In the first installment of the series we went over the numerous benefits of using sandbag exercises to train for strength, power and conditioning. We went over how to use the sandbag for traditional exercises like squats and lunges, power exercises like cleans and shouldering and how to put them all into a conditioning program.
With the risk of having the first installment being too long I wanted to circle back and add more sandbag exercises that we find useful here at the gym and in this article and video we have just that.
Shoulder mobility and strength are two things one can not have too much of and there is a simple and effective sandbag exercise for that; the Sandbag Shoulder-to-Shoulder. Simply shoulder the sandbag to one side like we did in the first installment and then press it straight up off the shoulder, shift over your head and then control down to the other shoulder and repeat for the number reps you want.
One of the basic dynamic movements that we touched upon in the first installment is the sandbag clean.
Not only do I like it as a stand-alone dynamic exercise for building power production; it is a great transitional position for other exercise combinations.
After setting the bag horizontally in front of your feet; grab that handles and set your back flat with the shoulders aligned with the knees and feet.
Drive your feet through the floor and extend the ankles, knees and hips and when the sandbag gets about torso level, drive your elbows under and around the bag so it spins and sits in the zercher position.
At the top you have numerous options; drop and clean the bag again, press or jerk overhead, do some squats or lunges, you are only limited by your imagination.
Don’t have a kettlebell? Not to worry, you can Swing a sandbag. The grip will be slightly different, but the principles are the same.
Place the sandbag vertically between your feet. Find the handle grip that suits you best to start as one hand will be above the other (you will want to switch them occasionally to balance out your sides). Hinge the hips and hike the sandbag through the legs. Drive your feet through the floor, extend your hips and knees and the sandbag in front of your body to complete the swing.
If you want to add a challenging variant to the exercise; try the Swing Squat where you start the movement like the regular backswing and when you go to swing the bag forward, drop into a squat at the top of the swing and then stand back up to hinge your hips into the back.
Not all movements need to be power-based; you can use the sandbag to perform unique core exercises. One of our favorites utilizes both shoulder and core stability; the Sandbag Core Pull Through.
Set your body up in a push up position with the sandbag positioned horizontally off to the side of your chest. Grasp the handle with the hand furthest from the sandbag. Tighten up your core and pull the sandbag through to the other side, keeping your torso and hips completely stable. Grip with the other arm and pull through back to the starting side.
Sandbag Get-Ups train the core muscles for strength and stability. The gets-ups were used by wrestlers for years and the sandbag version is perfect for people, especially if you do not own kettlebells.
From the lying position; turn to the side and pull the sandbag onto one shoulder. Free up your opposite arm and place it about 45 degrees away from your body on the ground. Drive off the same side leg as you support the body on the opposite side arm. Press up on the opposite hand and bridge your hips to make room for your legs to move through.
Draw the opposite knee back towards the posted hand. Extend your body in an upright position, which looks like a lunge position, where the back leg is touching the ground.
Drive your body upward to the standing position. Go back to the starting position by reversing the movements.
There you have some more of my favorite sandbag exercises for strength, power and conditioning development.
Check out the video below for visual descriptions of what I mentioned above.