Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sandbags and Odd Objects

How to Make your very own sandbag!

Left: Contractor Bags and a 10 lbs double-bagged "filler bag" ready to go into the duffel.
Right: Play Sand.

Left: Military Duffel Bag.
Right: An assortment of canvas duffel bags makes up our fleet.

Required Items
- Play Sand (50 lbs bags run for about $3.00; where else can you buy 200 lbs of weight for $12?!)
- Contractor Bags (3- or 4-mil)
- Canvas or Duffel Bag

1. Take a contractor bag and fill it with your desired weight of sand. NOTE: I chose 10 lbs so that I can more accurately match the total sandbag weight to the skill and strength levels of various trainees. You may decide that 20 or 25 lbs filler bags work better for you.
2. Tie off the bag and put it into another contractor bag. Twist this bag closed then "double" it back on itself before tying it off. This will help prevent leaks and breaks.
3. Take your "filler bags" of weight and put them into the duffel bag. Clip or tie the duffel bag closed.
4. Many duffel bags often come with backpack-type straps. For safety and training difficulty purposes, I recommend that you cut these off.
5. Voila! You're done! Now go lift heavy shit!

More Information
Click HERE for a great video by San Francisco CrossFit which demonstrates how much more difficult a WOD can become when a sandbag is utilized instead of an evenly-weighted barbell.

Odd objects in general are simply GREAT for strength training: sandbags, kegs, logs, beach balls filled with water, etc... all make great implements to add a different stimulus to your training. Seek out and add these items to your collection! Pick a CrossFit WOD and use an odd object instead of a barbell for loading! To replicate similar metabolic demands, use 50-75% of the Rx'd loading. To make the WOD more strength biased, use the Rx'd weight and prepare for a grueling, grip-intensive grind.

For more information, head over to the CrossFit Journal and do a search for additional information regarding sandbag training. As always, at $25 per year, the CFJ is an amazing resource at an even more amazing price; if you don't have a subscription, head over there RIGHT NOW and get won't be disappointed!

(PS: You might see some sandbag stuff come up towards the...ahem...end of the month, so it might benefit you to go make one and start practicing...)


Garrote said...

Hey buddy,

a few questions:

1. are the loads of the sand bags going to change often or will you use a common load for the wods? If so what weight will I be suffering under?

2. should I reserve the sea bag for larger loads or just use it for all loads? When i return home I was going to find a boating store and buy a couple of their canvas line bags. these are a lot sturdier than sand bags and about the same size. I was considering using bags of dog food to load the sea bag and hopefully break 100# for some shitty bag slams.

3. i noticed you mentioned a keg toss. I did some research and found some strongman training sites that train with keg tosses, it looks like a lot of fun/ super cool! they didn't mention anything about the kegs being partially filled though, do you know how this works? do they have water in those things or are they empty? Have you ever thought of incorporating some of these exercises?

Thanks for answering my last list of a million questions, I appreciate it dude, take care of yourself out there...


CFBF said...

1. The loads will change depending on the goal for any particular WOD. That's why going with filler bags of lesser weight is the best way to go. Then you can just add or take away bags as you go to get you to the desired weight. In future WODs, expect to see loading anywhere from 40 lbs up to (potentially) bodyweight for various WODs.

2. Right now I have a few people doing sandbag stuff with only 20 lbs (10 lbs fillers x 2) in a seabag and it seems to be working just fine. As for the dog food, I think that might get kinda gross...especially with slams!

3. You can fill a keg with anything: sand, pea gravel, water, etc... If you fill up a keg with water, it should be somewhere around 150ish lbs. Of course, partial filling would create a lighter, more sloshy load. Not sure on how much it would weigh if you filled it with sand, but it'd be freaking heavy! As for the toss, they do fill it somewhat so that it weighs the required 50 lbs for competition.

Don't get pigeon-holed into just thinking about tossing the keg. You can also do presses, carries, deadlifts, and cleans too! And yes, I plan to start incorporating this stuff once I have a place to store all the extra equipment! In the meantime, sandbags will have to do. But like I said, if someone wants to, they can certainly use any odd object in place of a barbell during our fact, it is HIGHLY encouraged!

As always, thanks for keeping me on my toes with the great questions! It's great hearing from you. BTW, how do you feel about making the switch to another o-lifting cycle to take advantage of all the strength you've built up over the last few months?

- Alex

Garrote said...

I'm always down for the oly-lift cycles, although I'm not too sure about a strength cycle going at the same time. Maybe here and there you can toss in some 1-5 rep max' but not prior to every workout. That's just what I think my body wanted last time. I lost a lot of Snatch strength do to this shoulder injury, but my cleans have got real f-in strong. Like I said the other day i set a new power clean max of 225# haven't done a heavy single clean & jerk recently gonna attempt it the next time I do "Elizabeth". I just really worked the squat clean a lot because the jerks hurt too much.