Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sandbag Training for Fat Loss and Fitness

Part 2

In part 1 of this article we gave you a guide on how to get started making your own kitbag with minimal cost and effort. In this next part we are going to talk about some of the exercise benefits along with some of our favourite exercises. In the final part, we will look at how to put them all together to make some simple circuits that can target explosive power and in particular energy system work.

One of the great things about kitbags is that they offer tremendous versatility and can be easily used indoors or out, making them ideal for bootcamp type training such as what we do. They can also be thrown about without fear of damaging them or ruining flooring. The slightly awkward nature of them means that they can also be used in a wide variety of lifting positions or techniques, as well as providing a truly 'functional' training challenge. The uneven and slightly off-centre weight distribution challenges the whole body, working to stabilise the load while lifting, walking, lunging, squatting, or throwing.

So, let's take a look at some of the basic exercises you can get started with using the bag.


Obviously this exercise is a staple in olympic lifting, but this is a bit different. The idea is to simply get the bag up to the chest using an explosive lift. Done with the kitbag this is a far less technical movement than the olympic lift done with a barbell, there is no need to teach a scoop or double knee bend or any of that stuff. Simply grab the bag with both hands on the canvas handle and rip it off the floor up to the mid chest height. From there as the bag reaches the top of its momentum, release the handle and 'catch' the bag with both arms underneath it.

Clean - Zercher Squat

Following on from our first movement, we add in the Zercher squat, an exercise that is absolutely perfect for use with the kitbag. In a Zercher squat the weight is carried at the front of the body, much more like it would be in any real life lifting task. From the finish of the catch position in the clean, you simply squat down, sitting back with the hips and driving the knees forward to achieve a good depth. Simple, but very effective. For an added challenge drop the bag after each rep and begin every rep with a clean, performing the movement as a combo.

Farmers Carry

Simple but very effective, grab a bag in each hand and run with it till either your grip or your lungs give out.

Farmers Carry High/Low

We've just tweaked up the conventional farmers carry, clean one bag up and onto the shoulder then bend down and pick up the other one in a low carry position and you are away.

Clean to Overhead Throw

This movement really develops explosive power and the anaerobic energy systems. Each repetition is a real total body effort from the feet up to the shoulders. Make sure you develop a strong lower back to get the most from these exercises as the lower back really is key in harnessing the strength of the lower body and transforming it into an expression of upper body power. This exercise is a real flashback to the days of hard physical jobs on farms and in yards loading or unloading and is one of our favourites.

Walking Lunges

No surprises here, they do exactly what they say on the tin! grab the bag, toss it over the shoulder or alternatively across the shoulders and get lunging....

Check out our video here to see full demonstrations of the above exercises and more....we decided to record this straight after 30 minutes of front squats and it shows, so don't expect perfect form! Enjoy!

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