The use of sand bags of a form of resistance training is quickly gaining popularity in the fitness industry due to its versatility and ability to provide great full body workouts in a very short time. The main principle behind using sand bags for a workout is that the weight can move throughout the exercise, referred to as odd object lifting, forcing the body to stabilize, and sometimes counteract these shifts in movement. This then forces grater muscle recruitment, which then leads to better results, regardless of the goal.
The sandbag burpee, which very closely resembles a standard burpee, is a great full body exercise that will also incorporate a touch of cardio into the workout. Stand with a sand bag at your feet, drop into push-up position and do a push-up with your hands on the sandbag. Return to standing position, lifting the sandbag with you, as you are standing up, lift the sandbag up to your chest, bring your arms under the bag and push it over-head. Lower the weight back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions or time.
The Zercher squat epitomizes the use of odd object lifting. Holding the sandbag in the crook of the elbows (as opposed to on top of the shoulders in a standard squat) and perform a squat. Because the weight is very heavy on the top half of the body, as well as in the front of the body, gravity will try to force you forward. Your lower back, glutes and hamstrings have to work very hard to counteract these forces. This exercise is great for anyone looking to improve core strength and leg strength, as well as improving the look of those particular areas.
The standing half moon snatch is another great full body, core specific exercise. Begin by standing with the bag on the outside of your legs. Squat down and grab the bag by its ends and explosively lift the bag overhead while transferring the weight to the opposite leg and lower the weight to the other side. Repeat back to the original position to complete one repetition.
There are many different exercises, and even a few variations on the exercises listed above. To truly benefit from use of sandbags, you must be creative with your workouts. I'd love to hear each of your thoughts on whether you think sandbags are going to be short lived, or whether they are here to stay.
***prior to beginning any exercise or diet program, please be sure to consult your physician.