Thursday, 13 December 2012

Todays Workout - What A Drag

Find yourself a hill and set out a course of approximately 20m. Perform 10 Sandbag Thrusters at the bottom of the hill, drag your sandbag to the top of the hill anyway that you can and perform 10 Sandbag Cleans at the top.

Aim to complete as many rounds as you can in 15 minutes.

Men should aim for a 40kg sandbag; women aim for 20kg.

Record your score.

Train hard!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Sandbag Centurion

A simple sandbag endurance session today - so you'll want a moderately heavy bag.

100 Sandbag Cleans
100 Sandbag Push Press
100 Sandbag Back Squats

Complete in any order you choose, as fast as you can.

Men aim for a 30kg sandbag; women aim for 15kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Sandbag Workshop Hits The UK!

Did you hear the good news? I'm running a Sandbag Training Masterclass in the new year! This one is based in the UK but I hope to add a few more during 2013 - principally in the US, Australia and Asia. If you have any suggestions for venues and/or locations then I'd love to hear them (contact me). 

Anyone who attends will be sure to learn lots, get some expert tuition, work hard and have fun! And you'll also be automatically inducted into the Sandbag Fitness Hall Of Awesomeness.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Must Have Training Kit For 2013

Do You Have Any Fitness Goals For 2013?

"Fail to plan and you plan to fail"

Sensible words for anyone who is trying to improve their health and fitness for the long term. While I'm always keen to say that the real key is to work smart, hard and consistently - a few purchases here and there can really help. In this newsletter I've written my list of essential Sandbag Fitness training kit to make sure that you smash any and all goals that you have for the forthcoming year!

Train hard!


Number 1 on the Sandbag Fitness kit list has to be The Complete Guide To Sandbag Training - 188 pages of straightforward sandbag training info, exercise descriptions with images and over half a year of programmes!

Now available in Paperback, eBook (pdf and ePub) and Kindle. And you can currently get the Paperback for 50% off until the 21st December!

Click here to get the Paperback

Click here to get the eBook

Click here to get the Kindle version

If you're still following the sandbag workouts with a homemade sandbag then it might be time to upgrade to one of Brute Force Sandbags excellent products. The Heavy Hitter is my personal favourite:
  • It loads to 90kg/200lbs
  • It's just the right shape for load carries and bear hugs
  • It is handleless so it really develops your grip
  • It's practically indestructible
Click here to check out the Heavy Hitter

If you're serious about tracking your progress (you should be) and you want a great timer that will easily cope with all of the workout options at Sandbag Fitness then you need a Gymboss. Affordable and portable, this is simply the best timer out there.

Click here to check out Gymboss timers

Do you need some additional coaching?

Training for a particular goal or event?

I offer coaching services for those who have serious goals or those that need to get the very best results in a shorter period of time. If you can't train with me in person then I also offer Exercise Video Analysis and Online Coaching - both highly effective options.

Click here to get Online Coaching

Click here for Exercise Video Analysis

Click here to book Personal Training Sessions with me

Interested in MMA or other combat/contact sports?

Sandbag Training For MMA & Combat Sports is my 194 page guide to get the very best from sandbag training to improve your strength, speed, power, endurance and agility. It explains, in detail, how to perform over 60 sandbag exercises and includes a full range of training programmes to get you in fighting shape.

Click here to get your copy

My Gift To You

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

I started Sandbag Fitness back in 2010 as a way of documenting my training and helping others to improve their heath and fitness. Nothing has changed and I still do it for the reward that comes from seeing others achieve their goals.

You can email me anytime you want with questions, feedback or even just to say hi. I personally answer all emails. Say hi to Matt

Check out a range of free articles here

Get involved in the conversation on Facebook

I hope you have a great holiday, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. 


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Get 50% Off My Sandbag Paperback!

To celebrate the holiday season I'm offering the chance to get 50% off The Complete Guide To Sandbag Training in paperback!

This crazy offer is unlikely to be repeated any time soon and I might even change it once the egg nog has worn off so make the most of it.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Plank - How Good Is It?

In recent years the plank has become the "Number 1" exercise for developing core strength and protecting the back from injury. It's an exercise that can be used by a wide variety of individuals and has a much lower incidence of injury associated with it than say a standard sit up or crunch. But how effective is it at developing core strength? Is it just an exercise that doesn't aggravate existing spinal/postural conditions?

The Plank

What is Core Strength?

