I love training with Sandbags. The reason for this is that lifting an object where the weight forces you to continuously adjust your grip and body to complete a rep is super challenging. Plus it’s a lot of fun to train in such a so-called ‘old school’ manner. I also think they are often a better option than barbells and dumbbells and that the different way they force you to train will make you stronger, fitter, and more athletic than barbells and dumbbell training alone ever will.
Sandbags are really versatile too. You can do pretty much any exercise with sandbags that can be done with barbells and dumbbells. The key differences are that with sandbag exercises the shifting of the weight in the bag and grips you are forced to use throughout the movement make them much more challenging. These differences will make you stronger, fitter, and more over time.
This article describes and shows you how to perform one of my favorite sandbag exercises, the Bear Hug Squat. After reading it and watching the video below you too will know a new way to perform one of the best lower body exercises for building strong, muscular, and lean legs. Once you do it you may never want to squat with a barbell again.
Performing Bear Hug Squats
When you do this exercise you do the same squatting movement when you are using a barbell for a front or back squat. The difference is that you hug the sandbag, holding it against your chest throughout the exercise. When first learning the exercise you may want to grab the handles on the bag too. Once you’re strong enough hug the bag only for a greater challenge.
As you can see from the video below holding the sandbag this way forces you to keep your back straight and therefore use proper technique. This decreases the risk of injury big time. I also find that doing squats with a sandbag makes my back and knees less sore too.
Adding Bear Hug Sandbag Squats to Your Workout
Since its so demanding you should do this exercise first in your workout. I suggest performing them for 2-3 sets of 5 reps at first with a weight you can do for about 10 repetitions. Doing so will ensure you are able to perfect your technique. Increase the weight of the sandbag Once you are able to do them perfectly for 3 sets of 5 reps. Bear Hug Squats can be performed 2-3 times a week.
Buying A Sandbag
The sandbag I recommend is Josh Henkins Ultimate Sandbag. It’s available in several sizes with the largest being able to hold 180 pounds of sand. I like this product over others for many reasons. One is that you can easily adjust the weight by adding or removing the individual bags. Unlike most products they don’t leak either. A second reaso is that it has several handles positioned on different locations which makes it possible to perform exercises with different grips to make an exercise more or less challenging.
You can learn more about the Ultimate Sandbag by reading my in-depth review.