Every week we get questions from visitors asking us which fitness equipment and ab workouts are the best for building stronger, better looking abs. One of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment for this is the Ultimate Sandbag. It will strengthen your abs and the rest of your body, quickly.
To help you learn how it can build impressive abs I asked Ultimate Sandbag creator Josh Henkin two questions; how is the Ultimate Sandbag better than other types of equipment for strengthening your abs and core, and what is the best exercise or movement you can do with it to build these muscles? After reading Josh’s reply below , you too will see why you should make sandbag training a part of your workout.
With so many different types of fitness equipment and ab workouts available today it can be difficult to decide which to use. When products like the Ultimate Sandbag™, which are really different from the norm come around it is reasonable to be cynical. However, sandbag training was long used by great athletes like wrestlers to develop the abs, trunk, and hips in ways other equipment just could not! John Jesse’s famous book, Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopedia, states…
“The use of heavy sandbags and their large circumference forces the lifter to do his lifting with a round back instead of the traditional straight back lifting with a barbell. It is this type of lifting that truly develops a strong back. It develops the back and side muscles in movements that are identical to the lifting and pulling movements of wrestling.”
However, such training merely scratched the surface of what Ultimate Sandbag™ Training can do for core strength. Most popular fitness equipment rests on the body in places of great leverage. This means your abs will not have to work as hard during an exercise as they will when using a sandbag. Examples of this are, a barbell resting on your upper back when you are doing a squat or holding dumbbells by the side of your body at the start of an exercise. Even kettlebells, which are often held in a goblet or “rack” position will can place less stress on the core because the weights are well balanced in these positions.
Ultimate Sandbag™ Training doesn’t have one standard holding position like the aforementioned equipment but up to TWELVE that can be altered to challenge the core. For example, moving from a Zercher holding position (see video below) to the shoulder position when doing squats creates a whole new challenge for the “core” to work together to maintain posture and position. Adding the shifting motion of our Ultimate Sandbag™ exercises and you have transformed many of your standard lifts (i.e. squats, cleans, press, etc.) and have brand new ones which will really make your abs stronger.
You can really train your abs by using the Ultimate Sandbag™ to perform common core stabilization exercises. Consider the front plank, a popular core exercise that transcends fitness, sports performance, and yoga programs. The Ultimate Sandbag™ Zercher position is like a standing plank. What makes this movement really effective is that you can use it to challenge your core while squatting, lunging, stepping, and hinging from this position. Doing so challenges core and legs to the highest level! If the Zercher is our front plank then the shoulder position (holding the Ultimate Sandbag on one shoulder) is analogous to the side plank. Another phenomenal way make squats, lunges, etc. even more challenging ab and leg exercises.
Ultimate Sandbag Zercher Squats – Video Demonstration
The other unique aspects of Ultimate Sandbag™ Training are the patterns and positions that can be performed using common exercises. Let’s examine two favorites: lunges and kettlebell swings.
The lunge is often undervalued for its ability to train many of the important hip muscle stabilizers that play a vital role in pelvic stability and, therefore, lower back health. However, most people do exercises where the weight used moves with their body (typically forward and/or back). When you do an exercise like the Ultimate Sandbag™ Rotational Lunge the body begins to move in one plane and motion while the sandbag moves in two others. Now we really train the stabilizers of your hips and core since we not only have to produce movement, but resist it as well, which really makes your abs work hard.
Ultimate Sandbag Rotational Lunges – Video Demonstration
We can also see the kettlebell swing in the same manner. It is typically performed in one plane of motion (swinging up and down from your hips) with a focus on reps or weight. A way to make this movement more challenging is using a sandbag to perform an exercise like Ultimate Sandbag™ Shoveling. This exercise adds a rotational component and footwork to the swinging movement. You now have an exercise that bridges the weight room to sport or functional movement more closely.
Ultimate Sandbag Shoveling – Video Demonstration
The options that Ultimate Sandbags™ offer are literally limitless. However, you must understand how to apply proper progression and purpose to the movements. Use the information in this article as your guide, and you will be off to a great start toward building stronger, great looking abs and core muscles.
About Josh Henkin
Josh Henkin, CSCS is a strength coach based based in Phoenix, Arizona. He created the Ultimate Sandbag to deliver better and faster results to his clients. More importantly the Ultimate Sandbag was created to help Josh’s own lower back problems that were compromising his quality of life. You can learn more about Josh and his products at UltimateSandbagTraining.com.