Another "buzz" word, core strength is heavily touted as the primary goal for most strength programmes in todays fitness industry. Most people incorrectly identify core strength as abdominal strength but it should really be used to describe the stability and strength of the spine as a whole. Thus, we you see an individual following a programme that heavily includes some abdominal and lower back work to promote core stability there is most certainly a deficiency in the programming. When talking about core stability we should think about all of the muscles that assist in supporting the spine, these include:

  • Cervical - upper back (rotators, extensors, lateral flexors, anterior flexors)
  • Thoracic - middle back (rotators, extensors, lateral flexors, anterior flexors)
  • Lumbar - lower back (rotators, extensors, lateral flexors, anterior flexors)
  • Transversus Abdominus
  • Multifidis
  • Diaphragm
  • Pelvic Floor
  • External and Internal Obliques
  • Rectus Abdominis
But we all know that there are many other factors that affect spinal alignment or posture. An individual with excessive anterior flexion through the shoulder girdle (rounded shoulders) is certainly having their posture affected. So we should also consider that shoulder position is another important factor in maintaining spine strength and alignment. This then opens up a whole new area of core strength - one in which we can view the musculature of the entire torso as "core muscles". And if our definition of core strength is to maintain good posture and spinal alignment then this is entirely correct. So, we can also include:
  • Deltoids
  • Trapezius
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Pectorals
  • Gluteals
A slightly different view of core strength but I hope you can appreciate this integrated approach.

Biomechanical Assessment of the Plank

I will keep this section purposefully simple. The plank, in which we are required to maintain neutral spine under load in the prone position, can achieve the aim of activating core muscles. The characteristics are as follows:
  • Lack of movement through the pelvis/spine
  • Weight supported through the arms
  • Position is prone
If we accept that, in exercise terms, we generally improve in the specific areas we focus on then the plank would achieve the following:
  • We would improve our ability to activate core muscles and maintain a stable postural position
  • We would become strong in the prone position
  • The arms would become better at supporting our body weight
This is where we can start to see that the plank has some flaws. Improving strength in a prone position has a very limited application for the general population. In fact most of us display postural problems in the following situations:
  • Standing for extended periods of time
  • Picking up a load from the floor
  • Twisting while holding a load
  • Twisting without a load
  • Lifting something above the head

While I certainly didn't want to go ahead and bash the Plank as an exercise (I programme it myself), I did want to raise the point that it's important that we qualify the exercises that we select for our own programmes and the programmes of others. I think the Plank has it's place but I certainly don't class it as the best or most effective exercise for most individuals. 

Take a look at the exercises that you are currently practising and try to ascertain the precise benefits that  they provide for you. Is it appropriate to progress or regress the exercise? Have you selected an exercise based on it's proposed benefits rather than it being right for you?

Train hard (and smart)!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

How Do I Get Started With Sandbag Training?

I often get asked this and my answer is always the same - get started.

I can talk for a long time (some say too long) about the benefits of sandbag training but the reason I got started was because the sandbag was easy for me to get hold of and very inexpensive. I simply purchased a 25kg/55lb bag of sand from a local hardware store for £1.50. I decided to try sandbag training and started sandbag training on the same day - no drawn out decision making process, no procrastination, no nonsense.

If you are thinking about giving sandbag training a go then you should just do it. Do you know what happens when you start thinking about improving your fitness and goal setting but then do nothing about it, telling yourself that you'll "do it tomorrow"? Your brain (and eventually your body) will start to make the association that fitness and goal setting = no action. Pretty soon you'll be incapable of doing anything.

This is also true of any process of change. Have you ever written a list of things that you have to do and then not started crossing things off that list straight away? It doesn't work. You need to build momentum early on and then, once you start to see results, you'll begin to get into a routine.

This is a post about sandbag training and there are literally hundreds of workouts to try on the blog so you shouldn't be short of ideas. But, it could also be a post about anything that you need to change and want to improve in your life. So get out there, do something positive and let me know how you get on.

Train hard!

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Milo Experiment Rises From The Ashes!

A few months back I wrote about the Milo Experiment - my attempt to conduct a very simple, linear strength progression with my sandbag. The goal was to add a small amount of sand each workout and keep going until I couldn't add anymore. See the original post here

Well, with one thing and another, I got sidetracked and never did any update posts. One of our followers (Randy) pointed this out to me the other day (thanks Randy). The thing is, I did actually carry on with the experiment but I was just lazy in telling you guys about it.

