How to Make a Sandbag

How to Make a SandbagPeople keep asking me how they can get started with sandbag training. The answer is simple – make a sandbag.

There are two different ways to make it. Both methods begin identically. At first, take a bag, preferably an army duffel one or any bag made of tight material (for example, made of canvas). It’s cheap, heavy duty and you can find something like this almost anywhere. If you’re so ghetto that you find even this to be expensive, then you can use construction-style bags. Here in Ukraine they cost approximately $2. To tell you the truth, my first sandbag was made of a couple of such construction-style bags and I wasn’t complaining. Playing rough is ultimately necessary for survival in our country. Ok, the outer bag is now ready. So the next step will be buying a couple of huge trash-bags and stuffing them inside of the outer bag. This will ensure that you won’t be cleaning your home gym after every session (that is of course if you train indoors) and it will only cost you a couple cents. The inner bag is now ready.

Outer Bag

It may look something like this.

So we have now made it to the part where I’ll explain to you the difference between the two ways of making the sandbag. The first one is the most simple and the least time-consuming: Get sand – stuff it inside the bag – lace it up – train! You can either buy sand, or go to the beach with a shovel and get it for free. When you put sand inside the bag, just tie it closed with a lace or something similar. The sandbag is ready. Weigh it if you want. You can start training immediately. When the sandbag becomes light, add more sand inside. Pros of this method: it’s easy and time efficient. Cons: the sandbag will be non-adjustable, which is not so good if you plan using one sandbag for several exercises.

And here’s the second method, which will allow you to make your sandbag adjustable. What is the major difference? When you get the sand, you should divide it and stuff into smaller bags. They could be, for example, small trash-bags or something else of a similar size. After stuffing sand inside, just duct-tape them (or scotch-tape them) thickly. You don’t want them to tear, right? Weigh and mark every small bag. For example, I have small bags of the following weights (in kilos): 16.5, 14, 12, 13.5, 11, 7, 5 etc.

Small Bag

A 13 kg small bag.

So now you can use these small bags similar to barbell plates. Just put them inside the sandbag and lace it. Here we go. Now you have an adjustable sandbag, which can be used effectively as a supplement to your current training implements or amazing standalone tool.

Adjustable SandbagSome tips:

1. You can use any filler you want. You can try rice or cement. But sand still remains the safest while the heaviest. You can drop a sandbag on your feet and remain uninjured.

2. If you live in country where it snows in the winter, you might want to get a little bit more sand than you need during the warm period. I live in such climate, and I once went to the beach to get some sand from under the snow while it was -10C. Such activity is definitely rough and  not for everyone.

3. If you’re going to make an adjustable sandbag, try to make small bags in pairs. For example, 2.5, 2.5, 5, 5, 10, 10 etc. You’ll need this when you progress to advanced two-handed sandbag exercises such as double sandbag deadlift. You’ll also need to weigh small bags precisely and accurately.

If it’s too hard for you or you’re too lazy, you can always buy a commercial sandbag.

Stay tuned for more information on heavy sandbag training.

Play Rough!


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30 thoughts on “How to Make a Sandbag

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  7. John Goodie

    Thanks for the tips and info! I have an old military duffel bag to start with already so I am making me one this weekend!

    Great website!

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  9. Lance

    Any idea where I can find the construction style bags that you have on here? All of them I see online seem to small. Also, I can’t find any canvas bags that are big enough that don’t also cost a fortune. I want a bag that can hold around 300 lbs.

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Well, I live in Ukraine so I won’t be able to help you much in this question. I bought mine in construction market. The canvas-one I made myself.

      Oh, construction style bags will hold up to 225 lbs tops. At least the ones we have here.

      – Alex

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  15. jikwang

    Hey Alex. Nice article as usual. I have a question about the bags. What are the dimensions of the bags you use. Particularly, the thickness of the bags. I want to see if I can make a 180 kg – 200 kg bag to squat with. Would 5 Mil thickness be appropriate?

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Well, the strongest of my bags is made from canvas/linen (I have no fucking idea how to call it right in English, and even in Russian). It can hold up to 130 kg of sand max. Its dimensions are awkward but acceptable.

      If you REALLY want a bag that could hold up to 180-200 kg of sand, you need to make it either very long, or very wide. Both of them will be extremely uncomfortable to train with. The best solution in this case is to make a regular bag, but to fill it with something heavier than sand. For example, cement.

      Additionally, I’m yet to see a person to work with a sandbag heavier than 130 kg. Unless, you are a professional powerlifter/strongman, you will need MUCH lighter weight.

      – Alex

  16. jikwang

    I’m no professional, but I was just wondering if that was possible. I’m looking for less expensive ways to get stronger, and squats are the best exercises to train the lower body. But squat bars are not practical at the house, so I’m looking at sandbags. I was hoping they could progress indefinitely, as long as the material becomes denser. And since I can already squat 160 kg, I am going to need a very heavy sandbag to challenge me. I was thinking a bag between 100 and 120 kg would be a good start.

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author


      When I started sandbag training, I was able to squat with 150 kg barbell for 3 x 3. At that time, 75-80 kg sandbag was really challenging. However, I never did Back Squats with a bag. I think they are somewhat impractical to do with this implement. Anyway, let me know how everything works out for you.

      – Alex

  17. JDizzle

    As far as bags go, average loose sand has a density of 1400kg/m3 so you can work out what volume bag you need for the weight you want. In case you end up with a big floppy bag with not much sand in…

    1. JDizzle

      Great post by the way, sandbags are an awesome asset to a home training regimen!

  18. Dave


    I used your tutorial for getting into shape for backcountry-hunting where we have to haul out 58kg out of the mountains per trip on our backs; and it usually takes 3 or 4 trips to ferry out the whole elk (Cervus canadensis).

  19. Angelino Pinanez

    Thank you for the tutorial. I followed your lead and made a great and cheap sandbag, learned all the exercises. Sandbag training is awesome! Had my first training this week with many more to follow.


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