The sandbag, most gyms have them, but it’s not really known just how affective they really are! The sandbag can be used for more than just squats, and you can even use them at home. These 9 exercises will show you how one piece of equipment is as beneficial as the whole gym put together.

Using a small area, a sandbag and these exercises, you can achieve a complete full body workout. The benefit of the sandbag is that it will work multiple muscles at the same time, therefore defining, strengthening and improving muscle mass.

A sandbag exercise challenges core strength and endurance of the entire body. The unstable weight of the constantly shifting sand works both the smaller stabilisers and the bigger muscles of the body, which is very different from most strength-training tools that become predictable with their movement patterns.

Changing how you hold, stand and move with a sandbag opens up more than 400 different exercises that work for any fitness programme at any level, here at gymguider we have tried and tested some of these incredible exercises, and chose 9 to get you started!

Related article: Gain Muscle Mass Using Only Dumbbells With 10 Demonstrated Exercises

Shoulder Squat

Because you’ll be holding the sandbag over one shoulder, this squat variation combines the benefits of a traditional squat with those of a side plank. You’ll not only strengthen your legs, but the unique holding position challenges the stability of your core as well.


  • Bring the sandbag from the ground to the shoulder in one explosive movement.
  • Keep your feet slightly turned out and parallel to one another.
  • Push your knees out as you hinge at the hips and begin to sit back into the squat, making sure you don’t lean to one side as you go down.
  • Straighten your legs and return to standing without locking out your knees at the top.
  • Complete the same number of reps with the sandbag on the other shoulder.

Clean and Press

One of the best full-body exercises, this requires strength, stability, explosiveness and accuracy. The instability of the sandbag reinforces the need for proper technique in order to complete each rep.


  • Hold the neutral-grip handles and begin with the sandbag against the shins.
  • Your arms should not be in contact with your legs to make sure you hinge, not squat, into the movement.
  • With an explosive “jump,” catch the sandbag on your fists.
  • Lock your legs, push through the heels, brace the core and drive the sandbag over your head.
  • Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Related article: 6 Fat Burning CrossFit Moves To Tone Your Entire Body

Rotational Lunge

The rotational lunge is one of the most athletic exercises, since you must be strong enough to lift the weight and resist the pull of the sandbag as you are lunging. It’s also a great conditioning and fat-burning exercise, even more so than exercises that use twice as much weight.


  • Begin with the sandbag in front of the hips after deadlifting it off the ground.
  • Stand tall and begin to slowly lunge backwards and rotate the sandbag to the same side as the front leg.
  • Don’t over-rotate; just clear the lead knee.
  • Drive through the front heel and return to standing, then repeat with the other leg.
  • As you move faster, the sandbag will pick up momentum and increase the height of the swing.

Grip Rows

Why is grip strength so important? Research has shown a correlation to rotator cuff strength, which can help prevent injury. Working the grip also recruits more of your upper-arm muscles. Bent rows are a great way to balance your shoulders and challenge your core.


  • Roll the side of the sandbag to make a thick grip.
  • Deadlift the weight off the ground and slowly hinge your hips back, slightly bending the knees and keeping the lower back straight.
  • Pull the sandbag toward your upper stomach and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly lower the weight without bouncing.

Related article: Stability Ball Workout For Strong Core Abs & Legs


Body rotation is one of the most powerful movements you can perform. Rotational training helps with fat loss too. Because of the deceleration involved, there is a ton of work being performed by the entire body.


  • From standing, begin to pivot to one side.
  • As you pivot, hinge back on one hip and let the sandbag come to the outside of that knee.
  • Drive through the heel and push the sandbag out in front of you.
  • Keep the shoulders back and quickly pivot to the opposing side.
  • Quickly hinge back and “catch” the sandbag.

Kneeling Around the Worlds

Core training is far more than planks and crunches. The strongest core is one that can react and move dynamically. To strengthen your core, build flexibility and increase conditioning, around the worlds are your answer.


  • Kneel on the ground with the weight in front of you.
  • Slowly move the sandbag around your body like you’re putting on then taking off a jacket.
  • Perform slowly, resisting any movement of the trunk, and do not sit back on your heels.

Related article: Rock Solid Abs & Core With These 11 Plank Variations

Lateral Drag With Push-Ups

The push-up is a classic core and upper-body exercise. However, simply doing more reps is not the best way to strengthen the body. The lateral drag with push-up challenges your posture and upper-body and core strength. This powerful drill also helps build one-arm push-up strength and connects the body to create more explosive strength.


  • Begin with a light sandbag to the side of you while you assume a push-up position.
  • Keep your feet wide and reach across to grab the sandbag.
  • As slowly as possible (this is where slower is better), drag the sandbag across the body without elevating or rotating your hips.
  • As the weight crosses your body, begin to lower yourself into a one-arm push-up position.
  • Once the weight is across, keep tension on the sandbag and drive through the feet and stance arm to drive back up.

Grip Curls

One of the best ways to strengthen the biceps is to work your grip at the same time. And the length of the sandbag works the biceps through a greater range of motion than dumbbells.


  • Grip somewhere between the middle and the high end of the sandbag.
  • Standing tall with the shoulders back, tightly grip the sandbag and curl it toward the chest.
  • Don’t round the shoulders, and resist the pull of the weight forward on your trunk by bracing your abdominal muscles.

Front-Loaded Walks

Loaded carries are a highly effective means of building strength and endurance at the same time. Relatively simple to employ, the power of carrying a weight can’t be underestimated. Holding the sandbag in the front-loaded position will put incredible stress on your upper back, core and legs (in a good, strength-building way).


  • Clean the sandbag from the ground to the front-loaded position.
  • Go for a walk, holding the weight against your body, elbows close the ribs and keeping your lower back straight.