Strength - a vital component for all athletes and those that want to improve their fitness, functional movement and quality of life. More than ever before, strength is being heralded as a key component of fitness and perhaps the most important of all. Traditionally a staple of male training programs we’re also seeing many more females involved in strength training on a recreational and professional level. But how do you improve strength? And how can sandbag training help?
One of the most over-thought aspects of modern fitness, strength is actually a pretty simple concept. Lift, rest and repeat with a little more weight. It really can be that straightforward. There are many other factors involved here but, in essence, most could see amazing results from following that standard, linear progressive approach to strength training.
Sandbag training can be used effectively for developing strength as it shares many characteristics similar to other forms of free weight resistance training. While it might be more challenging to lift a comparable weight in a sandbag to a barbell, that is not to say that it won’t work in the same way. Good quality programming that includes a range of compound lifts (multi joint, multi muscle), adequate rest and progressively adding weight to your sandbag will be the keys to making a sandbag training strength program work for you. There are also a number of unique features that sandbag training offers that could make it the perfect strength training choice for you.
#1 Sandbag Training Is More Affordable
A Brute Force Sandbag is a considerably more affordable option than other forms of free weight. Plus, increasing the weight of your sandbag (which you’ll need to do as you get stronger) requires that you purchase more sand - an incredibly cheap form of weight, and in many cases free. With our Heavy Hitter sandbag you can have a 300lb free weight for a fraction of the cost of purchasing the same weight in kettlebells, barbells and plates or dumbbells.
#2 You Can Create More ‘Usable’ Strength
Most people know that they need to improve their strength but have you ever really asked yourself “Why do I need to improve my strength?”. If you want to be able to improve strength for your sports (particularly for things like Football, Rugby, MMA, Wrestling and Judo) then sandbag training has a great carryover. Likewise, anyone wishing to be able to do more in daily life (like lifting and moving boxes or furniture) can get great results from sandbag training.
The old advice of “you get better at what you do” holds true with sandbag training. Improving your ability to operate a machine in the gym may not have a great impact on your usable strength, improving your ability to lift a real-world awkward object like the sandbag will.
#3 Sandbag Training Forces You To Get Better At Everything
These are all common problems in strength training. We routinely see people who don’t deadlift, don’t squat or do too much pressing. The great thing about sandbag training, some would call it organic, is that it’s actually pretty tough to make these mistakes.
Even if we look at the example of the back squat we can see a few key points that illustrate this. In order to back squat the sandbag you’ll first need to clean the sandbag up to chest height before pressing it overhead and then lowering it across the shoulders. This takes tremendous strength, power and grip - all before you’ve even started the main lift. While some see this as a disadvantage I actually see the exact opposite. It forces you to create the ability to handle this awkward object in a range of different ways and positions.
There is no need to re-create the wheel here. A good quality strength training program will normally contain:
There should be a focus on lifting heavy so that means lower reps (1-5) and higher rest periods (3 or more minutes). While most strength training programs will traditionally utilise the barbell, there is absolutely no reason that you cannot substitute it for the sandbag. The Starting Strength program or Wendler 5/3/1 are both excellent programs with a history of producing great results. The simplest way to approach a strength training program is to pick 1 or 2 lifts per session, work hard and then increase the weight for each subsequent workout. You should not underestimate the power of taking this approach.
If you’ve been putting off starting your strength training program due to lack of access to the traditional tools or a gym then you should get started with a sandbag strength training program - it might just be the catalyst you need to start seeing great results.
This article was originally published on Brute Force Sandbags.