The Ultimate Sandbag Training Guide - 2023
One of the best ways to workout it is to have fun while doing it. Trying new methods of training, for instance, can help you to stay consistent and improve aspects of your performance. One method that brings strength, conditioning, and fun to your workouts is the use of sandbags.
Sandbags are timeless, well-loved tools that are great for functional training. Apart from building strength and growing muscle, they provide dynamic resistance. This means that the weight is shifted around when you pick them up and move them. This prompts you to engage more of your stabilizer muscles and core than you would be using regular free-weight dumbbells.
Sandbags provide a budget-friendly, durable, and low-maintenance option. You can get sandbags in a range of different sizes and weights from light to heavy duty! There is a lot of room to grow using sandbags as a training tool, at any level of fitness.
Sandbag Training Program Overview
Before starting, it's important to have a clear understanding of what to expect. In this guide, you will find complete information about sandbags such as benefits, ideal weights, necessary equipment, and above all The 30 Day Polyfit Sandbag Training Program.
Our program is a comprehensive resource for building strength and conditioning using sandbags. The 30 Day Polyfit Sandbag Training includes:
- 30 day training schedule
- 3 workouts per week
- 30 minute sessions
What Equipment Do I Need?
- Polyfit Sandbag or another heavy-duty sandbag designed for fitness training. Make sure your sandbag comes with multiple handles for various grip options.
- Filler material to weigh down your sandbag. You can use play sand, pea gravel, or rubber mulch, depending on your preference.
- A positive growth mindset to improve and live stronger.
Choosing the Right Sandbag Weight
When selecting the appropriate sandbag weight for your workouts, consider your personal fitness goals, experience level, and the specific exercises you plan to do. We recommend using at least two sandbags for optimal results: one lighter sandbag for core exercises and targeted movements, and another heavier sandbag for full-body movements. Here's a general guideline for choosing the right weight based on your experience:
Beginners may benefit from a lighter bag, you can start with a weight up to 15 to 40 lbs. For quick and core workouts use minimum weights of 15 lbs and for strengthening and heavy lifting exercises use up to 30-40 lbs.
After feeling too comfortable with light weights, challenge your persistence and increase your sandbag weight range from 30 to 70 lbs. Around 30lbs for core exercises and 70lbs for lifting and strength exercises.
More experienced athletes may try heavier weight ranging from 80 to 125 lbs. Strength will come with the right weight feel for hard workouts. The range in each exercise will depend on your muscle growth. The warm-up, core and quick exercises will be with your minimum weight of your burly sandbag and maximum lifting up to 120-130 lbs.
For those competing in Strongman events, sandbags weighing over 100 lbs are commonly used. It's important to work with a trainer to ensure proper form and technique to prevent injury.
Benefits and Targeted Muscle Groups
Sandbag specific exercises are multi-planar which means they utilize all 3 Planes of Motion:
- Sagittal : Forward and backward
- Frontal: Side to side (lateral)
- Transverse: Rotational
The Polyfit Sandbag Training Program is designed to target all major muscle groups for total body strength conditioning:
It is beginner friendly and consists of foundational exercises and movements to develop proper form and technique before progressing exercise load. When paired with proper nutrition and sufficient sleep recovery, you may experience fat loss, increased energy, strength, muscle definition, improved mobility, reduce stress, and improved body and cognitive functions.
Warming Up for Sandbag Workout
It’s important to warm up before any form of exercise because it brings your heart rate up and increases blood flow to your muscles. The Warm up also prepares your joints and tendons for intense movements which can sometimes be explosive and require a lot of energy. Doing a warm-up reduces your risk of pulling a muscle or getting injured during exercise.
Here are some staple warm-up exercises you can do before starting your workout to get your mind and body ready for the work ahead.
From a standing position with arms at your sides jump your feet out a little wider than shoulder-width apart and simultaneously bring your arms above your head. Jump back into the starting position and repeat.
From a high plank position bring your left knee in towards your torso, keeping your back straight and core tight, kick your leg back to the starting position and bring your right knee towards your torso and repeat. Pick up the pace and alternate your legs in a running motion.
Swing your arm gently in full circles, try to rotate them within your max range of motion in a forward motion for a few reps the switch to a backward motion.
From a standing position gently hinge at the hips and “sit” back with your heels firmly pressed into the ground. Keep your knees in line with your shins and maintain an upright torso. Place your hands on your hips or stretched out in front of your chest for stability as you squat low. Engage your hamstrings and glutes and drive through your heels to return to the starting position.
Warm up Routine (repeat x 3)
- 10 jumping jacks
- 10 Arm circles (forward)
- 10 Arm circles (backward)
- 10 body weight squats
- 20 mountain climbers (alternating legs)
Key Sandbag Exercises
Sandbag exercises are similar to dumbbell and barbell exercises. If you are no stranger to the gym, you may already know how to properly execute the movements with proper form. However, if you are a beginner it is recommended that you start with the basics before trying more compound or advanced training moves.
Sandbag Squat Variations.
- Front Squat : cradle the sandbag against your chest/arms in the crooks of your elbows. Shoulder squat: Hold sandbag against your shoulder, using your elbow and forearm to lock in place. Switch sides as desired. Bear hug squat: hug the sandbag against your torso with both arms.
- Keeping your chest high and back semi to fully upright, lower your butt into a squat until your legs are parallel to the floor.
