Total body fitness sandbags exercises
In our last post, we described and illustrated some exercises for hitting specific body areas/muscle groups: Pushups for chest and arms, pullups for back and arms, situps for core, and stair climbing and stepups/stepovers for legs.
Now we are going to show some exercises you can do with fitness sandbags that tend to work the entire body. They are done standing. Most are done with some sort of twisting motion.
The photos we have taken to illustrate these exercises are new. How you view them is the exercise starts at the upper left corner, and ends at the lower right corner. So view them from top to bottom, left to right. I have used a small sandbag for these photos, but you can probably do them with larger fitness sandbags. Gals, drop down one size for you if you like.
Fitness sandbags are not simply substitute barbells and dumbbells. They offer a unique way of training that can either focus on strength training ( high weight, low reps) or power training (lower weight, higher reps), or even better, a combination of both strength and power training simultaneously. As I have said before, sandbags are not to be always used like barbells and dumbbells. But then sometimes you can do similar exercises that can be done with barbells and dumbbells. But you should not limit yourself to only those exercises.
The reason for this is that the added dimension of flexibility opens a new dimension of exercise possibilities with fitness sandbags. In short, while barbells and dumbbells are used in 2-dimensional moves, sandbags are used in 3-dimensional moves. For that reason, do not think of sandbags as adjustable barbells and dumbbells. Ours are not designed for quick-changing their loads. Since we have 4 sizes, ours are designed for optimum shifting effect. This makes it much simpler to just pick up a smaller or larger size sandbag and continue your workout.
Your choice of size of sandbag determines the emphasis you place on the continuum between strength and power training. Also, the exercise determines this also. There are some exercises that most of us can only do with the small bag. So many strength training exercises can be done with the small bag.
Smackdowns are one of my favorite exercises to do with sandbags. I usually do them with a medium size bag, but for the sake of these photos I used a small bag. As seen in the photo below, start out with the bag on the ground to one side of you, grab it by the end handles, and snatch it overhead while twisting your body and smack it down on the ground on the other side of you. This is a great total body exercise to do with fitness sandbags.
Lateral throws are another total body exercise that many of us guys can do with a medium or even large bag. Just grab the bag from the ground to one side of your and throw it across your waist away from you as far as you can toward the opposite side of your body. The photo below illustrates this move.
The snatch is one exception I make to sandbag training. By exception I mean that it is one exercise that is commonly done with barbells that I also think is a good sandbag exercise. The other is the clean and jerk with a very heavy sandbag, done with few reps for strength training. To do the snatch with fitness sandbags, Bend down with the bag in frnt of you, grab it by its end handles, and lift it up over your head while standing up, all in one motion. The photo below illustrates this move.
One legged deadlifts are easily done with fitness sandbags. You can use larger bags for this exercise. Bend over, lift it as in doing a deadlift, and lift one leg so you are lifting it with only the other leg. Alternate legs. See photo below.
The overhead squat is usually done with barbells. I say it is much more effective with fitness sandbags. The instability of the bag forces more stabilizer muscles into action while lifting than a barbell. Lift the bag over your head, and place your hands onto the flat surface of the bag to hold it overhead. Then do the squat. This can also be done one-legged. See photo below.
Thrusters are harder with sandbags. Again, the instability of the bag calls more stabilizer muscles into action than when done with a barbell. Start by squatting done while holding the bag by its end handles. While standing up, press the bag overhead. Squat back down and repeat. See photo below.
Fitness sandbags are used to do some exercises that are unique to them, and some exercises that are also done with barbells. The advantage of using sandbags is that the shifting sand forces more muscles into action than a barbell does. The instability of the bag adds to the resistance and the functional fitness benefit. You cannot lift as much weight with fitness sandbags as you can with barbells. The old practice of county pounds or kilograms does not apply to sandbag training. Remember this when using sandbags. The shifting sand is more important than the weight. See our training page here for great functional fitness tips.