An Introduction to Sandbag Training for Runners

 

Workout 1: Sandbag Complex

This complex consists of 6 exercises that will be performed once a week. Perform 6-8 repetitions of each exercise in sequence. Take a 90-second rest and perform 2-3 sets.

RELATED: Dumbbell Complexes for Faster Running

A1) Sandbag Deadlift

Target Muscles: hamstrings, glutes

How to: Stand behind your sandbag and grip the parallel handles. Tuck your toes slightly under the sandbag and pull it closer to your shins; your knees should be slightly bent with your hips flexed, back and arms straight and chest out. Take the slack out of the bag. Stand with the weight and squeeze your butt at the top of the rep. Soften your knees and push your hips back to return the weight to the starting position.

Training Tip: Keep your back flat throughout the exercise—never pick up or lower the weight with a rounded lower back.

A2) Sandbag High Pull

Target Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, shoulders

How to: Stand behind your sandbag and grip the parallel handles. Tuck your toes slightly under the sandbag and pull it closer to your shins; your knees should be slightly bent with your hips flexed, back and arms straight and chest out. Take the slack out of the bag. Stand with the weight forcefully and pull the bag upward. Squeeze your butt at the top of the rep. The bag should accelerate upward and float in front of your chest. Let the bag fall to the starting position as you soften your knees and push your hips back – do not try to lower the sandbag slowly.

Training Tip: Keep your back flat throughout the exercise—never pick up or lower the weight with a rounded lower back. Also, your elbows should be brought to the side and stop at shoulder height at the top of each pull.

A3) Sandbag Power Clean

Target Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, shoulders

How to: Stand behind your sandbag and grip the parallel handles. Tuck your toes slightly under the sandbag and pull it closer to your shins; your knees should be slightly bent with your hips flexed, back and arms straight and chest out. Take the slack out of the bag. Explosively extend your knees and hips to accelerate the sandbag upward. Pull upward and sweep your arms under the sandbag as to receive the bag in the crooks of your arms. Your knees and hips should be slightly flexed to help absorb the shock upon receiving the bag. Stand straight. Roll the bag out of your arms and continue lowering the bag to the starting position.

 Training Tip: Your back should not round during this exercise. Take the load off the spine by emphasizing your hips when accelerating the bag upward. As if you were going to jump as high as you could, focus on shooting your hips forward to accelerate the bag off the ground.

A4) Sandbag Front Loaded Squat

Target Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, core

How to: With the sandbag in the front loaded position, step your feet to shoulder width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down. Keep good posture and squat as low as you can while keeping your heels flat on the ground. Return to standing and repeat.

Training Tip: Keep your knees out and heels flat—letting knees cave in will result in undue knee stress.

A5) Sandbag Rotational Lunge

Target Muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals

How to: Slide your toes just under your sandbag while gripping the parallel handles and pull the bag closer to your shins. Bend your knees and hips while sticking out your butt and lifting your chest. Stand and lift the sandbag to knee height. Step your right leg behind you, lunge and rotate through your waist to bring the sandbag to the outside of your left knee. Maintain your balance as you return to standing. Repeat by stepping back with your left leg and rotating the bag to the outside of your right knee. Alternate sides until complete all repetitions.

Training Tip: It’s very easy to lose your balance during this exercise, so take it slow. Keep your torso upright and try to keep your balance.

A6) Sandbag Bent Over Row

Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, spinal errectors, abdominals

How to: Slide your toes just under your sandbag while gripping the parallel handles and pull the bag close to your shins. Bend your knees slightly, lean forward from your hips, brace your abs and remove the slack from the bag. Pull the sandbag up towards your stomach while squeezing the muscles in your upper back. Lower the sandbag to just above your toes, and repeat.

Training Tip: Be careful not to round your back and remember to squeeze your shoulders back and down – you should never shrug your shoulders while performing a row.

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