Sandbag 101: The Two Best Sandbag Exercises


All of my clients know that one of my favorite training tools is the simple sandbag. It’s dynamic load is murder on the stabilizers, grip, and upper back while building athleticism, conditioning, and comfort in uncomfortable positions. It’s a fantastic way to teach the body to take the pure strength built with the barbells and transfer it to more “real world” athletics.

We use the CRAP out of them at Relentless.

And since they’re easy and cheap to make I think that everyone should have a couple in their home gym.

To get you started, here’s a couple of vids I shot a while back that detail two basic sandbag exercises: The Clean and basic Shouldering.

The Sandbag Clean

There’s a couple of points I can’t stress enough when doing Sandbag Cleans:

1. Start each clean from a good, deadlift-like position. Don’t get all hunched-backed and stiff-legged. That’s exactly how out-of-shape weekend warriors hurt their backs picking up a 40 lb bag of mulch. Don’t be that guy.

2. SQUAT the sandbag back to the ground and release it to the floor. This will save your sandbag (dropping it on the floor busts them up) and it will also help you practice good squat form. Two birds, one stone.

Sandbag Shouldering

With Sandbag Shouldering the same rules apply as the Clean: Good start position and squat it down. Also really pay attention to using your hips to “pop” the bag up onto your shoulder. You’re not just yanking it up there with your arms.

Build a moderately-weighted sandbag (40-100 lbs, depending on your strength) and do five rounds of the following as quickly as possible:

Sandbag Cleans x6
Sandbag Shouldering x6 each side

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