Why get yourself a sandbag?
First of all, sandbags are awesome. They can be used for a great amount of exercises, and they can make any exercise military-style tough. Also, they’re cheap to buy/make and not as expensive to ship as a 40kg barbell!
Why use sandbags instead of dumbbells or barbells? With sand bags, the weight moves around inside which means you’re forced to use more muscles to keep the weight steady than with perfectly balanced barbells or kettlebells. More muscles used = better workout!
Here are a few examples of the exercises you can do with sandbags:
- Push Press
- Bent Over Rows
- Power Cleans
- Sandbag swings
Untill I bought the sandbag I’m using now (an awesome bag from Onnit), I had my own that I made from an old laundry bag. Even with my current sandbag, I actually stuff it with the polypropylene sand bags instead of the recommended filler bags that Onnit offers (it’s a lot cheaper to make your own).
So, let’s get started! What you’ll need for the sandbag is:
- A laundry bag/duffel bag, preferably with handles. Something in the style of this or this.
- Sand Bags
- Normal rubble sacks
- Cable ties
- A scale
- Sand/gravel or any other material that will give your bags some weight
Step 1: Line the polypropylene sand bag with the rubble sacks
First off, line one rubble sack up inside another, and then line the sand bag with the rubble sacks. You’re better off making sure the sand or whichever filling material you’re using doesn’t get out with an extra bag, and they cost next to nothing.
Step 2: Fill the bags with material
I use just a normal kitchen bowl to fill in sand – I took the sand from a nearby playground. Not optimal if the entire neighborhood is lifting with sandbags but I’m guessing that’s not the case.
It’s faster to fill up the sand if you’ve got a friend to help keep it open, but it’s not too bad just with a kitchen bowl as long as it’s the right size. Best option here is to bring the scale with you so you know when to stop – I’d recommend making two 10kg bags and 2-3 5kg bags. This way you’ll easier be able to adjust your weight later on and between exercises, and you’ll know how much weight you’re lifting.
Step 3: Cable tie rubble sack & sand bag
Once you’ve filled as much sand as you want, you want to make sure the bags are shut tight. First cable tie the rubble sack, then the sand bag.
It’s important to leave a bit of space in the bag for the sand/material to move around, as this is one of the cool parts of working out with sandbags. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave too much space – if you want to stuff more polypropylene bags inside the big bag, this will be annoying.
Step 4: Place the sand bag in the larger laundry bag/duffel bag
Now pick up the bags and place them in the larger duffel bag or laundry bag.
And you’re good to go!
Can't be bothered to make your own?
I've got this Crossfit Battle Bag from Onnit myself and I love it :)
Have fun and happy lifting!