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Ultimate Sandbag Workouts vs. Kettlebells?!

sandbag exercises

Yesterday I was excited to share some of the really interesting results of a brand NEW study looking at the impact of Ultimate Sandbag Training in high intensity workouts (you can read yesterday’s post HERE).

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, even with all the really cool information of how Ultimate Sandbag workouts can give you so much more than running even at high intensities, I was bummed there wasn’t a direct comparison to another form of resistance training.

Now, what the researchers DID do was look at some existing research on kettlebells to see if we could make some logical leaps. Does it matter they weren’t direct comparisons? Absolutely, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant either. So, let’s talk about some of the leaps we can make with Ultimate Sandbag workouts vs. kettlebells and some of the issues we can have with what was done.

sandbag workouts

We can start with blood lactate. Why? Blood lactate is a great measure of intensity, even above just heart rate. That has to do with all the physiological processes high blood lactate reflects to high intensity compared to just heart rate. Hopefully with all the research out there and what we showed yesterday, we can agree higher intensity work can do more for you (yea, that is the science way of saying it;).

Researchers first point out, “The blood lactate response seen during the sandbag protocol was 4.9 times greater than 60VO2R and 1.9 times greater than 80VO2R. This was not surprising considering the intense anaerobic nature of resistance exercise and subsequent greater recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers.”

Okay, so we established even far from perfect Ultimate Sandbag workouts are way more intense than hard running for double the duration (still crazy to say out loud), but WHAT about other forms of resistance training? As the researchers follow up…

“The lactate response observed during the sandbag protocol was greater than another study examining a protocol consisting of kettlebell swings using Tabata intervals (11) and previous studies from our laboratory examining traditional RE following aerobic exercise (36) and battling rope protocols (34, 36)”

How much of a difference though? In the kettlebell study reference subjects had a blood lactate of 6.4 mmol/L, this Ultimate Sandbag workouts study? They found blood lactate of 17.5 mmol/L! That’s ALMOST 3 times the blood lactate levels.

sandbag workouts

This is especially fascinating as the max heart rate for both was almost the exact SAME! So, that means a few things…

-You can’t rely on heart rate exclusively to measure intensity.

-There is more happening in HIIT workouts than just heart rate activity. The physiological impact carries to many different components than just heart rate.

How does such information really impact Ultimate Sandbag workouts? As researchers said, “Other studies have examined Tabata intervals during RE primarily using KB swings (11, 44) and other KB exercises (44) and reported lower blood lactate concentrations (11) than the present study.”

What I find also completely fascinating is that load was seen as a VERY valuable role in Ultimate Sandbag workouts and getting such a positive response. That heavier Ultimate Sandbags are NECESSARY for creating great anaerobic success.

“The 20-sec set durations coupled with only 10 sec of rest during each circuit (and use of several large muscle mass exercises with heavy SBs) likely accounted for the large lactate response and indicates that a SB RE protocol consisting of Tabata intervals (42) provides a substantial anaerobic stimulus to trainees.”

What does this all mean for Ultimate Sandbag workouts in terms of calories burned?

“The sandbag protocol yielded a mean energy expenditure of ~11 kcals ⋅ min-1, and ~795 kJ in 16 min, slightly 
higher EE values than a previous study (~9.5 kcals ⋅ min-1) examining a kettlebell protocol using 
Tabata intervals (44).”

Does that mean kettlebells suck? No, of course not! In fact, the researchers found the average VO2 of the kettlebell workouts were higher. Now, that could be due to exercises selected as well as user proficiency.

What this DOES mean though is that kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbag workouts are NOT the same, even though many of the exercises may seem similar. Using the RIGHT tool for the right job is essential and that is why we often recommend using both. That’s why in many of our Ultimate Sandbag workouts that we combine kettlebells and other tools into the programs. If we can have a synergistic effect rather than one over the other we get a GIANT win for everyone!

Don’t miss the LAST day to save 30% on all our Ultimate Sandbag workouts HERE with coupon code “newyear”