Friday, December 28, 2007

Putting it to the Test!

Nothing is better as a coach than seeing people actually applying concepts you are trying to teach. I truly become the most excited when I see people using my sandbags and ideas that I have provided. The feedback from other coaches always makes my day and here is another example. Here is a great video of Rick Mayo using our sandbags in his personal training clinic in Georgia.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sandbag Backpacking

A Weekend of Kettlebell Fun

This weekend was a great experience as we had our second kettlebell seminar of the year down in Tucson, Arizona. Ron and Jana Holland were very kind in hosting us at their wonderful facility SWAT Fitness.

What? Isn't this blog about sandbag training? You would be surprised. What got me into sandbag training was kettlebells. Back in 2002 I was introduced to kettlebells after being very frustrated with the lack of results I was getting for my clients and myself!

Kettlebells blew me away with the effectiveness and the time efficiency kettlebell training provided. It was not just the tool, but the training methodology behind kettlebells. I thought though, "what else is out there?" That is where my idea for sandbags came about.

After some time working with sandbags I found that combining both implements might be the perfect combination. The reason being that they are founded on some common concepts.

  • Train Movement over Muscles
  • Focus on Posterior Chain Involvement
  • Unilateral Loading to Increase Core Strength
  • Postural Training in a Functional Manner
  • Improvement on Endurance, Strength, Movement Coordination, and Improved
    Body Composition.
I will be posting some of my favorite programs combining both of these great implements (some are already outlined in Knockout! E-book). However, if you can't wait check out my latest article on combining kettlebells and sandbags.

Click and paste the link below to read:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bootcamps and Sandbags

Bootcamp, bootcamp, bootcamp, it makes me feel like Jan Brady on the Brady Bunch! They are everywhere and seem to be more popular than ever! There are a few reasons that bootcamps have grown. The first is that they are a win, win for clients and coaches alike. They make training more often more financially viable for more people while still making it viable for coaches as well.

Secondly, the group atmosphere is always better. Who doesn't want to push themselves harder when they are around other people? We are all likely to push ourselves harder and perform one more repetition or go a little faster when we have a group around us that is pushing us a little bit more. In addition, what makes teams so beneficial for young people? The bonding and discipline that a group can exert more than just a single individual.

If you have never participated in a group class or bootcamp I challenge you to find one in your area and try them out. They are a fun way to maintain or improve your fitness and heck you may even see some of our sandbags in those classes! Sandbags lend themselves perfectly to groups because they are relatively easy to learn and can be adapted to so many different situations. See how some of these excellent coaches have applied our sandbags to their own bootcamps.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Now THIS is Innovation

I have to say this is one of the best clips I have seen on sandbag training. Very purposeful and creative at the same time. I will even say they know what they are doing because they are giving care to the bag (yes, sandbags need care too!) by having the mats set up. These guys don't know it yet, but they are going to receive a free gift from me!

Complexes for Fat Loss and New Strength!

A good friend and colleague, Geoff Neupert, constantly chuckle over the fascination people have with complexes. Really they are nothing new, Olympic weightlifters have used them forever to develop a base of fitness and also to groove technique. Many athletes have used them to develop strength-endurance, dynamic flexibility, and what the Eastern Europeans would call "suppleness". In fact, Istvan Javorek, was one of the first Eastern European coaches to make complexes popular here in the states. Coach Javorek published a series of programs based off of dumbbell complexes for his various athletes.

In retrospect, not much is new. Sometimes we all forget about a method or technique because there are so many good ones. That is why I revisited complexes in "Knockout!", you don't have to be a combative athlete to gain benefits from sandbag training. Check out this wonderful complex from North Point Personal Training in Georgia. You will see our bags in action!

Sandbag Training for Combative Athletes

When I decided to write "Knockout!" I thought, this is a no brainer!! Combative athletes have long used sandbags and sandbag type implements for their training. It may be one of the few training tools that is truly sport specific for combative athletes. Their "noncooperative" nature makes them most closely resemble the challenges of working with a live opponent. In addition, they work as great strength and conditioning tools. The ability of sandbag training techniques to be picked up quickly makes them highly desirable for any coach.

I am always so excited to see what other great coaches have come up with for the implementation of our sandbags. One of my favorite is the innovations of combative expert coach, Mike Fry ( Recently I caught one of his videos and wanted to share with all of you the possibilities of implementing sandbags into your routines.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sandbags for Maximal Strength?

It seems one of the biggest questions I receive is in regards to the weight of our sandbags. The first thing I tell everyone is "don't worry about it". Why? You can't relate sandbag weight to barbells, dumbbell, cables, or kettlebells. They are the most unique feeling implement. You have to actually get your hands on them to figure out what is most appropriate for you. Not only is it unique, but the feeling of a bag can change dramtically depending on what drill you are performing as well.

This means sandbags can be a challenge to perform traditional maximal strength work with. Typically maximal strength work requires very specific calculations to one's maximal effort. Unfortunately, sandbags aren't so simple. Because they move, are not easy to incrementally load, and bags can vary, you can't apply the same maximal strength work that you might to barbells and dumbbells.

However, this doesn't mean you can't get really strong using them. We can actually borrow some methods from the kettlebell world to apply to sandbags. Since both can be somewhat limited by their ability to change load we can see similiarties in programming. One of my favorities is ladder programs. By using a ladder you can train maximal strength without changing load. Here is a sample workout:

1 repetition: Zercher Squat
1 repetition: Power Snatch
1 repetition: Pull-up
1 repetition: Shoulder Get-up
Repeat for 2 repetitions, 3, 4, up to 5 repetitions. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then repeat the cycle with about 30 seconds to one minute in between the drills. You build volume and intensity. Once you can get through this cycle 3 times you can try adding a little weight to your bag!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sandbag Half Moon Snatch

The Half Moon Snatch is one of the most fundamental exercises for combative athletes. It trains the powerful throwing and take down muscles of the hips and trunk. The Half Moon Snatch also teaches the important component of shifting bodyweight appropriately to be balanced, stable, and more powerful. This drill can also be beneficial for anyone that wants to improve rotational strength such as golfers, baseball players, and tennis players.

Sandbag Over the Shoulder Throw

Excerpt from the new E-book, KNOCKOUT!!

Sandbag Split Clean

The split clean is a classic Olympic lifting variation that has been lost over the years. It is a drill that challenges not only one's power, but stability and balance as well. Because the movement is explosive the lifter does not have time to find a groove of the lift. They must react and this makes such a lift far more appropriate for athletes that need dynamic flexibility, power, and stability.

Sandbag Around the World

This is drill helps promote mobility of the trunk and shoulders. It can be performed as a warm-up drill or actually part of one's core training. Because of the rotational components it challenges the body's trunk to stabilize against an ever changing load. Great for fighters, wrestlers, and anyone who needs functional core stability.

Sandbag Platform Loading