sandbag shouldering

How To Make A Strong Affordable Sandbag

The sandbag is one of the best multifunctional training tools there is.  The sandbag builds a unique strength that carries over to any sport or daily life activity.  The sandbag can pack on some serious muscle and it becomes an awesome fat loss tool.  

The constant shifting of weight is why the sandbag is so effective.  Plus if you have a sandbag with no handles on it then you have a great grip strengthening tool as well.  Anyone who has trained with a sandbag knows that it is no joke.  

If you are looking for something to help take your strength and conditioning to new levels then I highly recommend adding in some sandbag work into your training.  Don’t have a sandbag?  No problem, I will show you how to make your own.  

You could easily buy an expensive sandbag with a ton of handles, but they are very easy to make and a lot more affordable.  The thing I don’t like about the fancy sandbags is that they come with nothing in them you have to fill it yourself.  Plus they have a ton of handles on them, which defeats the purpose of training with the sandbag.  

One of the main reasons to train with a sandbag is to work the grip plus it gets you familiar with lifting odd objects.  Last I checked balls, people, stones, and couches don’t have handles on them.  

Alright with that said let’s dive into the meat and potatoes of making a sandbag.  The first thing you will need is a heavy-duty duffle bag.  I prefer the top-loaded army duffle bags.  They are made out of a nice thick canvas and come in different sizes.  You can get these at any army surplus store.  

Next, you will need some heavy-duty zip ties and duck tape.

 

Then of course you will need the filling.  Even though we are making a sandbag I have never used sand to put inside of them.  The reason I don’t use sand is that if the bag does break I don’t want to have to deal with cleaning up the mess.  Instead, I like to use rubber mulch or wood pellets.  The wood pellets take up less space and weigh more.  The rubber mulch is lighter and takes up more space.  Both are great choices for sandbags.  Depending on how heavy of a sandbag you want will determine how much you need.  

In this example, I am using wood pellets because I am making a 120lb sandbag.  

The first thing to do is cut off the metal piece used to hold the bag together.  Then cut off the strap and the handle.  

Next, fill the bag with your choice of stuffing rubber mulch or wood pellets.  

Once the bag is filled zip tie the top together.  I use two heavy-duty zip ties and it works like a charm.  If you want to use more than that go for it.  Another option is that you could use a heavy-duty rope instead.  

Cut the excess part of the zip ties off.

Then duct tape around the zip ties.  The reason for this is to cover up the sharp plastic ends of the zip ties.  So give it a lot of layers.  

There you go now you have your sandbag ready to play with!

Easy peasy right?  You also just saved a lot of money by switching to Rockfit!  Sorry, bad pun but I just couldn’t resist.  These sandbags will last forever.  Out of all the sandbags I have made I had only one break open with a small hole at the bottom.  A quick and easy fix for that is just buying another bag and put the new bag over your old bag.  Then you will have a double-lined bag making it even stronger. 

Like I said sandbags are great to train with, they are easy on the joints, and they are soft so if it falls on your foot no worries.  Now you know how to make a sandbag.  So go ahead and start adding them into your training and you quickly find out how they can improve your strength and conditioning.   

 

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lift light weights and put up big numbers

Lift Light Weights And Put Up Big Numbers 

I once read a book from Pavel about how a guy only lifted nothing heavier than a 24kg kettlebell but could still deadlift 600lbs.  I wondered how is this possible?  Everything I had ever been taught about to get stronger was to lift heavier.  When it comes to building strength most people think that doing heavy reps on the big 3 squat, deadlift, and bench is the way to go.  This is a proven method to build some serious raw strength.  

 

Still, I wondered how was that guy able to lift so much with only training with light weights?  It made me ask myself another question and that was, “what if you could increase your absolute strength by lifting lighter weights?”  With some help from my friend and a little research, this is what I set out to find if it was possible.

 

Meet Denis Vasilev he has been doing high volume training with light weights for 13 years.  He has not lifted anything heavier than 220lbs in that time.  We decided to test and see what his 3 rep max would be on the big 3 squat, deadlift, and bench without any preparation.  We wanted to see what his absolute strength was from his current training of high volume with light weights.

 

Just a heads up Denis is not your average human being.  This Russian girevik has earned 11 Kettlebell Sport World Championships.  He has lifted two 32kg kettlebells for 101 reps consecutively in long cycle.  He can do 100 push-ups in a row with no problem.  He also has done 100 dips in a row and 100 squats in a row with 220lb.  As you can see high volume is nothing more than childish games for him. 

Here are a couple of videos of Denis in action.

Long Cycle 60 reps with 32kg kettlebells in 5 min

Snatch 270 reps with 24kg kettlebell in 10 min

The last time he tested his 1 rep max in the bench, squat, and deadlift was back in 2007 his results at the time were 330lb for the bench, 440lb for squat, and 450lb for the deadlift.  His weight at that time was 200lb.  This was after two years of consistent heavy training with the big 3.

