Workout stalling? Tired of the same monotonous grind in the gym? Tired of being asked rhetorical questions?
Well maybe it’s time to mix things up and grab yourself a sandbag.
“What?!” I hear you cry.
But trust me, those odd little sacks, aka the Bulgarian Bag, squirrelled away in the corner of your gym, next to the wobble-board and the vibro-thingy, they’re not filled with sand, that’s pure gold dust, bro.
And it’s about time you cashed it in.
Sands of Time
Sandbag training has been around since Queen Victoria, tossed around by Indian wrestlers as a way to build strength and endurance (the bags, not the queen), and they’ve been a favourite of the military and martial artists ever since. In fact, anyone worth their salt has chucked around a bag or two, from Hollywood stuntmen to Olympic athletes…
…and here’s why.
It builds real strength. We’re talking real gains, with real-world benefits.
But perhaps you need a little more convincing…
I get it, you’re a metal-head, slave to the Olympic bar, strapped to the weight bench for hours at a time cranking out endless reps of eights and tens. Or perhaps you’re a cardio junkie, carving out your crossfit physique like a maniac.
So why bother? Surely a bag full of sand can’t compete with that level of self-abuse.
Well here are a few home truths that might change your mind.
The first thing you’ll notice is your grip. You can’t perform a sandbag workout without improving grip-strength, you just can’t. I spent years working out with weights and machines and developed a pretty kickass bod (if I do say so myself, and I do); but no matter how much metal I pushed I could never get my wrists and forearms to seriously pop. Since I started with the sandbag I’m like frickin’ Popeye at a spinach factory!
Tip: That obnoxious guy at work with the over-zealous handshake…that could be you! Use your newly-acquired grip-strength to crush the hands of annoying co-workers.
Strength & Stability
Unlike pure weightlifting, sandbags by design are unwieldy, and that constantly shifting load is your passport to getting seriously pumped. A sandbag workout forces your body through different planes of motion, engaging muscles you never thought you had. Just handling this bad-boy fires your core like a barbecue, targeting abs and obliques and God knows what else. So forget endless reps of pointless crunches or eating pizza in front of the TV while strapped into one those ludicrous electrified Ab-belts. Put down the pepperoni and pick up a sandbag.
Bags of Power
Chasing that elusive ‘V’-shape but still looking more like an ‘O’ or an ‘I’? You can’t beat the sandbag for raw power. While it’s possible to develop an efficient lifting style with a sandbag, it will constantly knock you out of your comfort zone, meaning you’ll have to work harder for longer.
The result: the kind of lean muscular physique that kept Stallone in work well into his 70s!
Strength & Endurance
Due to the challenging nature of sandbagging (copyright pending), you’ll see your fitness skyrocket. Even a simple workout with one of these sand-filled beauties will kick your metabolism into overdrive, torching calories for hours after you put it down.
Tip: Work-out in front of a full-length mirror to keep an eye on your technique (and check out that sweet guy or gal on the treadmill without getting barred from another gym).
Cash poor, time poor, or just an anti-social pariah who shuns the company of others? Good news! You can pick up a decent sandbag online for around thirty quid (fifty bucks to our friends across the Atlantic) and simply work out at home. Just check the height of your ceilings before attempting any overhead presses!
Tip: Put a wig on your sandbag and pretend you have a friend.
Bag of Tricks
I’m not telling you to ditch the weights altogether, don’t get me wrong, we all need some iron in our diet, but maybe it’s time to shake things up and work a little smarter.
What have you got to lose besides your love handles?
So, get yourself down to your local gym, and pick up a bag today. You won’t regret it.
Conrad Watson is a freelance copywriter based in the UK. He is a member of the professional copywriters’ association, has a BA Honours degree in English literature, and has an avid interest in all things exercise and fitness-related. Conrad has been writing creative copy for more than 15 years.