The Sandbag Workout – Exercises To Burn Fat and Get Fit

It may seem odd. It may be different than anything anyone else is doing. It would be easier to simply jog on the treadmill or glide on the elliptical machine. But, easy workouts do not get great results. These sandbag workouts are now becoming more popular. This training gives great benefits that are absent from common training systems. These workouts fit in nicely with a builders backyard workout.

Sand Bag Circuit

Sandbag Circuit Exercises

The Sandbag Bent Over Row

  • Come to a full standing position while holding the sandbag. Extend out your butt, while bending at the hips and bending your knees slightly.
  • Pull the sandbag towards the lower part of your chest, while extending the chest outward and keeping a strong arch in the lower back.
  • Drive the elbows upward and squeeze the shoulder blades back to achieve the maximum benefits.
  • This exercise trains the lower and upper back, bicep and shoulder muscles.

The Sandbag Get-Up

  • Place the sandbag on one shoulder while laying flat on your back. Drive the arm opposite the sandbag into the ground as you roll to the opposite shoulder.
  • Keeping your chest very tall, slowly raise yourself into a lunge position. Push into a standing position.
  • Do not look down as you return, very slowly, to the ground and to your original position.
  • This action will train your abdominal and hip muscles.

The Sandbag Shoulder Lunge

Sandbag Shoulder Lunge


  • Start with the sandbag outside your legs.
  • Grab the bag by its ends, after you squat down.
  • Transfer your weight to the opposite side as your raise the bag, explosively, above your head.
  • Return, again in a vigorous movement, to the starting position.
  • This exercise trains the glutes, obliques and shoulder muscles.

The Sandbag Rotational Lunge

Sandbag Rotational Lunge

  • Stand with the sandbag in front of your body.
  • Twist toward the opposite direction as you lunge backward.
  • Bring the front heal back to the original position. If you’d like to make the exercise even more difficult, increase your speed or swing the sandbag.
  • This exercise will train your hip, thigh and obliques muscles.

The Sandbag Bear Hug Squat

sandbag bear hug squat

  • Clasp your arms around the midpoint of the sandbag.
  • Elevate the chest and push the yourself into a deep squat position by extending your knees outward.
  • Do not lean forward, with any part of your torso, during the lift.
  • This exercise will train your hip, thigh, abdominal, upper back and arm muscles.

If your fitness routines have become boring, try odd-object lifting and sandbag training.

This is the concept of “odd-object” training. Odd object training is just as it sounds – exercising using odd objects, i.e. not using traditional barbells and dumbbells, but using anything that is available. Often people use kegs, stones, logs, tires as well as sandbags. More common but still considered off by some are kettlebells and heavy medicine balls, to name a few. Odd-object lifting was once thought to be a fad, like most newly-exposed training methods. This type of training has a history of great results going back thousands of years, unlike most new methods of physical fitness training.

Because most people only focus on the objects that are lifted, they miss the physical benefits that can only be achieved when training with odd objects. When your core is weak, you fail to perform functional core training lifts. The body is placed in a new, unfamiliar, and untrained position when odd objects are lifted. This unique positioning creates a completely new training stimulus for the core.

Training the entire body as one for the purpose of extreme calorie burning is not a new concept, but odd objects help immensely with this. Unused muscles begin to be used, meaning more calorie burning, muscle building, and fat loss. There is no mindless lifting with an odd object.  The body must work hard to lift every single repetition.

According to strength coach Brooks Kubik,  sandbag trainings leaves you feeling as sore as you do because the sandbags worked your body in ways you could not approach with a barbell alone. You got into the muscle areas you normally don’t work. You worked the ‘heck’ out of the stabilizers.

People get hurt doing simple things because they haven’t trained for real life experiences. After training with odd objects, the body is more efficient in preventing injuries such as those that occur with the lower back.

The current Strength Coach for the Air Force Academy, Allan Hedrick, wrote the following:

“Applying the concept of specificity, it makes sense that training with a fluid resistance is more sport-specific method of training as compared to lifting exclusively with a static resistance, because in most situations, athletes encounter a dynamic resistance (in the form of an opponent) as compared to the static resistance. Further, because the active fluid resistance enhances the need for stability and control, this type of training may reduce the opportunity for injury because of improved joint stability” (NSCA Journal, Vol.25 Number 4).

The availability of stones, tires, logs and other odd objects isn’t a realistic training option for most people. Sandbags are versatile and available, even in most commercial gyms.

They are unique because they not only shift their weight as they are lifted, but they also alter their form. This one piece of equipment unites all the components of odd-object lifting. It is for those very reasons that sandbags have been used by the top martial artists and wrestlers for many, many years.

Old lifts become new with sandbags because every exercise becomes exponentially more difficult.  There are also lots of new lifts created with sandbag training. Listed below are a few illustrations of how some exercises become more challenging with sandbags.

Workout programs and sandbag training systems are available here.

2 Comments on “The Sandbag Workout – Exercises To Burn Fat and Get Fit”

  1. charudatta says:

    I think you should include the clean and press too. it’s amazing as a compound exercise.

  2. MotleyHealth says:

    Good call, clean and press is a great exercise.

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