Pack on Serious Size and Strength with just a Sandbag

There’s something primally brutal about sandbag training. The unwieldy, dynamic nature of lifting a bag means no two reps are the same, which makes it the perfect training for real world situations. Add into that the core strength, work capacity and general mental grit they can help to build, and there are really very few reasons not to be getting down and dirty with sandbag a few times a week.

This session, designed to target your entire body, combines heavy bag work and bodyweight moves to hit your shoulders, back, chest and legs – all while dealing a serious blow to your heart and lungs, building strength, size and stamina.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and work our way through as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following circuit. After each round rest approximately the same length of time the preceding round took, or if you’ve got a partner work in a ‘you go, I go’ fashion, resting while your partner works.

1. Bag-To-Shoulder x 3

With the sandbag on the floor between your feet, hinge down to grip it in both hands, keeping your back straight (A). Hug the bag, lift it to your chest, then sit down resting it on your thighs. Now stand up explosively and simultaneously thrust the bag up and onto your shoulder (B). Drop to the floor and repeat, alternating shoulders each rep.

2. Sandbag Row x 6

After your final bag-to-shoulder, reset with the bag between your feet. Hinge down with a flat back and a slight bend in the knee, and get a good grip on your bag (A). Keeping your elbows close to your body, row the bag up towards your stomach, squeezing your shoulder blades together in the top position (B), before slowly lowering the bag under control back to the ground.

3. Bear Hug Squat x 9

Rows completed, gather your thoughts, squat down and wrap your arms around your bag. Hug the bag as tightly as possible before standing upright (A); the bag should be covering your entire torso. Squat down until the crease of your hip passes your knee (B) before returning to standing. Maintain an upright posture and tight squeeze on the bag throughout.

4. Hindu Press-ups X Max Reps

Drop your bag and finish each round with a high-rep, bodyweight burnout. Assume a press-up position, next push your hips up to the sky (A), flex at the elbows, lowering your nose to the ground between your hands before shifting your weight forward. Push the ground away until your hips are on the floor and your torso upright (B). Reverse this movement and repeat, finding a rhythm.

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