The 10 Best Fitness Sandbags
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in March of 2017. Although not yet universally well-known, don't be surprised if fitness sandbags become the next exercise craze to go mainstream. The shifting nature of the filling makes it nearly impossible to get complacent, so your muscles are continually challenged throughout the workout. They're equally suitable for use in a home or commercial gym, as they're inexpensive and have a small footprint. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 03, 2020:
We had to remove the Rep Fitness Training and the Ultra Fitness Gear Dynamic due to availability concerns. We added the Yes4All Heavy-Duty, a popular and highly customizable option that comes in a variety of patterns and sizes, the largest of which can hold up to 200 pounds of sand. We also included the Synergee Adjustable, the shell of which is triple-stitched to protect against tearing.
October 03, 2019:
In looking over the list, we learned that the IHeartSynergee Pro frequently rips at the seams, even after light to moderate workouts. We encountered similar quality concerns with the Fit-Ops Alpha. Both have been eliminated from the rankings. We also removed the Meister Elite due to a lack of availability.
The Rep Fitness Training is available in a vast array of sizes and weights. Not only do reports indicate that it will hold up to abuse for a long period of time, users really seem to like its heavy-duty material and comfortable handles. We moved this one up a bit on the list.
We added three new models as replacements. One of the more advantageous aspects of the Ultra Fitness Gear Dynamic is the strategic placement of its five sets of handles — with so many different grip options, you can perform a wide variety of workouts. The Ludus Imperium Strongman is a great choice for those who are into super-heavy lifting, as it offers 200- and 250-pound bags. All of these items are versatile, with the ability to serve as replacements for bulky exercise machines, squat racks, and bench presses.
Gronk Fitness Premium He may be retired from the NFL, but that doesn’t mean Rob Gronkowski and his bulked-up brothers have lost their passion for working out. This bag from the Gronk Fitness company has comfortable, ribbed handles that are easy to grip for all kinds of exercises, from barbell-style training to log lifts. gronkfitnessproducts.com
Goruck Sandbag This tough bag from Goruck is designed to withstand harsh applications, so don’t be shy if you’re a fan of intense workout sessions in the garage or outdoor trainings in the woods or on the beach. It’s available in four sizes and comes with a lifetime guarantee. goruck.com
The Many Benefits Of Sandbag Training
One of the first things anybody who trains with a sandbag will notice is how unstable they are.
Sandbags might just be one of the oldest strength training tools in history. Because they are such a simple piece of equipment, it is hard to know exactly when and where the practice of training with them began. The benefits they offer, however, are no mystery.
One of the first things anybody who trains with a sandbag will notice is how unstable they are. This instability is key to the unique style of conditioning they provide the body. The sand inside of the bag constantly shifts and moves as the user performs their exercises. Because the sand is always moving, so is the bag's center of gravity. Any time you train with an unstable weight, or on an unstable platform like a bosu ball, you put more strain on your stabilizer muscles than you do with traditional weights and platforms. This requires a higher focus on balance and control, making it more difficult, and thereby more effective. You'll quickly find that you can only use a fraction of the weight you normally lift when working with a sandbag as opposed to traditional dumbbells or barbells.
Training with a sandbag is more akin to real life situations than training with standard dumbbells, meaning what you do in the gym, or in the field, transfers over to every day life more readily. Anybody involved in contact sports or physically demanding jobs will notice a marked increase in their abilities with regular sandbag training. It will also make the average Joe less susceptible to many common injuries, as their increased core and stabilizer muscle strength makes them less likely to hurt themselves while going about their daily activities.
Another thing first time users of sandbags will notice is how much grip strength they require. Most sandbag exercises require you to squeeze tightly onto the bag either throughout the entire motion, or at set times when moving it from position to position. Not only does this increase your hand strength, but the wrist's, as well. Regularly working out the hands and wrists may help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sandbag Training Tips
Sandbags shouldn't be thought of as a replacement for barbells and dumbbells. They aren't. Instead, they are one more tool that you can add to your arsenal of fitness equipment to realize greater results from your workouts. You shouldn't completely stop using traditional weights and start using a sandbag, but rather incorporate them into your strength training regimen.
The goal in sandbag training is to use the instability to your advantage.
Sandbags are best utilized when performing total-body exercises, like clean and jerks or squats. When using a sandbag, you'll be able to add more variety to your motions, as well as to your weight placement. Sandbags are very versatile when it comes to where you place them on your body or how you hold them. Each time you perform an exercise, slightly vary where the weight is. This makes it much harder for your body to adapt to it, resulting in quicker gains. You'll be creating muscle confusion on a constant basis throughout each and every workout.
Always focus on your form when doing any kind of sandbag exercise. Form is important no matter what kind of workout you are doing, but doubly so in sandbag training where there is greater instability, hence a greater chance for injury. Keep your core braced to prevent stress on the spine, and keep control of the bag at all times.
Since a bag becomes more effective the more unstable it is, it is best not to overfill them. Overfilling a bag gives the sand less room to move around, making it firmer, and thereby more stable. The goal in sandbag training is to use the instability to your advantage. It is worth noting though, that too much instability can be dangerous for novices. For this reason it is best to start with a smaller bag that is filled closer to capacity and work your way up to larger bags that are less filled in relation to their maximum capacity. As you get comfortable working with sandbags, you can slowly increase the weight and instability to continually challenge your body. Adding more weight over time is key, since studies show that progressive overload plays a large role in muscle growth.
Great Sandbag Exercises To Get You Started
The number of exercises you can perform with a weighted sandbag is almost endless, and the more you use one, the more comfortable you will feel trying out new ones. Here are just a few to get you started.
In addition to traditional squat varieties you do with a barbell or dumbbells, with a sandbag you can also do bear hug squats.
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do, and there are many variations to make them more effective or target additional muscles. While any kind of squat will hit the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps, you can easily also engage the erector spinae, upper back, shoulders, and ab muscles into the mix by adjusting your motions or placement of the weight. In addition to traditional squat varieties you do with a barbell or dumbbells, with a sandbag you can also do bear hug squats. Simply hug the sandbag close to your chest and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Push your hips slightly back and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then reverse your motion and stand up. This variation allows you to engage your chest and arm muscles, in addition to your core and leg muscles.
The around the world is another unique exercise that is best performed with a sandbag. Simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart once again, and hold the sandbag out in front of you. Pivot to the right and lift the bag in a circle over and behind your head, bringing it all the way around and back down in front of your from your opposite side. Repeat the movement 10 to 20 times, alternating the direction with each repetition.
If you really want to give your chest and core a workout, try the bag drag. Place the bag on the floor in front of you and assume a push-up position with the bag just off to your left side. Take your right hand and drag the bag underneath you and out to your right side, staying in the push-up position the whole time. Repeat the procedure with your left hand.