Once you get use to using certain pieces of equipment you begin to feel lost without them. Being back in my hometown I don't have access to all the great pieces of equipment I am use to having. However, it doesn't mean you can't have a great workout!! You can see a great workout I developed that can be done in any commercial gym. The only thing I brought was my handy Jungle Gym that is easy to transport and hide in your gym bag.
When I describe some of the fundamental exercises of sandbag training people start to fade out mentally. It always interests me that if I spoke about the details of deadlifting a barbell, snatching a kettlebell, people would listen intently with open ears. Same simplicity as far as the the exercises not appearing to be overly complicated, yet, it is the subtle details of these movements that make the effective as well as makes performing them safe.
Shouldering may look simple, but has far more complexity in the performance than some of its cousins, deadlifting or kettlebell snatching. Why? The most obvious is that the implement itself makes shouldering more complicated as both shape and weight shifts from right from the very gripping of the bag. Learning how to properly absorbe the weight lifted to the shoulder is another key element of performing the lift correctly.
To provide more detail I worked on a new video for getting the most out of shouldeirng:
In Strength, Josh Henkin, CSCS http://sandbagfitnesssystems.com
This has been one heck of a year, for both good and bad reasons. It is often easy to get caught up in the bad, we all know how easy it can be to let the negatives to override any positives that happen in our lives. I am reminded of two great men that have very unique ways of living.
One is Thomas Edison, yep, the guy that invented the light bulb! What can we learn from him? After going through a thousand versions of his light bulb someone asked him what he learned from his failures? Thomas Edison replied he has no failures, but 1,000 ways not to build a light bulb.
Then there is Steven Covey, who once wrote in his book, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", we don't have control over bad things from happening to us, we only have control how we react to those challenges.
These two ideas give me great excitement to continue to build upon the successes we have experienced this year. The most important of them helping people get the most out of their lives because they feel the best them possible.
As a thank you to YOU, those that have allowed me to help you get more out of your fitness than you thought possible I am going to offer a killer sale. I don't think I'll do something like this anytime soon! You are going to get everything you need in this sale with both the best training products and training resources possible. If you were thinking about starting your sandbag program this is the time! In this sale you can save as much as $60, I don't mind though, I can't wait to hear how my program has helped you!
In Strength, Josh Henkin, CSCS http://sandbagfitnesssystems.com
One of my biggest missions in the fitness industry is to help people realize that achieving great fitness levels doesn't have to be done in long or boring sessions. So many of us feel such negative emotions when the idea of exercise is mentioned. Most of this is due to the idea that we have to spend long hours in the gym, or that it is going to hurt, or most depressing, just be flat out boring!!!
When I met Megan she was actually working towards a fitness competition, talk about adhering to all those ideas we just talked about! Megan would spend hours in the gym, repeat the same programs trying to isolate all her "weak points", and it began to dominate her life. Some people would say that is just necessary to compete at a high level. While there may be some truth, the reality is that I have witnessed Megan become more fit and enjoy training since she has switched her mindset of training.
For those women that think that this training is too hardcore or manly, check out some of these great videos Megan did of her own workouts. It is true that these training sessions can deliver the results we promise. Even better though is they can all be scaled to any ability level. You don't have to be an advanced lifter to do well, while those that have more experience could make these very challening workouts.
We are definitely hitting the time of year where let's face it, people let their lifestyles go. Holidays always signify a time where we give ourselves permission to eat poorly. I've never been against the idea of a treat, but people often let their programs fall completely apart. So, I asked my good friend and fat loss expert, Franz Snideman, to give us some insights to better fat loss programs so that you don't fall into the common holiday trap of gaining the weight you finally lost during the year!
Nothing I love more than people that sit back and tell you how to do things, yep, those same people who never get out and actually train. Those same people who hide behind keyboards and don't lift a single object. I love those people!!!
I have found that more and more popularity my Sandbag Fitness Systems receives, the more attacks I get. You know what that means? It means we are getting to the industry! Here are some of my favorite attacks that people say, btw, these are all real!!!
**Josh really isn't strong, he is just trying to sell sandbags! Heck, he probably couldn't lift even a 200 pound sandbag!
