Sandbag training has been used by the military for decades to ready soldiers for dragging or carrying awkward loads, whether it’s an injured comrade or, well, a bunch of sandbags. Now more and more “fitness” sandbags are on the market—and functional-fitness trainers swear by them.
“There’s barbell strength, and then there’s brute strength,” says Rob Shaul of Strong Swift Durable, a Jackson Hole, WY, training center that caters to the military, mountain guides, and first responders. “Brute strength is for the real world.”
And “real world” doesn’t mean just life-or-death situations. Sandbags can prepare you for myriad day-to-day scenarios—say, reaching into a car to lift a bulky box—by adding instability to your training to provide a more intense core workout. “It’s amazing how much heavier 60 pounds of sand feels than an 80-pound barbell,” says Shaul.