 

Here are his results from his recent testing in 2020 using a 3 rep max.  In bench he did 225lb, in squat he did 345lb, in deadlift he did 355lb.  This is the result after doing no heavy training in any of these lifts for 13 years.  Plus he weighs 15lbs lighter now with a current weight of 185lb.  

 

For not training heavily in any of these lifts for 13 years I would say his results are pretty impressive.  If we convert his 3 rep max on his lifts to a 1 rep max using a standard strength percentage chart this is what we get his bench would be 245lb, his squat would be 375lb, and his deadlift would be 385lb.  For being 15 lbs lighter he is still pretty close to his original numbers back in 2007.  

 

We can break the numbers down even more by looking at the coefficient of each lift.  The coefficient tells us pound for pound who is stronger.  The way you get the coefficient is to divide total volume lifted by the person’s actual weight.  To figure the coefficient here we are going to use the 1 rep max numbers.

 

First, let’s start with the bench press in 2007 he did 330lb his coefficient for that lift is 1.65 and in 2020 his projected 1 rep max is 245lb his coefficient for that lift is 1.33.  Making a difference of 0.32 in his bench.  For squat in 2007, he did 440lb his coefficient for that lift is 2.2 and in 2020 his projected 1 rep max is 375lb his coefficient for that lift is 2.03.  Making a difference of 0.17 in his squat.  For deadlift in 2007, he did 450lb his coefficient for that lift is 2.25 and in 2020 his projected 1 rep max is 385lb his coefficient for that lift is 2.08.  Making a difference of 0.17 in his deadlift.  

 

As you can see he was overall stronger in 2007 but not by much as the coefficients show you how close he is in lifts.  Also in 2007 he was stiffer and would occasionally get muscle spasms.  In 2020 he is more flexible, explosive, and faster.  In his case, the benefits far outweigh being as strong as he was in 2007.  I am sure if he started to incorporate heavy lifting into his programming he could surpass his old numbers in no time. 

 

Now, this is only one athlete what about other examples of athletes doing big numbers with high volume training?  This is where my research led me to a powerlifter named Steve Wilson who deadlifted 865lb back in the 1980s.  He would deadlift only 225-275lbs for 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps and he would do that 2 to 3 times a week.  He would only pull heavy once a month.  He was only training with 26-32% of his max weight and could still put up big numbers come competition day.  Now I know what you’re going to say and that is, “if I just train with 225lb in the deadlift then I will be able to deadlift 800lbs?  I train with heavier weights than that all the time and I am nowhere near deadlifting 800lbs.”

 

Well, it comes down to consistency and volume.  Steve Wilson was deadlifting 3 times a week doing 60 reps per training session.  A typical powerlifter only deadlifts once a week and maybe does only 10 reps.  Steve was doing more volume than most of his competitors which led him to produce big numbers. 

 

Look at this example let’s say your max deadlift is 800lb and you train with 225lb which is 28% of your max.  A normal routine of let’s say 85% of your max which is 680lb would be your training for 10 reps one day a week.  Your total volume of training with 680lb for that week would be 6,800lbs.  Now let’s see what your volume would be like training with 225lb for 60 reps 3 days per week.  Your total volume of training with 225lb for that week would be 40,500lbs.  Just a slight difference.  Now multiple those weekly volumes for 4 weeks and you can see how quickly the high volume reps add ups.  

 

You see doing high volume with light weights on a consistent basis helped prepared Steve for when it was time to go heavy.  He was basically greasing the groove and if any of you have read anything from Pavel about greasing the groove you know how well it works.  Doing a movement over and over again in a fresh state is how you get better at the movement.  Heavy lifting all the time does take a toll on your body especially if you are lifting at around 80% or more.  By only lifting heavy once a month Steve was not constantly wearing himself into the ground. 

 

Back to Denis, while training high volume with lighter weights he has never had any injuries. Denis does a very good of taking care of his body with a proper warm-up and cool down.  He is very good at mastering the technique of any lift he focuses on and very smart with his programming.  He only trains 3 days per week allowing his body the proper recovery it needs. He will do anywhere from 100 to 200 reps in a training session of a single movement.  For reps, he never does anything less than 20 per set.

 

Denis and Steve are just two examples of how you can lift light weights with high volume and can still be able to put up some big numbers.  Am I saying this is the best and only way to get stronger?  No, of course not.  This just shows that there is more than one way to increase your max strength.  I think Denis says it best about the difference between training with heavy weights and light weights and I will go ahead end this article on his words.  

 

 “I believe that the heavy barbell training is good, but developing a quite narrow sector of abilities (dynamic, static max strength, accuracy, balance), where High volume developing a very wide sector of abilities (strength, endurance, strength-endurance, accuracy, balance, requires mobility and flexibility). High volume kettlebells trainings are minimizing the risks of injuries due to the medium loads and multi-abilities targets (lifting fairly light weights for time with a specific technique).”

