Monday, 6 June 2011

Homemade Bulgarian training bags

From the top down, 10Kg, 15Kg and 20Kg.
I’m always keen to try new homemade training equipment and I first saw these on marksdailyapple, in his post on low tech primal tools for primal living with this link on how to make one.

A homemade Bulgarian training bag is just a tire inner tube filled with sand and the ends made into handles. These bags have 100’s of uses and can be used similarly to a mace, sandbag, kettlebell or tornado ball for strength and conditioning. The bags are great for wrestlers, MMA fighters and of course the average back yard primal exerciser.  Throw them over the shoulders for a weighted hike or to increase weight on things like push-ups, swing it over head like a tornado ball for rotational strength and all kinds of lifts and squats. If you’re low on imagination on what to do with it do a YouTube search, there are loads of good video, some with 40 or more different exercises. 

The bags were made popular by a Bulgarian wrestling coach in the US for training wrestlers and were inspired by the old Bulgarian strongman methods of training, including carrying goats on the shoulders. He chose them as a training tool that would allow his wrestlers to improve explosive actions and dynamic movements involved in pushing, twisting, swinging, pulling, bending, rotating, squatting, lunging, and throwing (natural method anyone?).

These kinds of bags can be bought, but they carry a heavy price tag of around the $150-$250 mark. I made three for a total of NZ$30 (Two bags of sand, duct tape and zip ties). I even had sand left over for a medicine ball.

I went down to the local tyre shop and picked up a few old tubes (13-15 inches) from their bin and bought 2 bags of sand for NZ$6 each. Note – if you’re getting used tubes check for holes first, it they are near the valve that fine, you can cut them out, but if their opposite the valve get it. I also got some zip tires (cable ties) and duct tape from Mitre10 Mega (our version of home depo) for NZ$20.

The first step is to cut the bag to size. The best way to do this is to cut out a 100mm (4 inch) section including the valve. (You could cut away a 300mm (12 inch) section if you’re making a lighter bag.)
Then take one end in your hand, however large you want your handle and put a zip tie around it, do it up tight. You can duct tape it up now if you like or leave it until the end.
Take a small shovel (cup or your hands) and fill the bag with sand. Best thing to do is weigh it as you go, pick it up swing it around and decide on the weight before you close it up. I eventually made 3 bags, a 10kg (22lb), 15kg (33lb) and a fat 20kg (44lb). They are cheap enough to make extra ones if you’re not happy about the weight.
 When you’re happy with the weight tie up the end, tape up the handles and start swinging. You’ll be done making your Bulgarian training bag in 15 minutes.


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