Why you should train with a sandbag
What you can accomplish with the help of sandbag training:
- Increase core strength!
- Strengthen the whole body!
- Stop climate change… NOT!
Seriously: sandbag training leads a miserable existence in the shadows of functional training. Completely unjustly! This piece of equipment and all of its possibilities offer great advantages for your training!
Ultimately, there are only a few training tools that allow you to design a full body training over weeks and even months without getting boring or neglecting an aspect. And the Sandbag, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the few.
Creating more impulses with instability
Sandbag training is characterized by its instable training weight which moves differently inside the sandbag in every movement. The inter- and intra-muscular coordination (the interplay between single muscle fibers and even whole muscle groups) is improved and the whole organism gets challenged more than when using a fixed weight like a barbell. A study has researched the influence of your own position and stability on neuromuscular training effects. It came to the finding that the exercises that had the highest demands in stability created the highest neuromuscular effects even though the maximum strength was the lowest of all compared exercise versions. This shows that it is not the biggest weight that produces the biggest impulses and that the instability of the training weight has a huge influence on the training effect.
Additionally, you can find several handle variations on a sandbag that each create different impulses. And when you disregard the handles and grab the sandbag by its ‘body’ you will have another option that not only trains your grip strength but is also very close to everyday life challenges. Since in your daily chores there aren’t any perfectly formed objects that you have to carry but shopping bags, your kids or the basket with dirty clothes.
Adjusting sandbag training
Back to the original topic: when you are planning your sandbag training you have to consider the following aspects:
- I can use the sandbag for pushing, pulling, and rotating movements.
- I can use it like a barbell or implement it as a ballistic tool like a kettlebell.
- I can scale every exercise even without adjusting the weight of the sandbag.
Generally, there is one guiding principle: you are training fucntionally when you train holistically. Thus, your training plan should consist in equal parts of pushing, pulling, and rotating movements. For example, you can combine bend over rows (pulling), front squats (pushing), and planks with outside pull (anti-rotational). All these exercises can be done with one sandbag. And before I add more sand to the sandbag I would adjust other parameters. I can make exercises more challenging simply by changing my position:
I can do the bend over rows on one leg, for example. The same goes for front squats or you can hold the sandbag over your head. And the plank with outside pull can be varied with different directions from and to I pull or push the sandbag, and I can even combine it with crawling.
Depending on the exercise we can also add a certain dynamic for ballistic exercises. If you take rotational lunges, for example, I can speed up the movement and swing the sandbag from side to side, lifting the sandbag up in front of me, actively slowing it down, and accelerating it again.
This leads us to the second aspect I have mentioned before: making exercises more dynamic. The result is that the demands on your core strength grow and you can create a greater training effect on your core and back musculature.
And I can do all of this in one and the same workout. So you also have maximum flexibility.
Turn your sandbag into an aquabag
If all of these adjustments are still not enough I have also the option to fill my Sandbag with water instead of sand. You can turn your aerobis Sandbag into an aquabag at any time.
Whether you train with sand or water, Sandbag training challenges your whole body. I can do exercises for my legs but I generally always incorporate my upper body. The same goes for exercises that focus on my shoulders or arms, the core is always involved. Especially when space is a factor and I don’t want to spend a fortune on equipment, I should take a closer look at the advantages of sandbags. As I said before, the sandbag is a versatile tool that gives you plenty of options.