Sandbags have been around for centuries.  They were used by wrestlers, strongmen and in martial arts.  In recent years it has caught the mainstream as functional fitness for both the elite exerciser and the everyday athlete. Sandbags are shown as a serious strength and conditioning too.  In this article, I will give you some basic reasons, guidelines, and strategies for incorporating the sandbag in your workout.

It is great for conditioning and increasing cardio heart rates as well as constant integrating unstable movement in some HITT activities.  Dumbbells are stable and sandbags with the same weight are not.  Sandbags challenge both the mind and the body. Another benefit is that they are inexpensive and can be made cheap with homemade equipment or just a duffle bag securing closed.

sandbag training

Sandbags are good to make sure you use good form and do not allow you to use poor form.  It forces you not only to deal with the unstable conditions but also allows you to you use various forces on your arms.  It is important that you use the three planes of motion of sagittal, frontal and transverse.  This is an important facet of training for sports and daily life but also as a means to prevent injury and maintain general structural health.  Besides movement in these planes of motion, it is also important to consider the practice of stressing these planes.  The sandbag and its off-center load automatically stress the body in a true multi-plantar fashion. Lifting a constantly moving object like the sandbag requires and develops your stabilizing muscles like few other things.  You simply cannot underestimate the balance and control required to lift a heavy sandbag overhead.  Regular sandbag lifting builds a strong, stable musculoskeletal system.  Uses for the sandbag as a substitute weight for traditional weight for traditional resistance options like barbells dumbbells or kettlebells.

Sandbags are great tools for good functional strength.  Training with an unstable load means that the weight you are lifting is constantly shifting as you lift it.  Sand is fluid and even with a full bag the weight is constantly fluctuating, turning and twisting. The idea is that the unstable load recruits more muscle stabilizers thereby making your body stronger in a functional way.  It mimics everyday activities of daily living such as a moving small child as you lift him up, lifting a stack of heavy water bottles, large suitcases, hefty weight of heavy grocery bags and garbage bags ready to go outside into the recycling bin. This is beneficial for both the professional athlete and the weekend warrior.

Basic arm moves of the sandbag include bicep curls, shoulder raises, and triceps presses.  Lower body includes squats. side squats, front and back lunges.  Arm positions of the sandbag include front, back, side and backward. If you are looking for something to mix up your routine for both the armchair athlete or want to integrate a different part of strength training to your routine sandbags are a great addition to your weight workout.  Unstable, ever-changing and imagine using only one piece of equipment for the entire body check out the sandbag.

For information about sandbag training check out my Pinterest Page at

Was this Article Helpful?

If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons below. You will also find other great articles at “Exercises“.

Christina Chapan

Christina Chapan

Christina Lee Steele Chapan is a certified personal trainer with four certifications from ISSA ACE, AFAA and SCW. She specializes with fitness for children and those adults and children with special needs. In addition to attaining her certifications, she is also a certified elementary and special education school teacher with a B.S. in Elementary Education, a minor in Biblical Studies from North Central University, an endorsement in Special Education, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Development from Governors State University. Her passion is for training the future of tomorrow. She is available for training, speaking and writing.
Christina Chapan

Latest posts by Christina Chapan


News collects all the stories you want to read