You heard me right. It is time to put your barbells and dumbbells on Craigslist and sell them while you can. Workout sandbags are a superior form of weightlifting exercise. What other device can fit into a small extra bedroom, be able to be emptied out and moved, last for decades, but best of all, work you prime mover ( mirror) and stabilizer (underneath) muscles together as a team? And it is this working your muscles together as a team that is vital to true fitness and athleitc ability.
I can not think of one barbell exercise that I can not do with a sandbag. And, there are so many sandbag exercises that are either impossible or impractical with barbells, that the addition of the two sets of exercises (barbell and sandbag) sum up to a greater variety of weightlifting exercise opportunities for you.
For instance, you can do bench presses with a barbell and put yourself at danger from being strangled. Or, you can use a sandbag and be much safer. You can choose the size of your sandbag to match whether you want to do power or strength training. Power training is done by doing more reps with lighter weight. Strength training is the opposite. You do less reps with more weight.
We have renamed the bench press. We call it the chest press. You lie on either an exercise mat or a swiss ball and put your hands on the bottom of a sandbag and push it up and lower it slowly. But there is another way you can exercise your chest and triceps muscles at the same time. This other way is pushups! Try putting a barbell weight on your back and doing pushups. It hurts. Now try putting a sandbag on your back down your spine between your shoulder blades. It is quite comfortable. But it is also quite challenging. To take the challenge to the highest level, put each hand on a basketball and your feet on a small stool.
Even though there are devices to hang barbell weights from your waist, it is easier to hold one between your ankles and do pullups for your back. And more comfortable but more challenging. You can hold a sandbag under your chin and do situps. All of these exercises must be done with lesser reps than without the weight.
Okay, so those are exercises that you already do. There are so many exercises you can do with sandbags that you can not do with dumbbells and barbells, I will only list a few. The X-lift is a multidirectional exercise one in front of your body that can not be done with a barbell. You take the sandbag from one side of your body to the other and over your head.
A favorite exercise of mine is the smackdown. It reminds me of wrestling. The sandbag is lifted from the floor, over the head, and smacked down on the opposite side of the body onto the floor.
That champion of total body strength exercises, the deadlift, is made even better with sandbags. With a sandbag, you can lift the bag off the floor from one side of your body, lifting it to your waist, and put it down on the other side of your body. It is this twisting motion that gives sandbags their advantage over barbells and dumbbells in their functional fitness benefits.
These are only a few examples of what you can do with sandbags. For more exercises, workouts, and fitness strategy, visit our sandbag workouts page.