Build Serious Strength With This Total-Body Sandbag Workout

Finding just one workout that sculpt your whole body and incorporate cardio can be tricky. Many fitness programs are based on targeted resistance training for building up specific muscle groups, or focus exclusively on cardio.

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A full-body strength sandbag workout, however, can challenge all of your muscle groups, in a variety of ways, and get your heart rate up, too.

Exercising with sandbags has a lot of benefits besides the full-body toning it provides. For instance, a sandbag workout:

  • Is cost effective, because sandbags are cheap and simple.
  • Is convenient, because you can do it anywhere.
  • Is customizable, because you can tailor it as needed.

Of course, for total-body sandbag training, you’ll want to incorporate a variety of exercises to really reap the benefits. Here are 10 sandbag moves that will get you ripped.

Bear Hug Squats

Sandbag-weighted squats offer the same benefits of a regular bodyweight squat, plus added weight for muscle building.


  1. Using both hands, hug the sandbag to your chest.
  2. With your feet a shoulder width apart, lower yourself into a standard squat.
  3. Hold the squat position for 10-20 seconds.
  4. Stand back up, still clasping the sandbag to your chest.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

Drag Walks

Like a tractor pull, but with sandbags instead. In fact, people training for tractor pulls use sandbags before graduating to the real thing.


  1. Stand in front of a tall sandbag.
  2. With your palms facing inwards, reach behind you and grab the sandbag with both hands.
  3. Slowly walk around, dragging the heavy bag behind you.
  4. Complete two sets of five walks, spanning the length of the gym (or whatever area you are working out in.)

Shouldered Runs

Reminiscent of a basic training exercise, shoulder runs build practical strength for muscles you actually use.


  1. Lift a sandbag onto your right shoulder.
  2. Hold it in place with your right hand.
  3. Go for a short jog, run, or sprint to the end of the gym/room.
  4. Carefully return the bag to the ground. Then, use your left hand and shoulder to repeat the exercise.
  5. Complete two to three sets of 5 laps.

Overhead Lifts

Essentially a basic weight, overhead sandbag lifts just use simple sand instead of dumbbells.


  1. Bending at your knees, reach down and pick up a sandbag with both hands.
  2. With a firm grip, raise the sandbag up above your head, extending your arms.
  3. Hold the bag above your head for 10 seconds.
  4. Return the bag to the floor carefully and repeat five times, for three sets.

Overhead Presses

Enhancing your overhead lifts, presses are especially good for toning your muscles.


  1. Perform the same motion as if you are doing an overhead lift.
  2. Once you have the sandbag above your head, though, bend at your elbows to lower the bag.
  3. Slowly raise and lower the sandbag, bending only at your elbows.
  4. Continue to repeat five times before returning bag to the floor.
  5. Rest and then perform a second set and third set.

Squat To Press

Combine an overhead lift, press, and squat and you have this full-body move down part.


  1. Begin by lifting a sandbag with two hands.
  2. When the sandbag reaches your chest, lower yourself into a squat.
  3. Hold this position for five seconds.
  4. Raise the bag above your head to perform an overhead lift while remaining in the squat.
  5. Lower the bag to your chest for five seconds and then raise it again.
  6. Perform 8 repetitions (or until fatigue) for three sets.


A classic exercise, rows using sandbags are especially challenging.


  1. Stand as if you are skiing with your knees bent, your elbows behind you, and your arms straight.
  2. Now grab a sandbag with each hand and resume the position.
  3. Slowly pull your elbows back farther, and then move them forward again as if rowing.
  4. Continue for 30 to 45 seconds.

Lateral Slam

As entertaining as it is exhausting, a lateral slam burns energy like you wouldn’t believe!


  1. Raise a sandbag up over your head like you are performing an overhead lift.
  2. Thrust your arms forward over your head and down, slamming the sandbag into the ground.
  3. Be sure to aim for one side or the other as you slam the bag down to work your lateral muscles.
  4. Do this for one minute.

Weighted Sit Ups

Your basic sit up, enhanced.


  1. Lay on your back on the ground in a straight line.
  2. Raise a sandbag above your chest, keeping your arms bent.
  3. Perform two sets of 25 sit-ups, keeping the sandbag the same distance from your chest at all times.

Pass Around

Less like a children’s game and more like, “feel the burn!”


  1. Hold a sandbag in both hands in front of your pelvis.
  2. Shifting the bag into your right hand, drag the bag around your right side.
  3. At the same time, move your left hand behind you so that you hold the bag with both hands behind you.
  4. Shift the bag into your left hand and bring the bag back around front until you hold it in front of your pelvis with both hands again.
  5. Switch directions.
  6. Repeat 10 times in each direction.