The sandbag has been a long-recognised tool for elite performance training. Unlike other equipment that requires particular form and technique, sandbags are incredibly simple tools that can be used by almost anyone - as long as you know how to pick up a weight properly.
The unique feature of sandbags are their unstable, awkward load with “built in” instability. During typical sets with other mixed implements such as dumbbells, you can get in a ‘groove’ while lifting the weight making the set easier as you start to flow. The constantly shifting load within a sandbag makes this flow impossible causing the workout to be more challenging as you are constantly engaging your stabiliser muscles.
Sandbag training creates a multitude of programming options that incorporate strongman and strength training with conditioning and plyometrics.
Benefits Of Sandbag Training
Due to the unpredictable nature of the sandbag, your stabiliser muscles are challenged and forced to engage more so than with traditional fixed loads. This is known as dynamic resistance and facilities our ability to stabilise and hold the object in place through various movement planes. The further away from your centre of gravity the load is, the harder you will have to work to stabilise it.
Sandbags feature a tough outer shell purpose made for rough handling. The heavy-duty fabric equipped with easy access handles provide comfortable and firm grip options. Sandbags require an extreme amount of gripping, pinching, crushing and squeezing, forcing your body to use different strategies depending on the lift. This further adds to the functional nature of sandbag training.
The engagement of your core muscles to maintain tension keeping the body stabilised as you move through the various exercises increases core musculature usage. Even when you aren’t performing core focused exercises, it will be forced to engaged in a different way to working with using stable weights.
3 Planes Of Motion
Sandbags train all three planes of motion – sagittal, frontal and transverse. These are the different ways your body moves. The sagittal plane is the left and right halves of your body and involves backward or forward parallel movement. The frontal plane is the front and back halves of your body and involves side-to-side parallel movement. The transverse plane is the superior and inferior halves of your body and involves parallel movement or rotational movement of your waistline.
It’s important to develop strength and competency throughout all three movement planes to prevent injury and maintain general structural health. Most lifting only calls on the sagittal plane but sandbag training can incorporate all three planes which in turn gives you a better overall workout.
Real Life Applications
Sandbags mimic real life objects such as shopping bags, suitcase, furniture and human bodies. This builds strength and stability and has performance benefits for anyone who needs to be able to control awkward objects in their life, work or sport.
No matter what type of sandbag you use, the basic qualities remain the same.
Read Before You Buy – Which Sandbag Is Right For You
The type and weight of the sandbag depends on several factors including your ability level, training experience and purpose. Luckily, sandbags are extremely adjustable and come with filler bags allowing you to alter the difficulty level as required.
Traditional sandbags are rectangular in shape and is the most versatile style of sandbag allowing you to perform a range of exercises including bear hugs, squats, step ups, lunges and carries.
The AlphaFit Sandbag is available in two maximum capacity sizes – small and large.
- Small Sandbag max. loading = 40lb / 18.1kg
- Large Sandbag max. loading = 160lb / 72.5kg
Round sandbags are a great alternative to heavy balls and stones. They offer a more versatile tool for your strongman or strength and conditioning training. Featuring no handles, this style of sandbag forces you to adopt a more animalistic grip.
The AlphaFit Round Sandbag is available in four maximum capacity sizes – 50kg, 75kg, 100kg and 120kg.
- 50kg max. loading = 110lb / 50kg
- 75kg max. loading = 165lb / 75kg
- 100kg max. loading = 220lb / 100kg
- 120kg max. loading = 265lb / 120kg
The Throw Bag is traditionally used for the strongman ‘weight over bar’ event. They are a tool used to test throwing an object over a set height. Whilst designed specifically for throwing, they are also an excellent all-round training tool.
The AlphaFit Throw Bag is available in a maximum capacity size – 34kg
- 34kg max. loading = 75lb / 34kg
4 Person Worm
The 4 Person Worm is a favourite amongst CrossFitters. Working together as a unit of four athletes, the worm will put your synchronisation and communication to the test, all while identifying points of breakdown and fatigue amongst the group.
- The AlphaFit 4 Person Worm is available in a maximum capacity size – 200kg
- 2 x large inner bags (max. loading = 100lb / 45.3kg)
- 2 x medium inner bags (max. loading = 70lb / 31.7kg)
- 3 x small inner bags (max. loading = 6lb / 2.7kg)
If you are looking for a challenging workout that will build strength and conditioning, then sandbag training is a great tool.