In case you haven't heard, the latest fitness trend is exercise sandbags. They can be either ordered online or you can make your own. The functional fitness benefits of sandbag training is well established and many consider superior to iron weight strength training.

Since many of you want to make your own, i will go through the options you have. They go from good to better to best. There are many options for homemade fitness sandbags. The first is to go to a resale store, visit their luggage department, and get some sort of bag intended for luggage. Use a pair of 2 mil thick contractor bags to hold the sand. Keep it loose, and away you go. The next option is to visit an army-navy surplus store and buy a heavy cotton duffel bag. These things are quite large and this presents a problem with filling it. Sand would be too heavy. I suggest filling it with rubber mulch nuggets from a home center. The rubber mulch probably needs to go into a pair of doubled-up contractor bags, like above. What you save in buying the duffel bag is spent buying rubber mulch, which costs more than sand. The third option is my favorite.

Go to a tire store that specializes in 18-wheeler tires. Get one two 13" wide inner tubes. Use tin snips to cut off the part of the tube that holds the valve. Then put sand directly into one end until you get the weight you want. I suggest a small bag weighing 40 or 50 pounds, and a medium bag weighing 80 or 90 pounds. You can also make a large bag weighing about 120 pounds if you like, but it would take much of a whole inner tube. Back to the small (40#) inner tube. Before you commit yourself to cutting the length of the tube, weigh it. Then roll up one end by folding it over itself about 4-5 times. This makes the end handle. Then duct tape around the folded up part to hold it shut. Now comes the important part. Leave enough inner tube length to do the rollup on the other end, but also enough to leave the inner tube plenty loose. It is the looseness of the sand that creates much of the resistance and benefit of sandbag training. When you are sure you are leaving enough tube for this, cut it and fold it over itself and duct tape it. You are ready to go! Repeat with the other sizes.

A second and possibly more challenging method of making fitness sandbags involves using a whole truck inner tube. This time use a smaller one, probably 10" wide. This time do not cut it. Get an air/water adapter kit (part #20073) from Slime (.com) or one of their retailers. This handy part will connect a standard garden hose to a truck inner tube. Use the adapter to fill the entire inner tube no more than halfway with water. Put the cap on to hold the water in. You might want to get an aluminum cap for the valve stem. The inner tube becomes a super-slinky water bag that is very hard to lift and move. It offers extremely sloshy resistance as the water sloshes about. Another variation of this idea is to use a smaller inner tube, such as for a small car or motorcycle, and fill it about halfway, and drape it over your shoulders and use it as a workout vest! You can walk, climb stairs or stadiums, do pullups, pushups, dips, squats, lunges, and more with it. So there are your tools.

So, what do you do with these workout sandbags and their many variations? In short, any exercise you can do with a barbell and then many more. A 7' olympic bar takes up most of the width of a spare bedroom. It makes it much too crowded to be practical. And where I live it is uncomfortable to do outdoor workouts in late summer and winter. Exercise sandbags make it possible for you to do weightlifting indoors in even an apartment. They are very compact, but best of all, better exercise than solid weights.

In addition to clean and jerks, deadlifts, snatches, there are so many more sandbag exercises that i will not go into them here. But I will offer a link to a page that has many sandbag exercises, workouts, and general fitness advice: It is on <http://www.workoutsandbags.com/sandbag-workouts>.

There are several outfits selling workout sandbags online. Most are designed like a duffel bag with external handles. One outfit I know of makes his like a giant beanbag and sews the handles into the bag itself. He says this gives a better grip and delivery of the shifting sand effect. His website is
http://www.workoutsandbags.com.

Sandbags are how 21st century functional fitness meets the 12th century. They are both the latest and the oldest in exercise technology. Use them to improve your health and fitness in safety at any age and at any fitness level. Here's to your health!