The humble sandbag

Probably one of the most versatile training tools in your arsenal, the humble sandbag.

Raw, Neanderthal, aggressive training. Awkward, unruly and exhausting. I LOVE IT; so here are 5 great sandbag exercises from my own training, to add to your training repertoire.

Sandbag to shoulder:

Hinge from the waist to grip the bag with a straight back (A). Hug the bag to your chest and rest it on your thighs. Drive through your heels to move upright and place the bag onto your shoulder (B). Hold for a breath, then drop it and set up to repeat on the other side, alternating until you hit your target reps.

Training idea: EMOM 1 rep at 1 minute, 2 reps at 2 minutes and so on (add a rep each minute until failure). Re-test again a few weeks later.

Sandbag squat:

Repeat the start of the Sandbag to shoulder (hinging to gather the bag) stand up with the bag, but this time hug it tightly to your chest (A). With a flat back and upright torso, squat down until your hip passes below your knee (B). Think about sending your hips back, then down, to stop yourself from tilting forward onto your toes. Drive through your feet.

Training Idea: Tabata - 30 seconds work, 2 seconds rest. As many (good quality) reps in the time period.

Sandbag bear hug carry:

Set out a clear activity area (we want as long a distance as possible, but the area needs to be safe and clear, so find a space where you can do repeat carries). Keeping the bag firmly gripped to your chest (A), take short, powerful strides; head up and back straight (B), short labour breaths. If you drop the bag, pick it up from where you left off and continue. Choose a heavier bag for short distances, lighter bag for timed carries.

Training idea: 3 minutes on the clock. Travel 10 metres (or a set/measured distance if you have less space), drop and recollect. How many lengths can you achieve in 3 minutes? Re-test again a few weeks later.

Bent over rows:

Collect the bag to your chest (as above), then keeping your back straight, bend forward slightly.

Push your hips out and keep your chest raised so you don't flex your back. Keeping your elbows tucked in, raise the bag up and towards your chest and back down.

Bent over rows target your lats and rear delts and are ideal for strengthening, as well as for recovery during bootcamp and HIIT sessions.

Training idea: 21, 15, 9 Why not add these into a sandbag complex?

Each exercise, repeated each set.

Set 1 - 21 reps of each

Set 2 - 15 reps of each

Set 3 - 9 reps of each

Sandbag bent over row Sandbag squat Sandbag to shoulder

Sandbag Floor Press:

Perfect for developing your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, building muscle tissue and strength. It also works your serratus anterior and biceps. Lie on the floor with your bag across your chest. Take a strong grip as you will need to keep the bag as stiff as possible. Without flaring your elbows, press the bag away from your body until your arms are fully extended. Reverse under control back to your chest and repeat.

Training idea:

Sandbag FAQs:


There are so many benefits to sandbag training and they’re great to add into your workouts to help mix things up.

• Versatile – firstly you can use them for almost any exercise. Squats, chest press, rows, planks and more.

• Build strength – our sandbags go up to 60kg which makes them particularly challenging to use. Excellent for building strength and muscle.

• Muscle endurance – sandbags are great for endurance training. For this style of training you want to use your sandbag to do between 20-30 reps per set.

• Cardio training – doing sandbag runs and jumping squats will really get your heartrate up making sandbags perfect for increasing your cardiovascular endurance.

• Core strength – by using your sandbag for dynamic exercises, you automatically engage your core. So, they’re great for working your abs and lower back too.

• Fat burning – using a sandbag is great for burning fat as well as calories.

• Low impact – because sandbags are soft, you can afford to perform less rigid movements.


How much you train with always comes back to your goals. If you’re starting out, train with a low weight just so you can get a feel for the types of exercises you’ll be doing.

If you’re looking to build strength, train so that you reach failure between

3-6 reps.

For building muscle, you want to be failing at around 8-12 reps.

And finally, for endurance training, you want to be doing between 20-30 reps.

Ultimately, sandbags have a variety of uses and can help you reach your fitness goals.

And by doing compound exercises with your sandbag, you can really maximise your training efficiency. You can find out more about compound exercises in our blog: seven best compound lifts for maximum gains.

Here is a link to the leading quality sandbags on the market - Sandbags – CERBERUS Strength ( Use code ‘stubbs’ at checkout for discount.

Ah and following the disaster I faced when filling my sandbags, check out the blog on how to fill. Save yourself some hassle! How to fill Your New Sandbag. – CERBERUS Strength (

Big love,

Stubbs x

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