3 Primary Benefits of Sandbag Training
Sandbag training is one of the most overlooked unconventional training modalities. Here are 3 reasons why you need to be using this great strength tool.
With the increased popularity of Unconventional Training, many fitness enthusiasts have taken different forms of training to become more engaged and diverse with their workouts.
I have had plenty of people come to my gym wanting to learn the benefits of sandbag training or how to perform unconventional exercises properly so they do not injure themselves or so they can add a new training modality to their everyday routine.
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One Unconventional Training modality that does not get as much attention as it should is Sandbag Training. When added to your program, sandbag training offers many great benefits with minimal risk to the user and therefore allow for potentially great results.
In this article I am going to show you the benefits of Sandbag Training and express some very compelling reasons as to why you might want to add this unconventional tool into your training regimen.
3 Primary Benefits of Sandbag Training:
Sandbag training has several benefits for the knowledgeable coach and the prepared athlete, which include:
- Easy and cost effective
- Challenge the stability of the user in ways traditional weight training typically does not
- Versatile and safe to use
Reason #1: Sandbag Training is Easy and Cost Effective
Sandbag training is pretty cheap in comparison to weights, dumbbells and kettlebells. You can construct a sandbag using a store bought shell from a training equipment manufacture like Onnit or you can be even more economical and go to your local Army surplus store and get a heavy duty duffle bag.
I found trash compactor bags make for a great inner lining; they are pretty sturdy and tend not to leak sand. Once you fill your compactor bag you can add one more liner over the top for extra strength and leaking protection; or even a traditional sandbag liner works well.
You can use some duct tape on the outside of the liners to further reinforce the liner bags for added strength. You can usually find sand for cheap at a hardware store or even get it free. My city has sandbag stations during the rain season where people can fill them up themselves.
Just don’t take it from your local playground; the kids would not appreciate that.
For more information on how to make a sandbag check out the video tutorial:
Reason #2: Sandbag Training Challenges Core Stability
One of the key features of sandbag training is the ability to challenge your core stability in many different ways which not only increases your strength and balance in many planes of movement but it can also increase you athletic performance.
You can take one exercise and simply change the orientation of the sandbag and it adds a whole new element of necessary stability to the exercises.
A sandbag squat can be done many different ways: traditionally with the weight on your back, front squat with the bag in the racked position, Zercher style holding it in the crux of your arms and unevenly with the weight resting on one shoulder.
All of these different positions will make the squat seem like a unique movement each time because of how you have to brace your core or tighten your upper back, glutes etc. to keep you from falling over.
The weight distribution of sandbags is unlike any other training tool further adding to the core stability challenge. Where the iron remains in a fixed place, it is not unlikely for the sand in the bag to shift on occasion causing one to brace quickly during that moment to keep the weigh and the body stable.
This weight shift potential becomes even more challenging during dynamic movements like cleans and thrusters.
Reason #3: Sandbag Training is Versatile and Safe
As we touched upon earlier you can perform many of the same exercises with as sandbag that you do with barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells while having the versatility to perform many of the movements with the bag in different positions making the exercises unique and challenging.
Sandbags can be implemented for traditional exercises like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses. They can be used dynamically for cleans and thrusters and they can be programmed for traditional strength training using sets and reps or in a circuit fashion where your goal is to get a cardiovascular training effect.
Even with their uniqueness of their structure and challenges brought with them, the movements can be much safer than their iron counterpart. We all know how technically challenging an Olympic lift like the clean and jerk can be. One wrong move while learning and you can have a setback injury.
The sandbag will be a little more forgiving than the iron making similar movements a little safer to learn.
Cleaning a 100lb barbell and a 100lb sandbag are two completely different feelings and because of the odd shape weight, your sandbag work weight is going to be significantly lighter than a barbell therefore it won’t be as crippling to the body if a bad repetition occurs.
If things go South during your lift it is also very easy to bail out of the way of the sandbag without the risk of damaging the weight, your floor or your toes.
With the variety and added safety, sandbag training is great for most anyone; young, old, newbie or a season lifter; there is always a way one can benefit from sandbag training.
There you have some reasons I think sandbag training can benefit most trainees. In future articles and videos I will touch upon my favorite sandbag exercises and their variations. Now go out and construct that sandbag.
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