Sandbag Training for Athletes

The sandbag is one of the hottest fitness tools on the market—and for good reason. It's an effective tool that spices up basic movements. You can add it to any bodyweight exercise to challenge your strength, intensify routines, and strip away fat. No wonder pro athletes use this tool to boost their performance.

Whether you're a runner, CrossFitter, triathlete, cyclist or weekend warrior, using the sandbag will get you stronger, improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and help prevent injuries—all critical components of a well-rounded training program.

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The bonus: Sandbags come in various styles, weights, shapes and sizes and require no instructions on how to use it.

Other benefits include:

  • Develops full-body strength and power
  • Builds core strength
  • Burns calories and fat
  • Improves joint stability throughout the body
  • Adds variety to your routine
  • It's quick and effective. You only need 30 minutes to build up a sweat and burn calories.

Ready to sweat? Here's a sample workout to give you an idea for a full-body routine.

Sandbag Workout Sample

This workout is comprised of three small groups or circuits. Complete 2 to 3 sets of the "A" group in a circuit fashion (A1 then A2 then A3) and then move on to the "B" group. Rest 2 to 3 minutes in between each circuit to ensure adequate recovery.

Circuit #A
A1) Sandbag Bear Hug Squat: 3 sets of 10 reps
A2) Sandbag Plyo Push up: 3 sets of 5 reps per arm (10 total)
A3) Sandbag "Rack Position" Walks: 3 sets of 40 yards

Circuit #B
B1) Sandbag Cleans: 3 sets of 8 reps
B2) Sandbag Bent-Over Rows: 3 sets of 15
B3) Sandbag "Rack Position" Walks: 3 sets of 40 yards

Circuit #C
C1) Sandbag Single-Leg Deadlift: 3 sets of 8 reps per leg (16 total)
C2) Sandbag Overhead Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
C3) Sandbag "Rack Position" Walks: 3 sets of 40 yards

For more ideas, watch this YouTube video.

Want to train more with sandbags? Work with a qualified professional. If your local facility doesn't offer sandbag training, visit the Ultimate Sandbag Fitness site, where they list their certified professionals.

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About the Author

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is a fitness professional and the founder of DB Strength in San Diego. He is also the head strength and conditioning coach for Alliance Training Center where he works with many top professional MMA athletes. Visit for more information.

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