If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s usually around now, a few weeks into January, that those once-lofty, aspirational New Year’s resolutions encounter a bit of resistance. Maybe your goals were a bit too aggressive, or perhaps the commitment to bettering yourself starts to feel less like a thrilling new shift and more like a laborious routine. Well, if your resolutions for 2022 are fitness-centric, there’s one workout tool that’s bound to shake up the repetitive routine of dumbbells for strength training and cardio for burning fat — we’re talking about sandbags for workouts.
An incredibly diverse weapon for burning calories and building strength, workout sandbags are big, bulky and awkward. They’re constantly changing their center of mass and thus forcing your muscles to stabilize and adjust on the fly during high-intensity sandbag workouts. Most sandbags look like a long duffel bag filled with smaller bags, making it easy to adjust the weight. The strategically placed handles make it simple to translate your favorite traditional exercises to the bag. There are some smaller iterations of a sandbag that look more like a kettlebell, but for this article, we’ll focus primarily on the larger type of true fitness sandbags.
Popular in the Crossfit community, the best workout sandbags will make you feel (and look) like a total badass. Whether you’re crushing leg day or trying to build up arm strength for beach season, the best sandbag workouts will strengthen multiple muscle groups at the same time, while also ramping up your heart rate for some serious calorie-burning benefits.
Best of all? Sandbag workouts are fun as hell, and can be tackled pretty much anywhere (looking at you, workout-from-home-dudes). First, we’ll cover the best sandbags for workouts so you can keep your 2022 fitness goals on track. Then, we’ll go into detail on our six favorite sandbag workouts, with videos to help you get the hang of specific exercises.
The Best Workout Sandbags
What are the top workout sandbags for your training routine? We’ve sourced a few of the top options for you below. Luckily, because workout sandbags aren’t particularly complicated to produce, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to most strength-building workout gear. We’ve found sandbags as heavy as 400 pounds, and you can find options as light as 5 pounds.
Where are the best places to buy workout sandbags online? Amazon offers the widest selection and most convenience, but you can also buy directly from fitness brands such as Titan Fitness, GORUCK and Rogue. For beginners, we’d recommend starting with some of the Amazon options, while more experienced athletes will benefit from the heavier sandbags featured below.
1. Yes4All Sandbags
Yes4All makes some of our favorite affordable fitness gear you can buy on Amazon, and its sandbags are no exception. They come in three different colors and four different sizes, which range between intervals of 5-25 pounds at the smallest, and 125-200 pounds at the large end. Reviewers note the sturdy constructions, which is important in heavy-duty workout gear like this. And at only $75 for the largest bag, this is one of the best sandbag deals you’ll find.
2. Brute Force Workout Sandbags
If durability is your priority, we highly recommend these sandbags from Brute Force, which are some of the sturdiest and strongest on the market. Available in three sizes — mini, athlete and strongman — and constructed with a military-grade synthetic fabric, these sandbags are available in a number of eye-catching colors. That quality comes at a price, though, as the mini bag starts at around $120. Still, if you’re planning for the long haul, these sandbags are built to last.
3. Garage Fit Sandbags
With three weight intervals comparable to the other options on this list, Garage Fit’s sandbags are a great option for any sandbag workout. The Army-inspired camouflage makes these bags feel particularly badass. The included filler bags feature double-sealed liners with double-sealed velcro to make sure no sand escapes during even the most intense workouts.
4. Rogue Workout Sandbags
Rogue Sandbags come in small, medium, large and extra-large options, with the extra-large weighing up to 220 pounds when fully loaded with sand inserts. These American-made workout sandbags have been used in the Reebok CrossFit Games, and they’re constructed with military-grade 1000D MIL spec Cordura brand nylon fabric. Rogue Sandbags are the most versatile pick, as the company lets you choose between a variety of sizes, weights and filler materials.
5. GORUCK Sandbag 1.0
For athletes who are deadly serious about their workout routine, GORUCK makes heavy-duty workout gear that can withstand the most intense outdoor workouts. Like the Rogue workout sandbags featured above, these sandbags are constructed with 1000D MIL spec Cordura brand nylon fabric. These sandbags go through an intesive testing process to ensure they’ll never rip or wear down, which is why they’re backed with a lifetime guarantee. We do wish there were more options and weight available, but with GORUCK, quality is never in doubt. These fitness sandbags also come with extra-durable padded handles so you don’t injure your hands while performing sandbag exercises.
6. Titan HD Sandbags
Titan Fitness has an entire line of workout sandbags that’s worth a close look if you’re serious about strength training. And if you’re looking for extra-heavy, heavy-duty sandbags for serious workout sessions, then you’ll want to order the company’s HD sandbags, which come in weights of 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and 400 pounds. That’s the kind of intense workout elite NFL players would try, and if you think you can handle it, head to Titan Fitness to order your own set.
