5 Sandbag Strength Training Benefits

5 Sandbag Strength Training Benefits…So I was sitting and thinking: “Why sandbag strength training isn’t really popular nowadays?” Actually two answers came up to my mind. Firstly, sandbag training is really tough. It’s not for all those boys and girls that attend fitness clubs to get social. It’s not for all those fat rich people that are got so used to luxury and comfort that they drive to fitness club to walk on treadmill. And, of course, it’s not for all those close-minded pseudo-bodybuilders that think that nothing works if it’s not a barbell, dumbbells or machines. Secondly, with sandbag training there’s nothing to sell. Well, almost. You need just a bag and sand. Here’s my tutorial on how to make a sandbag.

Sandbag training is not as popular nowadays as it should be. It gives you rough reality check. It shows you how really weak you are. That’s why you need to implement it and get stronger in it. Here’s five reasons you should to do so.

1. Sandbag training is cheap.

Better to say that sandbag training is ridiculously cheap. Again, you’ll need a bag, some sand and some time to put it all together. Almost no thinking involved. My recent sandbag cost me under $5. And all I paid for was a bag. As for the sand I made some “research” on how to get it free and decided that the most cost effective solution was to steal it from construction site near home at night. That’s how we do it in Ukraine. Rough Strength style, baby! But I digress. Just count the costs. No gym memberships (why home gym?), no bars, no plates, no dumbbells, nothing. Fully equipped home gym in under $5. I think I made my point.

2. Sandbag training develops real life strength.

When I heard term “functional training” the first time I thought: “Wow! Really cool term for strength training”. Later, when it became popular, fitness clubs started labeling everything as “functional”. Well, I don’t want to be rude, but how the fuck bosu-ball is functional? What real life function of the body does it train? Or how 1 kg dumbbells are functional? Smart marketers selling useless crap to dumb people. That’s functional. That’s why I prefer to use term “real life strength”. Anyway, sandbag develops the kind of strength you can use in daily activities. Of course, I’m not talking here about light weight sandbags. You’ll feel this benefit when you will work up in basic exercises to at least a sandbag equal to your bodyweight. I use 80 kg sandbag now. Here’s video of me push pressing 75 kg sandbag for 4 reps:

Just look at my face at the end of the set and you’ll understand everything (: You’ll be amazed by the potential of this tool for building strength.

[UPDATE: Here is video of me performing Sandbag Zercher Squat with 85 kg bag for 5 reps:

Felt good and heavy.]

3. Sandbag training develops muscles that you weren’t aware of.

That’s true. Just try it. You’ll feel soreness in muscles you’d never thought exist. Training with sandbag forces your body to use its stabilizers MUCH more. Why? Because the bag is always uncomfortable, unstable, it’s always changing its form and always trying to escape your hands. Training with sandbag reminds me wrestling a human. Well, at least dead human.

Is sandbag training optimal for building muscles (again “optimal”, noticed?)? Well, it’s hard to say. More yes than no. Lift damn sandbag, remember about progressive resistance, get right diet with slight calorie surplus, sleep and grow. It’s just that. You’ll build some decent muscular body and strength to match.

4. Sandbag training develops bone-crushing grip.

Have you ever tried to pick up a heavy sandbag? Have you been able to crush it? The answer is probably ‘no’. Because it’s almost impossible to get a good grip on sandbag. It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable. Your fingers will get a workout-in-workout. Prepare for some hard work. You’ll be able to lift less weight than with a barbell because of this factor. However, your muscles will actually work more. Resistance is resistance. And prepare to obtain a pair of vise-grip hands.

5. You always need to lift sandbag off the floor.

That’s big factor. People nowadays seem to “overcomfort” their training. Treadmill over outdoor running, bench press over military press, leg press over squats and deadlifts. I can go on and on. And then they wonder why they are so fat. That’s why. Do some more work. Such “overcomfort” won’t work with sandbag strength training. You always need to lift sandbag off the floor. This means more work and more fat loss. Just try it.

Closing Thoughts

I hope I gave you some reasons at least to give sandbag strength training a shot. It’s definitely not for everybody. Just for the toughest of us. As always thanks for reading. Don’t be afraid to comment and share.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

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P.S. For those of you, my friends, who for some reason missed my last video here it is. Enjoy.

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23 thoughts on “5 Sandbag Strength Training Benefits

  1. Pingback: How to Make a Sandbag | RoughStrength.com - Gain Strength, Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Get Awesome!

  2. Marcus

    Kinda got in the mood to go out and get myself a sandbag :) Great article, just so different from all the other pointless stuff out there. Keep it up!

      1. Murtles

        I used a sandbag for the first time yesterday. Ok..it wasn’t a sandbag it was a 15kg bag of wood pellets but the same thing. Still a useful workout…gripping I did a squat then back up and lifted it over my head for one rep and I did 5 sets of 10. I’ll need to up the weight a little but I like the dynamic element and it’s a change from more static push ups/chin ups, dips and squats.

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  5. Pingback: How to Dominate Sandbag Zercher Squat | Alex Zinchenko's Rough Strength

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  9. Kevin

    I love the idea of sandbag training and I will definitely make one for myself at some point (not now – it’s frikkin freezing outside). But.. I gotta say. I’m not too happy with your form in the pushes. Looks like you will seriously damage your back at some point. You are bending back from the middle of your back and not from the hips, which is not a good thing. I suggest you try lighter weight until you can balance yourself so that you don’t need to bend your back.

    Now, if I am wrong (and I am just learning these things), please do correct me. However, it stands to reason that it wouldn’t do your back much good.

    Anyhows. Brilliant idea this sandbag thingy.

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Thanks for the tips, Kevin. My form improved from that time, don’t worry. In addition, that was a PR, and no PR was set with perfect technique.

      – Alex

  10. Kevin

    oh, also, you lifted the weight with your back rounded, not straight. That has serious implications and can lead to a herniated disk. This one is a fact, I’m afraid.

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  12. Charlotte

    Hey, thanks for sharing! I loved reading this! How many times a week do you do sandbag training? Do you ever do sprints with it in a bag-pack? If so how effective is this method of training? Thanks again! Love your page! :D


    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author


      Regarding frequency, it all depends on your goals. Here is a good article about it.

      Regarding weighted sprints, no, I haven’t done them.

      – Alex

  13. Ира

    Пишу попросить совета. Вешу 58кг при росте 162см. Занимаюсь с гирями, 16кг, но основное хобби -кольца. Моя цель- упор крестом 10сек. Мысль с мешком мне нравится, но насчет веса неуверена. Что бы Вы посоветовали?

      1. Ира

        Сегодня попробовала мешок в 20кг, не очень впечатлило. Нужно потяжелее, но два таких мешка было трудно поднять 3 раза. Наверное надо брать 30-35кг, я в богатыри не мечу. :-)

          1. Wim

            Hello alex. I am a martial artist and dont have room for barbells or a bench i just have a pull up bar and a dipstation and a few kettlebells and a heavy sandbag about 60 kilo
            Most of my time i spend on martial arts training.
            But i want to get stronger.
            I am a little bit older, 55, but practice all kind of martial arts since the age of 15.
            I dont like to train with weights to but to get stronger i have to
            Do you have a example of a workout that not takes hours because of other training I do.
            And then with the things i have?
            I train for real fighters that means i dont compete anymore but focus on jeet kune do
            Sorry for my bad englisch i am from the netherlands
            Sincerally wim

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