Want to know what happened?

I ran out of space in my sandbag.

I was following the experiment with my Heavy Hitter and I got all the way up to max capacity - that's around 90kg or 200lbs. I now need to get myself a new sandbag - thanks a lot Milo Experiment. Sure, I'm much stronger than I ever have been before but I have to go out and spend money on another bag.

But seriously, if you want to massively increase your strength in a very simple, methodical way then you should try this. Get yourself a sandbag and go through the daily ground to overhead lift (or lifts). Add a small amount of weight each day and commit to it. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Train hard!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Todays Workout - Serious Strength

Todays workout is a simple strength session.

Load up a heavy sandbag and complete a max set of clean and press - ideally reaching fatigue around 5 repetitions. The clean and press can be done in anyway that you see fit. See here for some clean technique.

Rest for 3 minutes and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Train hard!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Complete Guide To Sandbag Training In Paperback!

After a few weeks of edits and re-designs The Complete Guide To Sandbag Training is finally out in paperback!

I've had so many requests for this (especially from those of you that don't have Kindles or other e-readers) that I think you'll be happy with the result. It'll be launching pretty much everywhere over the next few weeks but you can pick up copies right now at Amazon:

Here are some screenshots from the re-designed interior:

I'd really appreciate it if you could leave a review or a like at Amazon.

Train hard!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Todays Workout - The Unbearable Trifecta

100 Sandbag Bear Hug Squats
100 Sandbag Clean and Press
100 Sandbag High Pulls

Complete in any order, in any combination, as fast as possible.

Men aim for a 40kg sandbag; women aim for 25kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

We've Been Nominated For An Award!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I (and Sandbag Fitness) have been nominated for Best Kept Secret in this years WEGO Health Activist Awards!

I certainly don't run this blog for the promise of awards but it's great to know that people appreciate some of the effort that goes in. If you think that more people should know about Sandbag Fitness then I'd love it if you could cast a vote too:

Many thanks.


Train hard!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Todays Workout - Sandbag Strength

5 Heavy Sandbag Bear Hug Squats
Max Sandbag Overhead Press

Rest for 2 - 4 minutes and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

5 Heavy Sandbag Shoulder Get Ups
Max Pull Ups

Rest for 2 - 4 minutes and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Aim for the heaviest sandbag you can handle for the required reps.

Record your score.

Train hard!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Todays Workout - Gettin' It Done

20 Sandbag Cleans
20 Sandbag Thrusters
20 Sandbag Shoulders

Repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Men aim for a 50kg sandbag; women aim for 25kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Todays Workout - The Jet

5 Pull Ups
10 Sandbag Push Press
10 Sandbag Shoulder Squats (change shoulder each round)

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

Men aim for a 30kg sandbag; women aim for 15kg.

Record your score.

Train hard!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Todays Workout - The Devil's In The Details

100 Sandbag Shoulders.

Men aim for 50% bodyweight; women aim for 50% bodyweight.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Todays Workout - The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

15 - 1 of the following exercises (perform 15 repetitions of each one, then 14 etc.):

Sandbag Floor Press
Sandbag Shoulder Get Ups (switch shoulders at 5)
Sandbag Zercher Squats
Sandbag High Pulls

Men aim for a 40kg sandbag; women aim for 20kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

This could well be a pretty long workout for you, so here's a nice long music video to go with it!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Todays Workout - "I Ain't Goin Down No More"

5 Sandbag Clean and Press
Max Pull Ups

Rest for 3 minutes and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Aim for the heaviest sandbag you can handle for 5 reps and record both the max weight and max repetitions for you Pull Ups.

Train hard!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Todays Workout - Matt and the Wheeled Warriors

Todays workout was inspired by one of my favourite cartoons as a kid - Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors. Check out the video below if you want a blast from the past!

Run 400m
10 Push Ups
20 Sandbag Cleans
30 Sandbag Back Squats

Repeat for a total of 3 rounds as fast as possible.

Men aim for a 40kg sandbag; women aim for 20kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

You might be wondering what it was about that cartoon that inspired this workout. They drove a lot and this workout contains some running - that's it. A fairly tenuous link you'll agree. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sandbag Training For Tough Mudder

I recently had an article published here in the UK in Outdoor Fitness Magazine. It covered a few specific sandbag training programmes that would help you get through the Tough Mudder. I know that many of those following the blog have been unable to get a copy as they don't live in the UK so I thought I'd provide a taste of the training info here.