Right off the bat this shows me a lot of ignorance. Anyone that knows me knows my love of strength. I've put myself out there almost more than any other fitness professional with videos of myself lifting hard and heavy. Nope, not my best student, or pros that I know, that is me right at the forefront of lifting right in front of everyone!
My love of sandbags only came from my lack of money years ago to have useful strongman equipment. Sandbags were the most versatile and accessible pieces of equipment. The only problem is they did keep breaking and falling apart, I won't say they were responsible for the end of my first marriage, but probably didn't help:)
However, as far as the question of me really lifting, this was a great video that my friend Troy Anderson put together after my last strongman contest. You will see me missing a 263 thick bar clean and jerk (very disappointing as I had done 273). You will see me performing a medley of a 225 sandbag, 250 each hand farmer's, and 190 keg. You will finally see me flipping a 750 pound tire that I just got edged out on!!! I am excited that in just a few weeks I will be going to San Diego to do another competition. Dan John's first rule of success? Show up!!!
***Man, he looks fat!
I always, always love this one!! No, I don't think I will get mistaken for a Calvin Kline fashion model any time soon, but really this is of no interest to me. Yet, we have a very bad misconception today.....women are fat if they can't fit into a size zero even if they have a six pack, guys are fat if we don't have tiny little waists! The truth of the matter is I have never met anyone of great strength that is not THICK in the torso.
Now, there is a difference between being fat and thick. Yes, some powerlifters and other strength athletes do get heavy to lift more, but this is different. I don't understand how if we train hard for our arms, our legs, our shoulders to grow, how we can expect our torso not to do the same? Yes, the trunk grows in muscle as well. If you remember the classic Greek statues, they weren't of v-shaped men, rather more square.
Who usually criticizes people for this? It is pretty amazing I often find it to be people that don't lift much at all? To be honest though, it is ok if you don't want this to happen to you, guess what, don't lift heavy!!! That is why I created this system of training, there are programs for any goal to achieve great things through the implementation of sandbags.
One can still benefit greatly from strengthening their torso as real core strength isn't about a six pack, it is about being functional!! Try this workout I posted to see how you can challenge strength, endurance, and fitness with such a great tool!
In Strength, Josh Henkin, CSCS
ps-next week is the start of our new exciting program that will make you rethink how you train!!!
Sandbag training is definitely one of those perplexing concepts. Everyone seems to think it is so simple, but they keep screwing it up! In fact, one of my good friends asked me to show some things with the sandbags. You see, being a physical therapist her idea is that it is just like a dumbbell so once I show her a couple of exercises it would be no problem. This simply couldn't be further from the truth.
Yes, even though she believes in, dare I say, "functional training", the concepts behind sandbag training are quite different. Yeah, yeah, I have seen those nauseating videos of companies showing that you can curl with a sandbag. Really? That is why you want a sandbag, so you can do curls? Well, it got me thinking. Even though my system of sandbag training is unique, you could actually use it for many of the same exercises that you would with a dumbbell. In fact, it would add a new dimension to many of these classic drills.
Ok, I realize this isn't rocket science concept, but I want you to look outside of the box. Recently I have spent a lot more time looking at the great versatility of our small sandbags. Because of their dimension and ability to be really light or a decent load, you could perform a whole lot of cool drills that you would use with dumbbells. Yet, because of the instability of the sandbags, these drills all of a sudden become much more challenging.
In the video below I demonstrate one way you can make our small sandbags become more evil than any dumbbell exercise could ever dream of!
In Strength, Josh Henkin, CSCS
p.s.-pretty soon I will be announcing a really cool new DVD that couldn't come at a more perfect time!
I never understood cynicism or close mindeness, both seem very deterimental to innovation and creativity. Sure, I do understand there is A LOT of hype, but sometimes the excitement is warranted. Yep, even I have been in the role of the cynic, but that ended up being about a tool that would become part of my everday arsenal and one of my favorite training tools...kettlebells.
It took me quite some time to decide to take a leap of faith and try something that seemed so unnecessary. Seriously, why did I need to use a kettlebell? It wasn't as though I didn't have access to enough dumbbells and barbells to make great gains. Ok, it wasn't any great insight that led me to jumping in feet first, rather, the insistence of strength coach John Davies. Yes, simply the recommendation of someone I respected, no sales pitch or ad copy. This was 2002, if I hadn't listened I may have been behind the industry and being like so many trying to fault with a training tool that has obviously revolutionalized the way so many people and coaches train.
