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Ultimate Sandbag Workouts The Oldest Strength Program?


As time goes on I have to laugh at myself a bit. I never saw myself becoming the old “get off my lawn” guy, but it seems to happening. Slowly I find myself getting increasingly frustrated by the simple fact people often get bogged down in things that really don’t matter. For example, could I make a case that sandbag workouts are the oldest form of strength training?

I think I could, after all, does it make you buy into sandbag workouts more if I could show you that sandbag workouts may date back to Egyptian times? While there may be evidence, I am not sure if something is simply old, it makes it good.

That’s why i kinda chuckle when people try to justify training on not the results it produces, but some supposed history that exists to the implement. To be honest, most of us are really bad historians of fitness. There probably are only a handful of people that really know such things as fitness as we think about it today is a rather new idea.

Most people don’t know that one of the very first pieces of equipment to really be marketed as a business was the barbell in the early 1900’s. Thought it was older? 

After all, if you worked manual labor jobs most of the time (which people did for centuries), going to the gym to workout would seem somewhat unnecessary right?

What’s my point?

I don’t want you to perform Ultimate Sandbag workouts because they are old, they were done by mystical warriors, or from some secretive Eastern European country. I want people to use our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts because it can deliver a BETTER result than what they have experienced before. Because people find a solution to actually achieving the fitness goals they want.

The Truth of Why Ultimate Sandbag Workouts Are Different!

Most people are surprised when they hear me present because I don’t start with some glorious story about how sandbag workouts changed the course of strength history. The reality is that most of fitness up to the 1900’s (even some well into it) were really just factors of convenience. Metal was expensive, so people made due with what they could if they wanted to train for competition or many times, military.

sandbag workouts

Demonstrations of strength were far more common that how to build it because many came from backgrounds of wrestling and manual labor. Seeing the famous Saxon brothers do some sandbag training is pretty interesting, but makes you wonder the value? 

Instead of selling you on some well crafted history of sandbag workouts, I’d rather explain to you why I think they are so beneficial. Don’t get me wrong, people often get many of the sound bites of “they are unstable”, “they are like real life”, etc. However, what does that REALLY mean for your training?

Even the most well versed strength historians initially are cynical to the power of sandbag workouts. Jan Dellinger is unique, he was there almost from the beginning of what we currently think of strength training and knows the history better than almost anyone else.

So when he even wrote….“Why would anyone who has regular access to an Olympic barbell and palates, a wide array of dumbbells, a few leverage machines, and numerous other strength training toys even consider a sandbag his resistance medium of choice?” (Dellinger Files, p.49)

I am sure this is not a question that Mr. Dellinger has alone? What made him come around to the idea? As I have given credit as well for the inspiration, much of it came from the work of Brooks Kubik. Best known for his book “Dinosaur Training”, Mr. Kubik made most of us think of the real world application of sandbag workouts.
Mr. Dellinger even wrote about the fact the way Mr. Kubik wrote about sandbag workouts made him think about his youth of moving old fertilizer bags over and over again! The idea of old time strength and conditioning is something we romanticize quite a bit, but rarely truly understand. Doing a 30-60 minute HIIT class doesn’t really match up to the hours upon hours of work that many people did for decades.
sandbag workouts
Growing up on the farm in Wyoming, not too many people get this better than DVRT Master, Troy Anderson. 
However, I can appreciate when Mr. Dellinger writes, “Cultural ethics contend that there is satisfaction in hard work. Well, in some respects I had come home again.”
I think largely that is what drew my initial interest as well. I have never had anything come really easy in my life and the idea of hard work was something that just drew me to anything. It wasn’t just working hard, but what hard work often taught us about ourselves.
Yet, even with that inspiration, sandbag workouts don’t have much power if we don’t give them a bigger purpose. What Mr. Kubik and Mr. Dellinger did was fall into the same predicament that I think many have, including myself in 2004. Using sandbag workouts as just an alternative or exciting new version of a barbell causes really short lasting results and interest. What we need to do is start thinking differently!
After all, an Ultimate Sandbag is a pretty lousy barbell, but conversely, a barbell is pretty lousy Ultimate Sandbag. That is why when I couldn’t find anyone that really maximized the unique aspects of this implement, that we had a chance to really make a difference. If this tool really had all the good aspects of real world functional training that people have talked about for decades, how do we make that come to life?
That is where our Dynamic Variable Resistance Training system (DVRT) really shines. I’ll be honest, if we didn’t have the right tool AND system, I probably would have never pushed for our Ultimate Sandbag workouts to deliver such great results. I never set forth with the initial goal of changing how people saw this tool that had been around for ever. It was only when I was willing to think differently that I began to see so much more.
That is why we spend less time on the romanticizing what Ultimate Sandbag workouts may have been “back in the day”. We want to put our energy in showing you how they can give you BETTER results. DVRT workouts like the one below give you an idea of how we have completely changed not just sandbag workouts, but how we can think of functional fitness!
Want to learn more? We have so many great resources like our DVRT Book HERE or come learn from our top coaches at our DVRT Certifications that have been taught in over 13 countries HERE and change the way you see real world fitness.