Sandbag Training for the Upper Body

sandbag trainingSandbag training is a great way to work on your  physique and improve your functional strength.   Functional strength is a term used to describe an individual’s  ability to perform day-to-day tasks like lifting a grocery bag from the ground.  The awkward and unstable nature of a sandbag mimics objects you might have to lift around your house.

Sandbags are more difficult to handle than a dumbbell or bar.  Thus, sandbag training can challenge your entire body and burn more calories than traditional strength training.  The four exercises below will challenge you whole body while building strength  in your upper body.

Sandbag overhead press

This exercise has excellent applications to real life.  Lifting ungainly objects overhead  is a day-to-day activity that can cause injury if you execute it in bad form.

  1. Grab ahold of the top of the bag  and clean it up to the shoulders.
  2. Keep a tight grip on the bag, position the bag on top of your fists, elbows pointing downwards.
  3. Brace the core and press the bag directly overhead. Be careful not to arch your back while lifting.
  4. Lower back to shoulders and repeat.

Bent-over sandbag row

This exercise will strengthen the upper back while challenging your abdominal core.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep a strong hold on the sandbag
  2. Bend at the hips so that your torso makes about a 45 degree angle with the floor, brace the core, keep your spine neutral and let your arms hang down.
  3. Exhale and keep your elbows close to the body as you pull the sandbag up to your abdomen and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
  4. Return to the start position and then repeat.

Sandbag bear hug walk

This exercise will work the entire body while targeting the shoulders and the biceps.

  1. Pick up the sandbag and hold it in a bear hug (wrap your arms tightly around the sandbag and press it against your chest )
  2. Begin walking with the sandbag.  Keep your core tight to maintain a neutral spine and good posture.
  3. Try to walk a little bit further each time you attempt the walk.

Sandbag floor press

The floor press is designed to strengthen the chest and shoulders.

  1. Lay down on the floor, on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place the sandbag across the hips and then bridge your hips to help you lift  up the bag and place it onto your chest.
  3. Firmly grip of the sandbag from underneath
  4. Exhale, press the bag up over your chest until your arms are fully extended.
  5. Inhale, lower the bag back down toward the chest with control.



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