How to Get Strong and Savagely Conditioned with Sandbags

Travis Stoetzel Strength and Conditioning

I LOVE training with sandbags. Sandbags are by far one of my favorite odd object training tools to use when I’m really looking to get that edge.

They are truly beyond unforgiving, but in a good way :). Especially, when you use them right. The reason I say this is because there’s often an important component missing for when it comes to sandbag training.

The missing piece? The lack of HEAVY lifting. I see a lot of awesome “burner” type workouts that’ll get ya tired and breathing hard, but I don’t see a lot of workouts that’ll actually build strength.

But of course, it can be tough to get access to a heavier sandbag. When you have the option to choose from a whole barrage of different sized sandbags, it’s easy.

Just grab a HEAVY one and go to work. If not, there’s your issue.

So, for this program, instead of just giving you a straight up 3 day template to follow, I’m going to also share a few of the methods I’ve used with athletes to help them bring that strength component into play a bit more, even when they don’t have a heavy sandbag to use.

Despite whether you have the choice between using a heavy or light sandbag, you’ll still be able to crank out some amazing results with this set up. So, let me quickly share some of the methods.

#1 | SLOW TEMPO NEGATIVES AND PAUSED REPS

This isn’t anything grand, but it’s a highly underused method.

If all you have are light sandbags and you want to spark a different response training wise, I like slower tempo reps combined with pauses.

Take a 60 lbs sandbag for 10 reps and it might be pretty light for most guys. Take that same bag and crank a 3 second negative down, then pause 3 seconds in the bottom, then explode back up.

Hit 10 reps of that. Those 10 reps are going to feel a whole lot different. You can use this with pretty much all of the basic strength movements. It works best with squats.

#2 | MAKE THE MOVEMENT HARDER

So let’s say you only have a 60 lbs sandbag and you want to try and deadlift heavy…

That 60 lbs sandbag isn’t going to do the trick. What I like to do then is single things out. So, instead of a normal deadlift, how about a single leg deadlift?

Now that 60 lbs sandbag isn’t so light 🙂

I like to do the same thing on squats, but I single legs out by doing either a Bulgarian split squat, single leg step up, or even a basic split squat.

Real basic method, but again, this method is often underused.

#3 | MAKE YOURSELF HEAVIER

The last method I wanted to share before digging into the programming is another very simple one…

That is to make yourself HEAVIER.

But, how do you do that?

With a weight vest of course 😉

There’s nothing more SAVAGE than loading yourself up with a weight vest and then cranking out some sandbag training.

The extra resistance goes a LONG way, and if you’re stuck with just some smaller bags, putting on a weight vest can do wonders.

I prefer the newest weight vest that have plates in them VS the bulkier weight vest, but if all you have is a bulky weight vest, so be it.

My favorite way to use a vest and sandbag together are with squats and deadlifts.


Travis Stoetzel

Travis Stoetzel is a certified strength and conditioning coach who owns and operates The Forged Athlete Gym in Omaha NE. He uses a blend of unconventional training methods via sandbags, kettlebells, and bodyweight mixed with in traditional barbel and dumbell training to help improve athletic performance and physique enhancement. His clientele range from crazy weekend warriors, high school athletes, mma fighters, military personnel, all the way up to Olympic caliber wrestlers. You can find out more info about Travis and his aggressive strength methods at TravisStoetzel.com & Trainaggressive.com.

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