7 Exercises You Can Only Do with Sandbag Training

Sandbag training has taken the fitness world by storm over the last few years - and with good reason. The unstable load created by sand engages muscles differently than traditional equipment, and the added effort needed to stabilize the load enhances cognitive function. While many of the movements we use are similar to traditional weight training, here are some great exercises that can only be accomplished with a sandbag. 

  1. Brute Force Burpee - The exercise everyone loves to hate just got even harder. Start with the bag on the ground, do a pushup and then jump your feet forward, stand up and get the bag all the way over your head as efficiently as possible. This one is the real deal, and will quickly humble even the fittest athlete.

  2. Bear Crawl and Drag - Bear Crawl and Drag is one of our favorites here at Brute Force HQ. A new twist on a classic, start in the bear crawl position with the bag between your hands on the floor. Crawl forward a few steps, then while balancing one one arm, use the other to reach back and pull the bag as far forward as possible. Continue alternating crawling and dragging and feel the burn in your shoulders.

  3. Burden Carry - Sometimes, it doesn’t need to be complicated to give a great workout. The simplest exercise on this list, or maybe on any list, is also one of the world’s oldest. Sling your sandbag over a single shoulder, or rest in behind your head across both, and cover some distance. That’s it. You will be surprised how quickly that sandbag gets heavy, and will gain an appreciation for our ancestors who used to have to carry food, water, and other supplies for miles.

  4. Bear Hug Squats - Another classic movement with a sandbag specific twist, the bear hug squat is just like a goblet squat, but rather than a kettlebell or dumbbell, squeeze the sandbag in a bear hug position - without the use of the handles. Don’t be tempted to rest the weight on your shoulder, as the bear hug position should keep the bag under your chin and use grip and arm strength to keep it in place.

  5. Shoulder to Shoulder - Similar to a push press, this exercise has you shifting the sandbag from shoulder to shoulder via overhead press in order to really engage core stabilizers and showcase the unstable load. There is no real comfortable way to hold the bag as you change shoulders, and your arms will be screaming in no time.

  6. Overhead Toss - This one is great for building and enhancing neuromuscular coordination by engaging various stabilizer and neutralizer muscles. Start with the bag on the ground, get your hips low and explode upward as you throw the bag up and over your head behind you. Let go earlier than you think in order to achieve maximum height.

  7. Shoulder Slams - Shoulder slams are a staple here at Brute Force HQ, and for good reason. Not only do they help us alleviate a little stress as we slam the bag into the ground, but the exercise is very functional from an evolutionary perspective.

While there are over 300-plus movements you can do with a single sandbag, these are some that you can't do with any other piece of equipment, so they're a fun addition to a more traditional workout.

Now that you've got some new moves to pair with your new gear, grab that sandbag and go get after it!