Being awkwardly shaped and flexible, they work your muscles in many different ways when compared to regular old strength training.
That said, filling workout sandbags properly can be a royal pain in the you-know-what.
And let’s be blunt, there’s not much worse than having sand fly out of your sandbag after only a few workouts due to it not being sealed correctly.
Save yourself time (and frustration) with our best sandbag-filling tips and technique hacks down below!
HOW TO FILL THE BELLS OF STEEL FITNESS SANDBAG
First off, you’ll need some sand — big surprise, we know.
We recommend going to your local hardware store to grab as many 50lb bags of play sand that you need since it’s the intended filler for this implement.
Bags of play sand are pretty cheap, each one will only run you about $5.
Simply divide the listed weight of your workout sandbag (150lbs, for example) by the weight of each bag of play sand (50lbs, typically) to get the number of bags you need (3, in this case).
If you happen to live in an area where it’s often sub-zero temperatures (welcome to Canada) and the hardware store keeps their play sand outside, then the bags might be frozen.
To avoid large bouts of curse words and a messy workspace, bring the bags of sand inside to let them thaw out overnight — seriously, you’ll thank us. Okay, let’s move onto…
How to Fill a Workout Sandbag
- Remove the fitness sandbag from its packaging
- Pull apart the top velcro strap
- Undo the zipper
- Pull apart the velcro to open the bladder
- Fluff up the bag to expand it
- Scoop or pour the sand in
- Shake the bag frequently to help the sand settle
- Once full, connect the velcro parts of the bladder
- Roll the velcroed parts like a burrito into the bag
- Zip up the zipper
- Secure the velcro strap pieces together
Here are some key points to keep in mind when filling your workout sandbag.
Shake the Workout Sandbag Often
Shaking the fitness sandbag as you’re filling it will allow the play sand to settle in those little nooks and crannies that tend to hide in the folds of the inner bladder.
Doing this will produce a more compact sandbag. Failing to do this could result in the sandbag not being filled to its listed weight.
So, don’t forget… fill and shake, fill and shake!
Roll the Bladder Opening
Once the workout sandbag is full, it’s common for people to seal the mouth of the bladder, stuff it in and expect the sand to stay put. If only it was that easy!
Being tiny little grains of rock and mineral particles, sand has a bad habit of sneaking out of little cracks and ending up all over your floor.
Because of this, you’ll want to do more than just stuff the mouth of the bladder into the inner component of the bag and call it a day.
Instead, take the mouth of the bladder and tightly roll it downwards like you would to roll a burrito.
Once you’ve rolled as much of the excess material as possible, hold it down as you close the zipper.
The extra rolling will make it much harder for little bits of sand to wiggle out of the bladder.
HOW TO BRACE WHEN PICKING UP A HEAVY SANDBAG
To get the most effective workout with your fitness sandbags, you’ll need to brace correctly.
Bracing your core is a phrase that’s repeated so much that it’s almost lost its meaning. That said, the basic principle of why it’s done is still sound.
The more rigid a surface, the easier it is to transfer force through it. So, this line of thinking extends to the concept that a rigid (braced) body can lift weight more effectively.
To do this, take a deep breath into your belly and brace your stomach outwards.
When doing this, don’t just try to push your stomach forwards. You should also be bracing your sides and back outwards, to create a 360-degree brace.
HOW TO PICK UP A FITNESS SANDBAG FOR NEWBS
If you’re new to using fitness sandbags, here’s how to pick one up correctly:
- Hinge your hips back
- Keep your arms long
- Rock the bag back and forth into your palms
- Deadlift the bag into your lap
- Wrap your arms
- Cradle the bag close to your chest
Lastly, remember these important cues to ensure proper technique when lifting a workout sandbag.
Keep Your Arms Long
It’s likely that you can get away with only using your arms with lighter sandbags. But remember, this less effective technique will become more ingrained the more it’s repeated.
And when you get to the heavier sandbags, you’ll seriously struggle if you try to keep the same technique instead of pivoting to a more effective method of lifting the fitness sandbag.
So, you should aim to keep “long arms” when doing your initial lift of the sandbag off the floor.
This should deter you from using your arms to curl the sandbag up into your lap, and will help you use your larger leg muscles more efficiently.
Hinge Your Hips
Since fitness sandbags are awkwardly shaped and hard to grab a hold of, it’s normal for your lower back to put in some work to pick them up.
Because of this, don’t be too worried if your lower back gets tired when doing these.
If your lower back is getting really pumped up, make sure that you’re hinging your hips back while sticking your chest out to reduce the workload on your lower back muscles.
Fitness Sandbag Final Thoughts
Fitness sandbags are an amazing tool for any gym.
Even just a Beginner Fitness Sandbag Set can build a killer workout. Plus, they’re perfect for strongman training.
Filling them isn’t rocket science but by following the steps above, you’ll save time and you’ll avoid making a mess.
If you’re interested in adding a custom set of fitness sandbags to your arsenal, make sure to check them out below!