Conditioning

Top 10 Sandbag Exercises You Need To Be Doing

Getting your form right down at the gym can take months – if not years' worth of practice.

Building strength, improving your flexibility, perfecting your technique – the lot.

Sometimes, it's nice just to be able to break free from it all. That's why bootcamp and conditioning sessions are so great because they give you an opportunity to put some real grit into your workout, without worrying about it being a bit rough around the edges.

And that's where sandbags come into it:

Sandbags are soft yet extremely dense weights. Even the 15kg bag can be a handful when you start working in some cardio. And the great thing about our sandbags is that they've been specially designed to help you get the most out of your training.

Ultimate sandbag workout guide

No matter what stage you're at in your training, you should be using a sandbag. If you're fairly new to working out, they're a great way to build up to the squat rack.

And if you're a veteran weightlifter, they help you break out of your routine so you can keep mixing things up and maintain your progression. They're durable and you can properly chuck them around without worrying about damaging your kit – or your joints.

Use them in cardio to up the intensity as well as more dynamic strengthening exercises for power and explosivity.

Best sandbag exercises

1) Step-back lunge with swing back

These work your core as well as your quads and glutes. Step-back so that your weight is over your back knee and swing the sandbag round to the same side as your front leg.

Step forward and repeat with the opposite leg. The swing in this exercise is really key to targeting your core, as you need to resist the momentum of the sandbag with your abs to remain balanced.

2) Zercher squats

mirafit model doing zercher squats with a mirafit sandbag

Similar to front squats, zercher squats are about pushing the weight load over your anterior chain so that you can target your quads and hip flexors.

Grab the sandbag with both hands and flip it over so it sits on the inside of your elbows. Squat down keeping your spine straight and breaking at the hips as you go. Repeat.

3) Plank pulls

image of mirafit model doing plank pull throughs with a mirafit sandbag

Target your obliques as well as your main ab muscles while you plank. Start in a push up position (not the traditional plank position with your forearms on the floor).

The sandbag should be chest height just to the right-hand side of your body. With your left arm, reach through and pull the sandbag across your body, allowing it to drag on the floor. Repeat with the other side.

4) Bear crawl with pull through

Bear crawls are awesome for functional fitness training and they really test your stamina. Add in a sandbag pull through and it becomes an awesome core workout too. Start on your hands and feet (knees off the floor) with the sandbag in-between your feet. Reach back and grab the bag. Pull it through from underneath and get it so it's a little bit ahead of you. Bear crawl forward and repeat, swapping arms as you go.

5) Glute bridge with chop

Glute bridges and hip raises target your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Add in a diagonal chop with the sandbag and you'll really feel it in your obliques too. This intensifies the glute bridge too as you won't rely on your arms for support. Lie down with your knees bent.

Place the sandbag just above one of your shoulders. Grab it with both hands. Raise your hips off the floor and while maintaining that position, slowly move the sandbag down and across your body to the opposite side to your shoulder.

This movement should be controlled. Repeat on the other side.

6) Kneeling chop

The reason we like this exercise so much is that it is really simple and is great for getting in some rotational strengthening as well as working your core.

While on one knee, swing the bag up over your shoulder and then back down to the side of your hip. The bag should be over shoulder that's the same side as the front leg. Swap sides and repeat.

7) Sandbag sprints

image of mirafit model doing sandbag sprints

This one is awesome for torching fat and will really put pressure on your quads. Load the bag across your shoulders and sprint as fast as you can back and forwards over a good length – around 10-15 metres is ideal.

8) Sandbag rockers

image of mirafit model doing sandbag rockers

This is a great one for your core as well as your posterior chain. The exercise works very similarly to a kettlebell swing and forces your body to resist the bag as you move. Start off with the bag in-between your feet.

Grab it with both hands and swing it vertically up to chest height. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward as the bag reaches its highest point. Swing the bag back down through your legs and as you go, keep your spine straight and bend at the knees.

9) Bear hug squats

image of mirafit model doing bear hug squats

Squats are fantastic compound exercises and are definitely worth including in your training programme. Especially if you're looking to get the most out of your time spent working out.

Keeping your spine straight, hold the sandbag close to your upper body. Squat down and push your weight back into your glutes. Pause and come back up. Repeat.

10) Bent over rows

mirafit model doing bent over rows with a mirafit sandbag

These target your lats and rear delts and are ideal for strengthening, as well as for recovery during bootcamp and HIIT sessions. Keeping your back straight, bend forward slightly.

Push your hips out and keep your chest raised so you don't flex your back. Keeping your elbows tucked in, raise the bag up and towards your chest and back down.

Are sandbag workouts effective?

There are so many benefits to sandbag training and they’re great to add into your workouts to help mix things up.

  • Versatile – firstly you can use them for almost any exercise. Squats, chest press, rows, planks and more.
  • Build strength – our sandbags go up to 60kg which makes them particularly challenging to use. Excellent for building strength and muscle.
  • Muscle endurance – sandbags are great for endurance training. For this style of training you want to use your sandbag to do between 20-30 reps per set.
  • Cardio training – doing sandbag runs and jumping squats will really get your heartrate up making sandbags perfect for increasing your cardiovascular endurance.
  • Core strength – by using your sandbag for dynamic exercises, you automatically engage your core. So, they’re great for working your abs and lower back too.
  • Fat burning – using a sandbag is great for burning fat as well as calories.
  • Low impact – because sandbags are soft, you can afford to perform less rigid movements.

What is the best sandbag for training?

There are several different types of sandbag that you can use for your workouts.

As well as the traditional sandbag, you can also use sand filled power bags. These are more like the sandbags that you see in the gym and are great for training with at home.

Or, if you’re looking for something slightly more challenging, you can use sandbags for Strongman training. These are more difficult and cumbersome to train with but will ultimately challenge you the most. They also go up to 150kg so much more than your average weight bag.

And if Strongman style training is something you like the look of, we also do sack style sandbags which are also great for building muscle as well as improving your functional fitness levels.

How much weight should I use for sandbag training?

How much you train with always comes back to your goals. If you’re starting out, train with a low weight just so you can get a feel for the types of exercises you’ll be doing.

If you’re looking to build strength, train so that you reach failure between
3-6 reps.

For building muscle, you want to be failing at around 8-12 reps.

And finally, for endurance training, you want to be doing between 20-30 reps.

Ultimately, sandbags have a variety of uses and can help you reach your fitness goals.

And by doing compound exercises with your sandbag, you can really maximise your training efficiency. You can find out more about compound exercises in our blog: seven best compound lifts for maximum gains.

Any questions, find us on Instagram @Mirafitofficial.