Friday, February 23, 2007

Sandbags: Low Budget Weight Training

Getting strong and fit without spending a lot of money is always a good idea. In fact, it's the whole basis of my Low Budget Warrior web site. Sandbags are by far the easiest and least expensive way to train heavy. What's really awesome about sandbags, besides their low cost, is that they are extremely adjustable--just add or remove sand as needed.

Straight to the Bar recently posted an entry with instructions on how to make a sandbag for less than $10. Though I've not tried his method yet, it looks durable and excellently suited for adjusting the weight. In his method, the sand is divided into smaller bags then put in a larger sack for lifting. With this method, you can add or remove sand easily depending on the exercise and your ability and not make a mess spilling sand all over. The smaller bags will also keep the sand from shifting quite as much I imagine, which may be good or bad depending on what you're looking from a sandbag .

Once you've made your sandbag, here are 10 things you can do with it to build strength, endurance and power:

  1. Bearhug the sandbag and carry it as far as you can. You may need more than the 45 pounds of sand called for in the Straight to the Bar version to make this challenging.

  2. Deadlift it from the floor with two hands--again, you may need more than 45 pounds.

  3. Put it on one or both shoulders and squat with it.

  4. Press it from chest to overhead with two hands.

  5. Press it overhead with one hand using military press, side press or bent press. (Pavel's Power to the People and Enter the Kettlebell books have excellent instructions for these exercises)

  6. From the floor between your feet, use two hands to sling it up onto your shoulder. Return to floor, then sling it to the other shoulder. Make sure you use your legs and hips to power the sling and keep your back straight and firm.

  7. Use a kettlebell-style clean to clean it from floor to chest.

  8. Combine the clean with an overhead press and squat for power and cardio development.

  9. Lay on your back and chest press the sandbag .

  10. Set it on the floor next to you and, from a standing position, bend at the hips and grab it with two hands. Then lift it up to your chest, followed by bending at your hips to set on the floor on the opposite side that you started from. Repeat going the reverse direction. This is a good exercise for obliques and lower back, which are essential core muscles.


Scott said...

All great exercises. The one I use it for most often however, is a farmers walk. It suddenly feels a lot heavier when you pick with one hand :)

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