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode IX The Rise of The Get-Up 

Star Wars Workout Episode IX The Rise of The Get-Up 

In Episode IX we bring this epic saga to end as the get-up rises once again.  In this final Star Wars workout series, we tie in all the previous workouts into this one.  Every episode is included in this workout so get ready for a long-drawn-out battle with the dark side.  Everything will be challenged in this awesome workout that will greatly test your strength and conditioning for 9 rounds.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 60-90 min workout with a difficulty rating of advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and sandbags.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, intensity, and flexibility.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

You are going to be doing Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side for 9 rounds.  Then you do another exercise for 9 reps.  It starts with round 1 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each, then do one arm swings for 9 reps each side.  Round 2 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each, then do cleans for 9 reps.  Round 3 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do sandbag shouldering for 9 reps.  Round 4 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do windmills for 9 reps each side.  Round 5 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do back squats for 9 reps. Round 6 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do snatch for 9 reps each side.  Round 7 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do clean and press for 9 reps. Round 8 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do thrusters for 9 reps.  In the last round, we go back to the beginning in Episode I to what it all started with and end with the swings in a special way.  Round 9 do Turkish get-ups 3 reps each side, then do swings 15 sec on 15 sec off for 9 rounds.  In round 9 once you are done with the Turkish get-ups you then have to do another final 9 rounds of swings for 15 sec on 15 sec off.  Rest as needed between exercises and rounds.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode IX The Rise of the Get-Up

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then One Arm Swings – 9 reps each side

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Cleans – 9 reps

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Sandbag Shouldering – 9 reps

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Windmills – 9 reps each side

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Back Squats – 9 reps

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Snatch – 9 reps each side

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Clean and Press – 9 reps

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Thrusters – 9 reps

Turkish get-ups – 3 reps each side then Two-Handed Swings 15 sec on 15 sec off for 9 rounds

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode VIII The Last Thruster 

Star Wars Workout Episode VIII The Last Thruster 

In Episode VIII Kylo Ren has no clue what is coming for him and who will be the last thruster.  This is a great strength and conditioning workout that has it all.  Thrusters to battle the Praetorian guards, loaded carries to take on the Heavy Assault Walkers, and sprints to escape the First Order.  You will definitely be looking forward to the last thruster in this workout.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, intensity, and agility.  This workout can be performed anywhere, but outside would probably be best.

 

Workout Instructions

Pick a distance of at least 20 – 50 meters.  If all you have is 10 meters or less then you can just go back and forth 2-4 times.  Start off by doing 8 thrusters, then grab the kettlebells and do farmers walk down and back, after that set down the kettlebells and sprint down, back, and down.  In the sprint, you should finish on the opposite end of where the kettlebells are.  Walk back and start all over with the thrusters.  See how many rounds you can do in 30 minutes.  Rest as needed between exercises and rounds.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode VIII The Last Thruster

Thrusters – 8 reps

Farmers walk down and back – 20 meters

Sprint down, back, down – 20 meters

Do as many rounds as you can of each for 30 min rest as needed.

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode VII The Press Awakens

Star Wars Workout Episode VII The Press Awakens

In Episode VII your upper body is awakened with the press.  This workout has a bonus part to help finish off the Starkiller base.  You will be constantly moving in this full-body workout and are going to feel great when it’s done.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, and intensity.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

This workout is performed 30 sec on 30 sec off for a total of 7 rounds.  The first exercise you do is clean and press for 30 sec and then rest for 30 sec.  Then do renegade rows for 30 sec and rest for 30 sec.  Last do front squats for 30 sec and then rest for 30 sec.  That is one round.  Start back over with clean and press and continue the process until you have completed 7 rounds.

Take a few minutes and then do the bonus section which is push press for 3 sets of 7 reps.  Rest as needed between sets.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode VII The Press Awakens

Double Clean and Press – 30 sec

Renegade rows – 30 sec

Double Front Squats – 30 sec

Do 7 rounds of 30 sec on 30 sec off for each movement. 

 

Bonus Round – Push press 3 sets 7 reps

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode VI Return of The Snatch

Star Wars Workout Episode VI Return of The Snatch

In Episode VI the snatch returns to defeat the empire.  This workout has two parts to it.  In the first part, you will be battling Rancors and Sarlacc’s.  In the second part, you will help the Ewoks battle the stormtroopers.  The major emphasis that is going to be targeted in this workout is your backside.  Although don’t be fooled by the dark side as the movements in this workout cover everything.  

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30-45 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, and intensity.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

In the first part do 6 monsters followed by snatch 6 reps each side.  Rest and go back to the monsters.  See how many rounds you can do in 12 min.  Rest as needed.

