4 Sandbag Squat Variations for Functional Leg Strength
The Sandbag Squat is a great tool that poses endless versatility and variety. Due to their constantly shifting load and awkwardness they build powerful strength from all different positions. Sandbags are also one of the more brutal training modalities out there and teach mental toughness in addition to physical toughness.
“The Sandbag Squat builds real functional leg strength.”
Sandbag Squat #1: Shouldered
The shouldering sandbag squat loads the sandbag asymmetrically to just one shoulder really forces the stabilizers on the non loaded side to engage and do some serious work. Also this is a very natural way to load the body.
Just the other day I was in a store and this gentleman grabs two 50 pound bags of dog food, squats down and loads his right shoulder then stands back up. I feel this as well as a few other variations we will explore builds a rock solid core.
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Sandbag Squat #2: Zercher
The Zercher variation of the sandbag squat is not unfamiliar to many unconventional training enthusiasts, but I prefer it with the sandbag over the barbell. It is a little more comfortable and because the load is never perfectly balanced, I feel it works the core just a little harder.
The biggest surprise for many when they perform the Zercher version of the sandbag squat is the engagement of the muscles in the upper back. Try it and feel the difference.
Sandbag Squat #3: Split Squat
This might be my favorite sandbag squat pattern of all. The cool thing is you can hold the bag either asymmetrical on the shoulder or out in front like a Zercher squat. Of course you can always place the bag on your back like you would in a back squat.
The split squat variation of the sandbag squat is great for building single leg strength, hip strength and knee, ankle and foot mobility.
Sandbag Squat #4: Bear Hug or Grappler
This sandbag squat is king for building a strong back and spine, solid core, and titan legs. I like to grab a heavy sandbag for this squat and give it a hug and go for it. Squeezing the bag to your body and holding it vertical is its own challenge all together.
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Mark Smith is the owner of Asylum Fitness in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a Movement and Strength Coach that uses unconventional tools and methods to make his students a little better with each practice. His main focus is movement, he believes, “We were born to move. Reclaim your birthright.” He encourages his students and all those he meets to just play, similarly to when you were a kid, believing that play is the foundation of movement and movement is life. “By learning to move better and improving our mobility, everything falls into place.” he says. Mark is an Outdoor Fitness Enthusiast, is well versed in corrective exercises, and currently holds a level 1 FMS (Functional Movement Screen), and is a MovNat level 2 certified trainer and is always seeking to learn from the best. He also has a background in track and field, martial arts, ballroom dance, and currently is practicing parkour.