie on your back with the knees bent and your feet on the ground. Hold the bag handles with your arms extended over your chest and slowly lower, pause one second at the bottom and explosively press up for 10 chest, shoulder and arm-pumping reps.
Side Lunge and Upright Row Combo
Holding the handles at waist level, simultaneously pull the bag to your chest while laterally lunging right. Return to start position and do four more reps. Without rest, do five left side Lunges with Upright Rows for 10 total Lunges/Upright Rows—another upper- and lower-body size and strength-building combination.
Feet-Elevated Prone, Side and Supine Planks
Rest on your forearms in a prone position with your feet atop the bag and hold for 30 seconds. Immediately rotate to your left side for 30 seconds, then 30 seconds on your right side, and finish resting on your forearms from a supine position for 30 seconds. Keep your stomach tight and back straight during each Plank position to optimize core strength.
Hold the bag overhead and do 10 Squats with your left foot airborne, then 10 reps with your right foot airborne to promote lower- and upper-body size, strength and balance.
Forward Lunge and Twist Combo
With your arms wrapped around the bag held vertically close to your chest, lunge forward with your left foot and simultaneously rotate left with the bag. Do four more reps and repeat without rest lunging forward with your right foot and twisting right five times for 10 total Lunges/Twists for an excellent lower body and core-strengthening combo.
Feet-Elevated Explosive Push-Ups
Assume a Push-Up position with your feet atop the bag. Lower slowly and rapidly press up with your hands airborne. Do nine more reps of this intensified upper-body power-building movement.
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