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Why Sandbag Exercises Are Strength for Life!

sandbag training

I am always fascinated when I have discussions about “sandbags” with fitness professionals and strength coaches. When I ask them, “do you think Ultimate Sandbag exercises are good for training?” They typically will give me a resounding, “oh, heck yea!” I will follow up with, “what about them makes Ultimate Sandbag exercises good?” That’s when I get the pause, you know the look kinda of up in the air as though the answer will come down from above to them.

Then it hits them!

“You know, for real world strength!”

Isn’t that a fascinating response?


If you do believe Ultimate Sandbag exercises are great for real world strength, shouldn’t they represent the majority of your training? That would also make other implements what?! Not real life!

You see, that is one of the things that got me interested in sandbag exercises in general. I had done tons of barbell work, dumbbells, kettlebells, you name it! They were good, but I got humbled BIG time the first time I started doing Strongman training.

Yes, you know those crazy guys that lift giant stones, logs, tires and so forth?! I couldn’t believe how strong I was IN the gym, but when it came to dealing with something that was way more real world I struggled….BIG TIME!

That’s the tough part, how do you get people to understand that the real world doesn’t happen on a platform, perfectly calibrated weights, you wearing all the best supportive gear in the world?

I love anything visual that can drive the point home. In fact, the other day I got flooded with emails from people that saw THIS video!

Honestly, I was amazed how many people saw Ultimate Sandbag exercises when they saw this video! Maybe because conceptually, people understand that Ultimate Sandbags are not stable, perfectly balanced, and they are more real world than just about anything else. Maybe they also realize that so many exercises we do in the gym actually don’t prepare us for the demands of the real world.

Of course you don’t have to be an elite military operator to see this or to see the value. A great example is all the people that wrote me….”Oh my gosh, I see Ultimate Sandbag get-ups here!”

With all the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises available to us, sometimes people can’t see the differences between movements that look similar. The get-up is a great example!

You can’t help but see some major similarities!

I wrote earlier (you can read it HEREsome very common misconceptions of the get-up. One of the biggest is that it’s real primary purpose is the overhead stability of the shoulder.

Is that one of them? Sure, but when you do hold a weight overhead, you are limited by what the shoulder can support. That means by changing the leverage (and in the case of Ultimate Sandbag exercises the dimension as well), we can really load up the core and hips too!

This is one BIG reason that many people familiar with more overhead get-up variations often get buried the first few times even attempting an Ultimate Sandbag get-up.

Does that mean we lose the benefit of shoulder stability training though? Nope! Most people miss that in either case the shoulder that gets the MOST work is the one that is contact with the ground.

The shoulder planted on the ground moves in all sorts of ranges motion as you watch the body transition around the shoulder as a pivoting point.

This isn’t an either or scenario, but it does make me wonder why we don’t see WAY more Ultimate Sandbag get-ups. You may never join elite military service, but you may want to wrestle with your children, be able to pick things up off the ground without throwing out your back, and be able to move up and down from the ground with the hesitation that plagues so many in our society today.

To me, THAT is the essence of real world strength training and what we should be aiming for in our functional fitness workouts! Don’t get better at exercising, get better at life!

How can you use such Ultimate Sandbag exercises in a workout? Try the following….

5 Shoulder Get-ups Right

1 Clean and Press

5 Shoulder Get-ups Left

1 Pull-ups

4 Shoulder Get-ups Right

2 Clean and Press

4 Shoulder Get-ups Left

2 Pull-ups

3 Shoulder Get-ups Right

3 Clean and Press

3 Shoulder Get-ups Left

3 Pull-ups

2 Shoulder Get-ups Right

4 Clean and Press

2 Shoulder Get-ups Left

4 Pull-ups

1 Shoulder Get-up Right

5 Clean and Press

1 Shoulder Get-up Left

5 Pull-ups

At this point you can rest up to 90 seconds, then you can try for one more round. During the workout above you try to match your rest with just breathes matching the number of repetitions you perform. Doing just one round is an option.

If you love workouts like this though check out our DVRT Workout programs HERE