Sandbag Your Workout for Maximum Strength
The best tool for building strength is the sandbag—so long as you're prepared to suffer.
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No matter your game, strength will make you better by helping you go faster, longer, or higher. The way to get stronger: Move something around, be it weights, rocks, trucks, doesn’t matter. You can work on your overall strength with the simplest equipment—just a 50-pound bag of something you’d find at a hardware or grocery store. In addition to the big-muscle strength benefits you’ll get by using a big ol’ bag, your core will fire hard while trying to balance that gangly sack.
Name: Yard Work
Time: About 30 minutes
Place: Anywhere outside
Additional Needs: One 50-pound bag of dirt, mulch, cement, sand, or dog food
Directions: Do the following exercises in a circuit, one after another, with 20 to 30 seconds of rest in between. When you’ve done each exercise once, rest for two minutes, then start at the beginning and do them all again for a total of four times through the circuit.
1. Weighted walk: Hold the bag close to your chest and walk for 45 seconds.
2. Overhead press and squat: Hold the bag at your chest and squat down. On your way up, press the bag over your head. Do six to eight reps.
3. Bent-over row: Bending at your knees but keeping your back straight (not rounded), pull the bag off the ground and to your chest. Keep your head and eyes up to make sure the pressure is off your lower back. Do eight reps.
4. Alternating lunge: Hold the bag at your chest and lunge down (don’t let your lunging knee extend past your toes). Do 10 reps on each side.
5. Curls: Hold the bag and curl it up to your chest. Do 12 reps—the first six standing on your right leg and the second six standing on your left leg.
6. Skier squat: Holding the bag close to your chest, get into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds.
7. Forearm fry: Hold the bag out in front of you with your arms extended. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Ted Spiker, who has designed and led backyard and neighborhood workouts for his friends for the past three years, is a journalism professor at the University of Florida who specializes in health and fitness writing. He recommends you pick up a scrap truck tire to add more variety to your workouts.