In the second part snatch for 1 min each side, then bear crawl for 1 min.  Then rest for 1 min.  Go back to snatch and start it all over again.  Do this combination for 6 rounds.  During the bear crawl every 6 steps you will do a push-up.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode VI Return of the Snatch

Monsters – 6 reps

Snatch – 6 reps each side

Do as many rounds as you of each with good form for 12 min rest as needed.

 

Snatch – 1 min each side

Bear Crawl w/push up – 1 min

Do 6 rounds of each rest 1 min between rounds.

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode V The Squat Strikes Back

Star Wars Workout Episode V The Squat Strikes Back

In Episode V the empire strikes backs and they are going after your legs.  You might be walking like C-3PO after all the squats you are going to be doing.  In this workout, your legs are going to get worked along with your lungs.  Getting frozen in carbonite may not sound like a bad idea after this workout.  

 

Workout Details

This is a lower-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, intensity, and agility.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

Do 10 back squats, then immediately follow it with 20 kettlebell squat jumps. In kettlebell back squats you hold the kettlebells on top of your shoulders.  Rest then do 10 lunges (5 reps per each leg) holding the kettlebells at your sides, immediately follow that with 20 lunge jumps.  Rest and then go back to squats starting the process all over again.  Do as many rounds as you can in 30 min.  Rest as needed.   Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode V The Squat Strikes Back

Back Squat – 10 reps

Kettlebell Squat Jumps – 20 reps

Lunges – 10 reps

Lunge Jumps – 20 reps

Do as many rounds as you can of each with good form for 30 min rest as needed.

 

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Star Wars Workout Episode IV A New Windmill 

Star Wars Workout Episode IV A New Windmill

In Episode IV a new hope emerges with the windmill.  In this complete full-body movement, you will be working the posterior chain along with your abs.  Your shoulder is going to get quite the workout as well from constantly holding the kettlebell overhead.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, intensity, and flexibility.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

This is a chain flow movement you will do one rep of each movement without setting the kettlebell down to complete one rep.  Start with the snatch, then do a windmill, lower the kettlebell down and do a press, and end with an overhead lunge.  From there go back to snatch and start the whole process all over again.  Do 4 reps then switch sides.  Do as many rounds as can for 30 min.  Rest as needed.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode IV A New Windmill

(Chain) Snatch, Windmill, Press, Overhead Lunge – 4 reps each side

Do as many rounds as you can of the chain movement for 30 min rest as needed.

 

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star wars workout episode III revenge of the sandbag

Star Wars Workout Episode III Revenge Of The Sandbag

In Episode III the sandbag has it’s revenge and steals the republic from the kettlebell.  Every muscle will be used in this workout as you constantly wrestle with the sandbag.  The added sprints are a great bonus for both developing power and conditioning as well.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of intermediate to advanced.  Equipment needed is sandbag and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, intensity, and agility.  This workout can be performed anywhere, but outside would probably be best.

 

Workout Instructions

Pick a distance of at least 20 – 50 meters.  If all you have is 10 meters or less then you can just go back and forth 2-4 times.  Start off by doing sandbag shouldering 3 reps each side. Then sprint down and back.  Next, pick up the sandbag and carry it down and back.  Then sprint down and back.  Last do sandbag squats for 10 reps.  Once again sprint down and back.  That was one round.  See how many rounds you can do in 30 min.  Rest as needed between movements and rounds.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sandbag

Sandbag Shouldering – 3 reps each side

Sprint down and back – 20 meters

Sandbag Carry down and back -20 meters

Sprint down and back – 20 meters

Sandbag Squats – 6 reps

Sprint down and back – 20 meters

Do as many rounds as you can of each with good form for 30 min rest as needed.

 

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star wars workout episode II attack of the cleans

Star Wars Workout Episode II Attack Of The Cleans

In Episode II the cleans have been cloned and you will be attacking them in a great complex battle.  During this workout, your mind will be challenged along with your body as the reps keep going up.  You will experience why complexes are so effective with strength, conditioning, and fat loss.

 

Workout Details

This is a full-body 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of beginner to intermediate.  Equipment needed is kettlebells.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, and intensity.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

This is a complex that is done in a ladder format.  Do 2 cleans, 2 front squats, 2 cleans, then 2 push press all without setting the kettlebells down.  Go ahead rest and then do 4 reps of each movement.  Rest then do 6 reps of each movement.  Rest again and then do 8 reps of each movement.  That was one round (2,4,6,8 reps of each movement).  Go back to 2 reps for each movement and start all over again.  Go until you have completed 3 rounds.  Rest as needed.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode II Attack of the Cleans

(Complex) Double Cleans, Double Front Squat, Double Cleans, Push Press – 2, 4, 6, 8 reps

Do 3 rounds of the complex ladder rest as needed.

 

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