An Introduction to Sandbag Training for Runners

Workout 2: Sandbag Circuit

This circuit consists of three exercises that will be performed once a week. Perform 10-12 repetitions of the exercise A1, 60-second sets of exercise A2 and 30-second sets of exercise A3. Take minimal rest between exercises and 90-second rest between sets. Perform 3-4 sets.

RELATED: The Benefits of Circuit Training for Runners

A1) Sandbag Clean to High Box Step Up to Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Target Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, core

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.

Step up onto an 18-24-inch box with your left leg. Bring your right knee toward your chest but do not round your back. Next, soften your left knee and start to bow forward. Reach back with your right leg and keep your back flat. Return to the starting position with your knee to chest, and then step down. Repeat the step up with the left leg and complete all reps before switching sides.

Training Tip: Go slow to maintain your balance while doing the single leg Romanian deadlift on the box—we don’t want any runners falling off the box!

A2) Lateral Bag Drag

Target Muscles: abdominals

How to: Go into the top of a pushup with your hands narrower compared to your feet. Lock your knees and hips, squeeze your butt and brace your abs. Keep a flat body position and lift your left hand. With a sandbag placed just below your right shoulder, drag it toward your left shoulder. Resist the urge to lift or rotate your torso. Place your left hand down and repeat with your right arm.

Training Tip: Dragging the bag slower will challenge your torso and core stabilizers more. Also, resist the urge to lift the bag when your move it from one shoulder to the other—keep the friction strong!

A3) Side Plank with Sandbag Pickup and Knee to Chest

Target Muscles: abdominals and hip stabilizers

How to: Lie on your side with your feet stacked upon each other. Lift your hips off the ground and form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Squeeze your butt and stick out your chest. Pick up the sandbag a couple inches off the ground and keep your body still. Return the bag to the ground then bring your top knee to your chest. Also, keep your body still. Alternate these movements until the time is up. Switch sides when finished.

Training Tip: Keep your chest out and back flat. Do not sag or lose good posture.

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Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CEP is a runner, strength coach and Managing Director of JKConditioning in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon specializes in strength training endurance athletes and is currently in the middle of preparing a strength training resource for runners. Stay in touch by checking out www.JKConditioning.com and finding him on Twitter at @JEKawamoto.

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