7. DARAMU Sandbag
BEST SANDBAG WORKOUT KIT
If you’re new to sandbag workouts and want to experiment with two bag designs, we recommend this kit from DARAMU which features a traditional sandbag and a kettlebell design. The included training guide showcases some popular sandbag workouts to help you get started. At just under $50, this is an affordable way to get into the sandbag workout game, but if you’re serious about tossing some bags around, we suggest going with a heavier-duty option.
The Best Sandbag Workouts
You can group the following exercises into one circuit-style sandbag workout, or incorporate them individually into a regular workout. The choice is yours.
However, we wouldn’t recommend trying all six of these exercises on the same day. As we explained up top, the best sandbag workouts are tough, and you might just come to have a love-hate relationship with these fitness tools, which are so much more than meets the eye.
1. Bent Over Row
No back workout is complete without the bent-over row. Traditionally performed with a barbell or dumbbells, the bent-over row is easily translated to the sandbag thanks to its convenient hand straps. You can grab the sandbag on the top handles for a movement that will target your lats, or opt for a wider grip that will work your upper back.
To begin, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist, maintaining a neutral spine, and pick up the sandbag with the grip of your choosing. Use the muscle in your back to pull the bag toward your stomach, pinching your shoulder blades to ensure those muscles are engaged. Slowly return to the start and repeat for reps.
2. Turkish Get-Up
In the fitness community, some argue for workouts that strictly adopt functional exercises — movements that build full-body strength and mirror motions you’d do in everyday life. Well, the Turkish getup is about as functional as an exercise can be. True to its name, it pretty much just entails getting quickly off the ground, which is made more challenging by the weight of a sandbag.
The Turkish getup is best understood visually, so we recommend checking out the video below for a primer. Make sure you complete sets of this exercise with the sandbag on each shoulder.
3. Sandbag Lunges
The sandbag lends itself pretty well to a traditional lunge, thanks to those handy side straps, which mirror a wide barbell grip you might use for a barbell lunge. You can perform sandbag lunges in place, or — if you have the space — try walking lunges for a workout that covers some ground.
Place the sandbag behind your neck and across the tops of your shoulders, reaching up with each hand to secure it in place. For lunges in place, take one large step forward, sinking until your back knee touches the ground. Your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement. Use your glutes and quads to push back to the start, then alternate with the other leg.
4. Sandbag Clean
The power clean is a more advanced, Olympic lift and a favorite among functional fitness aficionados, particularly in the CrossFit camp. While it’s traditionally performed on a barbell, the sandbag actually offers a more forgiving opportunity to help perfect your power clean form, as the bulky nature of the bag doesn’t put quite as much stress on your wrists. As we’ll see later on, this can easily be combined with other sandbag workout movements (like the squat or press) for one mega sandbag exercise.
Begin in a squat stance with your feet just wider than your shoulders. Grab the sandbag with a neutral grip that’s not too narrow. The movement starts with a deadlift motion, so hinge at the waist and bend your knees slightly to reach down and bring the bag up to your waist. From there, jerk your arms up and flip the bag so it rests against your chest. This movement takes some time to perfect, so try it slowly before ramping up the speed.
5. Squat-to-Overhead Press
Harnessing a new piece of gear helps shake up your workout routine, and the sandbag, in particular, injects some opportunities for creativity. This squat-to-overhead press combines a few key compound movements that target a ton of different muscles on your lower and upper body. Seriously, you’re gonna feel the burn on this one.
Start with a neutral stance and the sandbag racked against your chest. If you really want to make things interesting, you can incorporate a power clean at the beginning to turn this into a clean-squat press. Push your hips back and let your butt sink down toward the ground. Go as low as you’re comfortable, then drive up with your legs. As you reach the upright position, push the bag up and over your head to complete the press.
6. Sandbag Toss
Alright, here’s where things get really fun. To finish off our sandbag workout, we have the sandbag toss. There are a bunch of variations of this exercise, but each will provide an excellent full-body workout, and make you feel like a badass in the process.
For this first variation, you’ll actually be tossing the bag as far as you can. Grab the bag with a grip of your choice and hold it against your waist. Bend over to gain momentum, letting the bag swing between your legs. Then quickly drive up, swinging the bag out in front of your body and over your head. The aim should be to toss the bag as far behind you as you can.
This second variation of the sandbag toss might not be as fun but is safer and more practical if you’re working out in a tighter space. You won’t actually be letting go of the bag in this case, but it still provides a great workout, as the torque required to swing the sandbag around will torch your core and arms.
Opt for an athletic, wide stance and utilize a neutral grip on the sandbag. Swing the bag to one side of your body, letting it slide past the outside of your thigh. Quickly lift the bag up and across your body in a diagonal motion until it swings above your opposite shoulder. Make sure to repeat for each side. This will really test your body’s ability to keep the sandbag stable throughout the entire motion.
Get More Fitness, Style & Grooming Tips…