July 02, 2009
Josh Henkin is the creator and owner of Sandbag Fitness Systems.
The real world isn’t filled with perfectly balanced, easy-to-grip weights. Josh Henkin says training with odd objects such as sandbags is one way to build functional strength for use outside the gym.
When the disks I had herniated at age 14 had come back to haunt me, I was devastated. I wasn’t ready to accept that I would not be athletic ever again. Deep down I knew the doctors didn’t have the last say, and I was going to investigate every method to get back to being an athlete. My exploration in trying to find an effective solution to my injury led me to the concept of odd-object training.
I’ve always liked using odd objects like stones, logs and tires as training tools, and kettlebell work eased the pain and strengthened my hips and trunk. Sandbags seemed the logical next step. After all, they’re less expensive and more versatile than other objects.
Sandbags bridge the gap between the weight room and the real world because they aren’t perfectly balanced, calibrated and easy to grip. Sandbags teach athletes how to efficiently co-ordinate different muscle groups precisely because they’re awkward. Used correctly, sandbags can be even more challenging than free weights.
Everyone talks about “functional training” and “core training” these days. Both terms are overused, but sandbags are great for developing a solid core because both static and dynamic strength can be trained. By introducing odd objects such as sandbags, you can create a well rounded strength and conditioning program that challenges athletes in new ways and helps them develop functional strength.