This is my first guest post and its by Matthew Palfrey of Sandbag Fitness, a great blog devoted to training with sandbags.
The Benefits of Sandbag Training.
By Matthew Palfrey of
I spend lots of time working directly with athletes and Iʼm always trying to figure out ways to make my coaching more efficient and more effective. This process means I’ve spent a good portion of my career trialling and testing various different training methods and modalities. I didn’t actually start working seriously with sandbags until I found I was unable to get to the gym and started training from my garage. I quickly realised that the sandbag was going to become a staple in my training programme.
What’s So Good About A Bag Of Sand?
This is a common response from individuals who haven’t tried training with the sandbag. But it’s a interesting question and it raises the point that the sandbag is essentially a free weight like many others. This is a very important point, and one that needs to be stressed. Any external load can be used as an implement to improve your strength and conditioning - barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and sandbags can all be classed in this way. While each has itʼs own particular benefits, there is no magic at work here - we still need to apply the principles of any good free weight training programme: progressive overload through a high intensity programme.
The Particular Benefits Of The Sandbag
The sandbag is an awkward, odd shaped object to lift. With a constantly-shifting load youʼll struggle to “get into the groove” with many of the exercises. While many see this as a disadvantage, it is actually one of the key benefits of sandbag training. It makes sandbag training more akin to real world applications. Chances are that when you actually need to lift something in daily life it will be a pain in the ass - it will be unbalanced and there probably wonʼt be a nice handle to grab onto. Sandbag training replicates this perfectly and prepares your body for real life.
For the same reason, I love to use the sandbag with athletes. It is an especially great tool for those who train for contact sports. The sandbag can be effectively used to simulate an opponent in various carrying, lifting and throwing drills.
Grip training is another aspect of modern exercise that is typically left out. Trying to control the sandbag while lifting it will challenge your grip like nothing else - reducing the need for lots of additional grip training.
Types of Sandbag
There are essentially two different types of sandbag - homemade or custom-made. Youʼll get all the benefits of sandbag training with both options but the custom-made sandbags will typically be more versatile and hardwearing.
Editors note - For a homemade sandbag you can see my post here.
For custom-made sandbags I can whole heartedly recommend Brute Force Sandbags. They come with 3 filler bag inserts that allow for the quick and easy change of the weight of your sandbag. Plus, with 8 different handles, youʼll be able to perform a variety of exercises that just arenʼt possible with a homemade bag.
For weekly workouts, the free 68 page Sandbag Fitness Training Manual and how-to
videos please check out Sandbag Fitness.