For those of you that can get hold of the magazine, I urge you to grab a copy - it really is very good.

For everyone else, here's a taster of some of the sandbag training exercises that you can use to get around the course.

Try this workout to build endurance

Complete 5 rounds of the following sequence:

1 Sandbag Hill Sprint (top to bottom)
10 Sandbag Thrusters
10 Sandbag High Pulls
10 Sandbag Chest Throws

Use a sandbag weight that challenges you to complete all 5 rounds.

Sandbag Hill Sprint

Thruster Start

Thruster Finish

High Pull Start

High Pull Finish 
Chest Throw

Todays Workout - You're Not Serious...

I felt like getting really stuck in today. I've been at the computer too much recently and wanted to get a lot of energy out. It worked.

100 Sandbag Shoulder Squats (switch shoulders as you wish)
100 Sandbag Push Jerks
100 Sandbag Cleans (Power)
100 Pull Ups

Men aim for a 30kg sandbag; women aim for 15kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Todays Workout - Run Forrest, Run!

Run 400m
10 Push Ups
20 Sandbag Front Squats

Repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Men aim for a 40kg sandbag; women aim for 20kg.

Train hard!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Todays Workout - Sandbag Tabatas

Tabatas have been given a rough ride recently and they're still highly misused but it's been awhile since we did any here on Sandbag Fitness so here we go!

20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 8 working intervals. 1 minute rest between exercises.

Sandbag High Pulls
Sandbag Push Press
Sandbag Back Squats
Sandbag Walking Lunges

Record your aggregate score for each exercise.

Train hard!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Todays Workout - He Man (or She-Ra)

A simple strength workout today focusing on 2 key sandbag training skills - Bear Hug Squats and Overhead Presses.

5 Heavy Sandbag Overhead Presses
Max Sandbag Bear Hug Squats

Rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Record your max weight lifted and max repetitions for the Sandbag Bear Hug Squats.

Train hard!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Todays Workout - He's Like A Piece Of Iron... (bonus Rocky video!)

You'll need courage and resilience to get through this sandbag strength workout today.

5 Heavy Sandbag Ground-to-Overhead
Max Pull Ups (or variation)

Repeat for a total of 5 rounds with 2-4 minutes rest in between each round.

Rest for 3 minutes.

5 Heavy Sandbag Front Squats
Max Press Ups (or variation)

Repeat for a total of 5 rounds with 2-4 minutes rest in between each round.

You should aim to lift the absolute maximum weight that you can in your sandbag, ideally reaching fatigue during the 5th rep in each set. If you're scratching your head thinking "why have I been given so much rest?" then you probably aren't lifting heavy enough...

Record your score and max weight.

Train hard!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Todays Workout - Deception

Todays workout is simple but deceptively tough.

5 Pull Ups, 10 Sandbag Deadlifts, 10 Press Ups. 10 rounds.

Men aim for a 50kg sandbag; women aim for 30kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Free Samples Now Available!

Did you know that you can now get hold of sample versions of my two eBooks completely free? Use the 'Buy Now' buttons below to access the files through our partner store Fitedia.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Todays Workout - Powerslave

Todays workout is a mixture of pretty much everything, with a definite emphasis on endurance. If you're new to Sandbag Fitness (hell, even if you've been doing it for a while) you might want to start with a fairly light sandbag.

100 Skips
20 Sandbag Cleans
20 Sandbag Zercher Squats
20 Sandbag Thrusters
20 Sandbag Bent-Over-Rows

5 rounds as fast as possible.

Men aim for a 20kg sandbag; women aim for 10kg.

Record your time.

Train hard!

Here's a shot from an upcoming article in a magazine here in the UK (more details to follow):

Monday, 20 August 2012

Todays Workout and an article on Breaking Muscle!

I just had an article featured on Breaking Muscle - you can check it out here

Todays workout comes directly from that article and, I have to warn you, it's a serious challenge. 

Complete as many repetitions as possible in 1 minute per exercise. Rest for 1 minute between each set of 4 exercises and repeat for a total of 2 - 4 rounds:

Bear Hug Squats
High Pulls
Floor Press
Backwards Drags (drag for 20m, turn, and repeat)

Men should aim for a 30kg sandbag; women aim for 15kg.

Record your score.

Train hard!

Bear Hug Squats

High Pulls

Floor Press

Backwards Drag