The sandbag exercises, like the Sandbag Bear Hug Squat, provide a simple method of getting a total-body workout without paying for a gym membership or requiring you to purchase a lot of expensive equipment. Will these exercises work? Yes! The U.S. Army uses sandbag exercises to help soldiers increase their overall strength and flexibility.
The physical benefit of using the sandbag stems from its weight and awkwardness. It forces your body to use a lot more muscles than traditional weightlifting, which focuses on isolating a single muscle group. This exercise will strengthen your thighs, hips, and buttocks and will even help tone your abs! Sandbag exercises will also help increase the strength of your arms and grip.
Sandbag Bear Hug Squat
To perform a Sandbag Bear Hug Squat, begin by ensuring that you have enough room to complete the exercise safely. You will need to be able to complete a full range of motion with your arms and legs while in the standing position.
- Grasp sandbag in a “bear-hug” by wrapping your arms around it and gripping it tightly.
- Spread your feet a little more than shoulder width apart with your toes pointed forward and aligned with your knees.
- Tighten your stomach muscles by drawing them toward your spine.
- Keep your eyes looking forward or slightly up.
- Bending your knees and keeping your back straight, lower your body into a sitting position as if you were sitting down on a chair. Your knees should be at a 90° angle. If you cannot go that low, simply go as low as you can.
- Keeping your weight on your heels, return to your original position until your knees are straight but not locked.
- Repeat steps 3-6.
The number of squats you should perform will depend upon your current physical condition. Completing three sets of 10 repetitions is the goal, but doing fewer when beginning will still strengthen your lower body, burn unwanted fat and increase your stamina.
As with any exercise, always consult a doctor before beginning any new regimen. Ensure to warm up appropriately by walking, taking a slow jog, jumping rope, or doing any low-impact aerobic exercise. If you are new to working out, you may want to start performing squats without the sandbag and working your way up to the additional weight. When performing the exercise, it is critical to keep your toes pointed forward in alignment with your knees and hips, and ensure to keep your back straight to avoid injury. It may help to look upward as you perform the lift and remember to keep your weight back on your heels.
Mix it up
Exercise is fun, healthy and invigorating. Our bodies can stop getting stronger if we practice the same exercises repeatedly. Once you have mastered this practice and are performing 3 sets of 10 regularly, begin to mix it up! Try doing six sets of five, or perhaps 10 sets of three. This will prevent your body from hitting a plateau and will allow you to achieve greater levels of physical fitness.