Sandbag Training: Make your own sandbags

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While barbells, dumbbells, machines, and kettlebells might be the most popular workout equipment, that doesn’t mean you’re only limited to those options. You can use many other objects to help you improve your fitness. One way is with sandbag training.

By Roger Lockridge

The benefits of sandbag training is that it challenges you in different ways. You will have to work to maintain a solid grip of it since it isn’t a solid shaped object like a plate or dumbbell. The weight distribution can change with the weight going from one side to the other so it can help you work on balance and stability. One big benefit of sandbags is that you can use them as a form or resistance training or to challenge your cardiovascular fitness. Another big advantage is that you can make your own and save money. My sandbag weighs 50 pounds, took less than 20 minutes to put together, and cost me less than $20. The instructions below can help you make your own and there is even a workout to help you break it in.

You will need the following items:

1 Duffle Bag (Make sure it isn’t cheaply made because it will need to handle a lot of work.) ($10-$15)

1 50 pound bag of sand ($3)

1 scale

3 trash bags

Duct Tape


  1. Place the scale next to your working area. Position a trash bag on the scale so you can dump sand inside. You can place the bag inside of a can and position that on the scale if you like,
  2. Open the sand. Pour 10 pounds of sand into the bag. When the scale reaches 10 pounds, stop pouring. Close the bag and remove it from the can. Don’t pull it straight out because the bag might rip. Turn the can and let it slide out.
  3. Cover the bag with duct tape. Place it in your duffle bag. This is your first weight.
  4. Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 but this time pour 15 pounds of sand in the second bag. Place this second bag in the duffle bag. Your bag now weighs 25 pounds.
  5. Place the rest of the sand in the third bag. This will make your final bag 25 pounds. Tape it and place it in your duffle bag.
  6. Zip up your duffle bag.

Testing Out Your Sandbag

Pick up your sandbag and run a 50 foot sprint with it. Next, hold it to your chest and do 10 reps of squats. Finally, if you handle the full load, do some overhead presses. We want to make sure sand doesn’t leak and the bag won’t rip. Once you decide it’s good to go, you have your newest piece of fitness equipment.

Sample Sandbag Training Circuit Workout

The sandbag has the different weights so you can adjust it as needed based on your level of strength. Decide what weight you want to use before doing this workout. This can be a good cardio session or can serve as a full body workout on a day you can’t make it to your gym.

Sandbag Deadlift – 15 reps

Sandbag Squat – 15 reps

Sandbag Standing Overhead Press – 15 reps

Sprint 50 feet out and back (100 feet total).

*No rest between exercises in circuit. Rest 2 minutes between circuits. Repeat 2-5 times depending on your fitness level.

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