Why this story? I feel as sandbags will take a similar path, I don't want to speak anything but the truth. They are the most demanding and result producing tool there is. They are completely unique in nature from the exercises to the feel. This may sound like hype and a commercial, but it is the very reason I began to implement them for myself and my clients.
I can talk about sandbags all I want, but let's face it, I will look bias. That is why I was really excited when Bill Fox contacted me. Bill is a gentleman that I have heard about for many years. In fact, he was one of the first people I read about implementing kettlebells before most of the big names were even known. No, Bill isn't a strength coach, he is an attorney that is serious about fitness. At 48 Bill appears more fit that most 21 year olds! He has tried it all and is very much the classic minimalist. Only using what works I was very excited when Bill wrote to me and told me about his experiences with sandbags. Can I even say he found them more challenging than kettlebells;
External Force - the sandbag revelation " I've always loved body weight training. Coming from 30 years of martial arts, body weight training will always be my roots. There will be lots of body weight training on this blog - mostly of the Steve Maxwell and Crossfit variety. It's just cool not using any equipment. Well, you need something to do pullups on, but you know, it's still cool.
But how simple is too simple?
My friend Pavel Tsatsouline has a great body weight book called "The Naked Warrior". Read it, (you might want to read everything else he's written too while you're at it), it's about way more then just body weight training, it's about how to get strong. But even in that book Pavel wisely recommends doing a heavy pull to keep the posterior chain strong. Kettlebells work great, as does a barbell. Pull something heavy off the ground to your shoulder, or overhead if you want, and the posterior chain gets worked. Look up Dan John's stuff. I was feeling the absence of this kind of work so I busted out the KBs a few nights ago. It worked and it felt great, but...
Is the sandbag the greatest implement going for simply getting strong? Who knows. Of course barbells can go way heavier, kettlebells are great for high rep work, and so on ad infinitum. I'm just saying I never feel as worked as I do after a sandbag session. I've neglected this tool, but a good friend of mine, a fellow desk jockey who now has forearms like a stevador, has been sharing his revalation with me. After today I think he migh be right. Look for more sandbag work going forward - much more.
10 rounds w/ a 50lb bag of:
10x shoulder the bag from the floor alternating shoulders each rep 5x ass to heel squats with the bag on whatever shoulder it wound up on
10 turkish getups alternating sides each rep (untimed)
here's a clip from Josh Henkin with some of the movements, and check out Josh's site, he makes nice bags
The versatility of sandbag continues to amaze even me! One of the best ways to implement sandbags is by using complexes. Just as outlined in my KNOCKOUT! e-book, complexes are a fantastic way to get strong, muscular balance, endurance, and dynamic flexibility. Because of the nature of sandbags they are easy to put into complexes that simply are not possible with any other implement.
In this installment I must say "GREAT JOB!" to Matt Johnson who put together this great video of sandbag complexes that he has put together. Again, I have to say that our sandbag are the most versatile and durable. While other people still try to make something to knock us off, it is because of people like Matt that demonstrate why no one can make a better sandbag!
What makes sandbags such an attractive training tool? Accomplishing a lot with mimimal equipment is one of the aspects that makes a lot of people use sandbags. From athletes to those interested in fitness, everyone has to be very particular with how they utilize their training time.
I have for the past few years been promoting Power Circuit Training as a great way to accomplish a lot of different fitness goals within a short amount of time. As we all know circuit training itself is not a new concept. However, placing a greater emphasis on quality of work, low repetition work, and movement is something very new. If you wish to read about this concept in detail click on the link below.
Thank you for visiting the Sandbag Fitness Systems Blog. There are hundreds of FREE workouts and training tips throughout our blog and we hope you take the time to see how our Ultimate Sandbag can blast your fitness to new heights. To learn more about our innovative program please check out www.sandbagfitnesssystems.com.
Josh Henkin is a Strength & Conditioning Coach in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is owner of Innovative Fitness Solutions (www.ifsstrength.com). He has trained professional athletes, composed creative fitness programs, and helped clients rehab from serious injuries.
Coach Henkin is also the creator of the Ultimate Sandbag and author of two E-books on Sandbag training. Check out www.sandbagexercises.com for more information on our products and articles.