Josh Henkin is owner of Sandbag Fitness Systems, and the creator of the Ultimate Sandbag. Josh is a graduate of Arizona State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/Physical Education.
Josh is an NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist, certified club coach with USA weightlifting, and certified Russian kettlebell instructor and a certified corrective high performance exercise kinesiologist. Coach Henkin is well known nationally as an expert in fitness and sports performance training and has been invited to appear at national conferences and write for numerous fitness magazines.
How to Lose Fat by Training With Sandbags
Fat loss, two words that you can say anywhere and you will get people’s attention. Getting leaner, more sculpted, or however you want to classify it is always a goal. I don’t care if you are speaking about professional athletes, housewives, or weekend warriors. Heck, even little kids know what a six-pack is!
The real question is how do you achieve these goals in a world that is crazier than ever?
There is no shortage of information and theories, but practical programs that can deliver what they promise are few and far between. That is why being a strength coach for the past fifteen years has forced me to sift through all the hype and marketing and find what works, what can deliver fast results and make people feel successful.
Enter: Sandbag Training
One training tool that I feel has just recently been getting some due attention are sandbags. Yes, a simple bag of sand can be one of the best training tools you use.
Why? Sandbags allow for a large amount of variety, from lower body training to arms to your core to being a great tool for intervals. They are relatively easy to learn allowing you to place your focus on accomplishing your fat loss goals and less time trying to figure out how to actually perform the exercises.
Some may be first skeptical by the idea of sandbag training, but they have been used almost since the beginning of time. Ancient societies used sandbags as a means for preparing their soldiers for the challenges of combat.
Sandbags offered the benefits of being convenient, versatile, and most of all the most challenging of all strength tools because no one repetition is ever the same.
Martial artists and wrestlers continued to use sandbags throughout the years because of these same reasons. These athletes understood that the shifting and nonconforming nature of sandbags would train more muscles, make them more athletic, and improve both their strength and endurance. So, why haven’t more people taken to sandbag training?
Burn More Calories in Less Time
Simply, sandbags are challenging! Sure you can run on a treadmill for a half hour, but as a recent client of mine said, “20 minutes of sandbag training is like 1 ½ hours of training at the gym.” I couldn’t say it better myself. Why this is true isn’t hard to figure out.
Sandbags make the lifter use more muscles making every exercise more beneficial and efficient. They can easily be manipulated to use for any fitness level from beginner to an advanced athlete. Because of these benefits, sandbags are perfect for shredding body fat; they will make you burn more calories than any other training tool.
Sandbags Work Your Core
Did I mention that sandbags work your core harder than any abdominal exercise? Because the trunk is forced to resist the motion of the sandbag all of the trunk muscles have to work together to stabilize the body. Deficiencies in core strength are quickly exposed while using sandbags.
Sandbag Training Routines
How does it work? Sandbags can easily be integrated into any strength training routine, but can be a stand alone system as well. Here are a few examples for you to try and become a believer yourself!
Workout 1: Density Training
The goal of this workout is to alternate between the two exercises for ten minutes with as little rest as you need. Only perform the designated number of repetitions. After ten minutes you get a two minute rest and get to do the same for the second sequence.
A1. Shouldering: 5 repetitions each side
A2. Clean and Push Press: 5 repetitions
B1. Get-ups Right 5 repetitions
B2. Get-ups Left 5 repetitions
Workout 2: Ladders
In this workout you will again alternate between the two exercises. You want to try to take minimal rest until you have completed all the repetitions. After you have performed all the repetition schemes then you rest two minutes and repeat. Try to achieve 3-5 cycles.
A1. Zercher Squats 5/10/15/20/25
A2. Power Snatch: 5/10/15/20/25
Workout 3: Interval Training
Want to shred fat fast? Try this workout twice a week. Simply perform one set of each exercise and repeat for 5-10 cycles.
A1. Alternating Shouldering x 30 seconds rest 30 seconds
A2. Bear Hug Squats x 30 seconds rest 30 seconds
A3. Push Press x 30 seconds rest 30 seconds
A4. Around the Worlds x 30 seconds rest 30 seconds
A5. Sandbag Chops x 30 seconds rest 30 seconds
Workout 4: Adding Bodyweight
Sandbags are a perfect compliment to bodyweight training. Below is a circuit workout demonstrating how to integrate the two.
A1. Shoulder Squat Right x 10 repetitions rest 60 seconds
A2. Push-ups x 15 repetitions, rest 60 seconds
A3. Shoulder Squat Left x 10 repetitions rest 60 seconds
A4. Modified Pull-up x 12 repetitions rest 60 seconds
A5. Good Mornings x 15 repetitions rest 60 seconds
A6. V-ups x 20 repetitions rest 60 seconds
Go through all the exercises then repeat 2-4 cycles
The first two workouts don’t seem like much because there aren’t a lot of exercises. This is one of the beautiful things about sandbag training, you don’t need to do a ton of movements to get a powerful results. It definitely is a situation where less is more. Now, I challenge you to try sandbag training and feel how it can be the perfect tool for your goals!
Check out the following helpful videos about Sandbag training, starring Josh Henkin himself.