One of the selling points you’ll hear a lot surrounding sandbag training is that you can make a sandbag out of anything. A gymbag and duct tape will do, or some Ziplock bags inside a backpack. You know, anything. But the truth is while you may technically be able to make some semblance of a sandbag out of anything, it’s not actually very fun to train with. You only have to get a spray of sand in your eyes or glued to your sweaty face a couple times before you start thinking sandbag training is for the birds.
The Ultimate Sandbag takes the problems of the homemade bag and transforms it into a professional strength and conditioning tool. Now, as a disclaimer, I will mention that the creator of the Ultimate Sandbag (USB), Josh Henkin, does post for Breaking Muscle, and I am going to say a bunch of nice things about his product. But I’m not saying them because Josh writes for us, rather Josh writes for us because he consistently puts out quality work, whether it be his writing or his sandbags.
Josh has engineered and continually updated the USB based on his personal experience using it and that of his clients, as well. The shell is easy to clean and is smooth in texture. If any of you have ever rubbed your face repeatedly on something like canvas, you’ll understand the aesthetic and hygienic benefits of a non-abrasive surface that might be smacking you in the face while you’re refining your technique.
The handles on the bags are kind of ridiculous, in a good way. On the bag I tested, which was the Power size bag, there are seven handles. (The larger bags have a slightly different handle set up.) The handles are large, rubber, and easy to grip. Maybe this ruins the “romance” of sandbags for some of you, but me personally, I think grip training can be done more effectively through other more intentional methods rather than by using a badly constructed sandbag.
The Ultimate Sandbag comes in four sizes:
- Core: 19L x 7W, loadable from 5-20 pounds ($69.99)
- Power: 19L x 9W, loadable from 10-30 pounds ($99.99)
- Strength: 27L x 10W, loadable from 20-80 pounds ($129.99)
- Burly: 27L x 13W, loadable from 80-160 pounds ($159.99)
All four sizes are available in black, camo, or pink. I must admit this just makes me want to order the giant Burly bag in pink.
Each bag comes with smaller filler bags to place inside. Depending on how many fillers bags you load and what you load them with, you can vary the weight and behavior of your sandbag, and also change the load quickly and cleanly. You can fill the USB with sand, different types of dirt, packing peanuts, or whatever. USB also sells sets with filler bags designed to hold water, if you want to vary your training even more.
If you’re considering ordering your first sandbag remember that instability is part of sandbag training and you may not need as much weight as you think to illicit change in your body. What I mean by that is, there’s nothing wrong with starting small and we won’t think any less of you for it.
The booklet and DVD that come included with the sandbags shouldn’t be underestimated. There is a wealth of information in these two resources, including movement instruction and workouts. And if that’s not enough for you Josh also has a YouTube channel with over 400 free videos.
Some of you may be into the ruggedness and old-school nature of a homemade sandbag. And, yes, the USB is more expensive than you might want it to be. But if you train with sandbags regularly or are a trainer working with paying clients “old school” can get old fast, and you might want to check out the Ultimate Sandbag instead.
Ultimate Sandbag sets are available at Amazon.