- Drive through your heels to return to standing and repeat.
- Grip sandbag with your palms facing upward.
- Get into the low position of a standard front squat.
- As you Push back to standing, press the sandbag above your head with arms fully extended.
Sandbag Lunges Variations
Forward Alternating Lunge
- Hold the sandbag against your chest in the nooks of your elbows, with feet hip width apart.
- Take one big step forward with your right leg and bend at the knee until both are at a 90-degree angle or parallel.
- Drive with your right foot to push back into the starting position and alternate legs.
Overhead reverse Lunge
- Hold sandbag above your head with arms fully extended
- Take a big step backward and lower your knee to 90 degree or more but keep your forward facing knee at 90 degrees.
- Drive through your extended leg to return to starting position and repeat on opposite leg.
Sandbag Good Morning
- Stand with Sandbag firmly gripped across your shoulders, behind your neck.
- Hinge at the hips with a slight bend in your knees and lean your torso downwards, maintain a flat back as.
- Squeeze your glutes as your return to the starting position.
- Place sandbag at the side of your feet.
- With slight torso rotation, reach your arms down to grip the handles.
- Hinge slightly at the hips and bend knees to lift the sandbag.
- Return to a straight legged standing position with sandbag against your thighs.
- Repeat step 2 and 3 while holding the sandbag to lower it back to the floor on the opposite side.
Clean and Press
- Place sandbag at your feet, with legs hip width apart.
- Hinge at the hips and with palms facing each other (neutral grip) pull the sandbag handles apart to engage your lats and stabilize your lower back.
- Pull the sandbag up to the mid-point of your body then rotate your wrists and flip the sandbag into the cradle of your elbows.
- Squat to create an explosive force to push the sandbag above your head into an overhead shoulder press.
- Bring sandbag back into your elbow cradle position, squat and drop sandbag to the floor. Return to the starting position.
Bent Over Row and Single Arm Row
- Start in hinged position, similar to a deadlift with a slight bend in the knees.
- Keep your back and torso aligned and engage your core muscles and hold the sandbag using both handles in front of your shins (for single arm row, hold sandbag with one arm per side).
- Bend elbows up and behind your back and pull the sandbag towards the front of your sternum, just under your breast bone/chest (for single arm row, pull the sandbag up alongside this same area).
- Extend your arms down again and repeat, while holding the bent over position.
Strict Press/Overheard Shoulder Press
- Stand with feet hip width apart.
- Hold sandbag against your upper chest, cradled in your elbows.
- Rotate slightly to grip handles as you raise the sandbag over your head, keeping your elbow ins line with your shoulder and your arms in front of your ears.
- Bring it back down to starting position.
Sandbag Bicep Curls
- Hold unto sandbag handles with a neutral grip, against your thighs.
- Lock your elbows against your sides.
- Hinge your elbows towards your upper body, like a traditional barbell bicep curl. Keep your core tight as you stabilize the movement.
- Return to starting position.
Sandbag Lateral Drag
- With sandbag placed on the floor, get into a high plank position (push up starting position) next to it.
- Engage your core as you reach your opposite hand under to pull the sandbag across to the other side. Place both hands back on the floor, then reach your other arm under and across your body to pull the sandbag back to the starting position and repeat.
- Sit on the floor next to the sandbag in a “V” position with the soles of your feet lightly tapping the floor.
- Rotate your torso to grip the sandbag and swivel to the other side while holding it.
- Keep your back straight as you lean slightly back to move the sandbag to other side.
- Repeat the rotations from side to side.
- Get into a wide squat to pick up the sandbag.
- Hoist Sandbag unto your shoulder using both hands as you stand upright.
- Drop Sandbag back to the ground in front of you while getting into the squat position to pick it up to hoist to the opposite shoulder.
- Start on the floor with facing up with knees bent and heels close to your butt.
- Rest sandbag on top of your hips/pelvis.
- Tighten the core, and squeeze your glutes to lift your lower body off the ground, maintain a straight spine.
- Press your heels and shoulders into the ground for added stability.
Cooling Down and Stretching
After a workout, it’s also a great idea to perform a few stretches to prevent overly sore muscles and build your flexibility.
With a pipe or bar, straighten arms and raise the bar upwards, above your head. Move the bar all the way towards your lower back. You can always use a belt, towel or pilates band and hold it taut as an alternative.
Take a big lunge step forwards and place hands on the leg in front of you. Hold this position for 45-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg.
For an additional challenge hold a pipe or bar overhead.
Sit down into a deep squat and, using your elbows, push your knees outwards until you feel a stretch in the groin. Hold for 60-120 seconds.
For more deep stretching, you can incorporate yoga inspired stretches into your cooldown routine after your workouts and prevent many discomforts that often accompany inflexibility.
The 30 Day Polyfit Sandbag Training Program
Immerse yourself in our 30-day sandbag training program. This comprehensive program caters to all fitness levels, offering a dynamic, budget-friendly, and low-maintenance workout. Spanning three sessions per week, each 30-minute workout focuses on strength, conditioning, and functional training. Our program targets all major muscle groups, incorporating warm-ups and cooldown exercises to enhance your workouts.
For optimal results, we recommend using at least two sandbags: a lighter one for core exercises and targeted movements, and a heavier one for compound exercises.
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