Monday, July 27, 2009

Listen to the Dino Man!

I make no claims about "inventing" sandbag training. In fact, I like to give credit where credit is due and one of my biggest inspirations was Dinosaur Training legend, Brooks Kubik. Many years ago I was very frustrated with my training and the pain I still had in my back. After reading Dinosaur Training I was so inspired to try something new, something that really worked with my personality. 

It was Brooks' writing where I first read extensively about sandbag training and he states in his book how sandbags are the best odd object training tool. Why? There are many reasons mostly though their safety and versatility range supreme. However, a friend of mine recently sent me on of Brooks' classic Dino Files packed full of training advice for combative athletes. 

Why send me this information other than it reinforced all the training we all love?! Tip number 30, "sandbags are one of the very best training tools for combative athletes".  There is no hidden message there, but if it is perfect for a combative athlete, why would it not be perfect for anyone interested in elite fitness. After all it is hard to argue that combative athletes are not the most well-rounded athletes. 

Many of the exercises described are ones you are all familiar with, shouldering, carrying, and so on. However, there was one in particular that I haven't talked about yet, watch the video to see this incredible drill!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Q & A

Something that I've been meaning to do is really get our Q & A blogs going. So many people write me in with great questions that I want others to learn from their questions. Please, please send in those questions that you have been hesitant to ask because it could really help others! Today is one of our first Q & A blogs.

Hi Josh,

I just purchased the Strength Package, including the High Octane DVD.  I did Program One yesterday.  I want to make sure I'm starting off correctly, and I have a few questions.


1.  I am 48 years old, just under 5'7", 140 lbs.  I have always been thin and relatively weak, and have had trouble maintaining an exercise program.  I think I will enjoy the Sandbag and stick with it.  I am interested in long-term cardiovascular health, as well as building, toning and defining my body.  What weight do you suggest to start?  I chose 45 lbs., which seemed comfortable yet challenging.  Will I see benefits at this weight, or do you think I should increase it right away?


2.  Is it safe and beneficial to do the workouts on consecutive days, or should I go every other day?


Thanks for your help.  I love the Sandbag and will tell everyone I know about it.-Mike C.

Weight is always relative! Without knowing it you used one of the most common methods of assessing weight which is RPE (rate of perceived exertion). I have long said that sandbag training weights should be dictated by how challenging it feels, not by the number on the scale. A sandbag generally will be lighter than any other strength training implement you have used in the past because of how awkward and "noncooperative" they are. If the weight feels challenging, but allows you to maintain good form then it is the right weight. 

The programs on the High Octane DVD were designed to be performed every other day. Now, COULD you do them on consecutive days? Yes, however, you may need a few days after this to recover. Most people don't realize that sandbag training greatly fatigues the nervous system because of all the muscle coordination needed and this is far more fatiguing that just tiring out the muscles. That is why generally I give a day in between for workouts, yet, I realize that some people's schedules do not allow for this. So, to be realistic you can do back to back days but give time for recovery especially if you are beginning to feel very tired or excessively sore. 


A Special Situation

Ok, this was COMPLETELY unplanned!!! When I launched our new filler bags last week I wasn't anticipating getting slammed with so many emails from customers who already had our product just wanting our new white liner. The question quickly became, "can I buy just the white liner" and to be honest my initial answer was no!

Not because I am trying to be a tough guy, just the opposite. We have quite a few people email daily confused about which Ultimate Sandbag is right for them, adding the white liner option would make things even more confusing. Additionally, the new filler bags are not cheap! Keeping things in the USA is very important for me, but it does come with a higher cost. Yeah, you may see that our prices were raised slightly, but we actually decided to eat some of the cost because selling a superior fitness tool is more important than doing it for cheap and making more money! Doing them together did make it a little more manageable. 

However, since I want to give you guys what you really want and thank you all of you that have been such strong supporters, I am going to do a one week special on the white liners. Here is the deal will only be able to purchase them buy themselves for one week, they won't ship out till a week from tomorrow as we will only order as many as we need. So it will take 2-3 weeks to get your white liners. In addition, they must be used in some type of canvas filler, we won't guarantee any of them that were used by themselves. 

Believe it or not, all that we do is with you guys in mind and we want your sandbag training experience to be the best it can be. So, you can choose from the three sizes below:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Best Just Got Better

People generally don't understand that I take Sandbag Fitness Systems VERY seriously. It isn't a "side project" or something that I do recreationally. That is why I am constantly striving to make my program and The Ultimate Sandbag the best training tool available. I believe that goal was accomplished with our innovation of our filler bags. A great concept that other companies have tried to copy, but have made poor copies. 

While our filler bags were very effective, I knew they could be better. Want to see what we have done check out the video below:

These new bags will be shipped out starting Monday with all our packages!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It Is VERY Different

I can say it over and over again, The Ultimate Sandbag is sooooo different than anything else! Really, I can say it all I want, but I know the reality, it sounds like the old tiresome marketing that we all get hit with almost daily! So, what does one do? I get great people like all of you to write in with your experiences and it makes things seem so much more real. The greatest gift I get is getting emails from all of you on how my program has impacted you! Today is no different.

Note: Even dogs love our

A few days ago I received an email from Anthony. Unfortunately, I have never met Anthony, but he was kind enough to share with me what he thought of our Ultimate Sandbag and the programs...

 "I had my first park session with the Ultimate Sandbag a short while ago. I have been doing thrusters (squat with a push press) in an interval fashion for fat loss; and I was thinking that the sandbag training wasn't going to be as brutal (and I was a little concerned about that). After a month of rain, I finally got to the park; and enjoyed the session very much. I did 15:15 interval of the lateral shouldering movement (bag dropped to the outside of the foot). I chose the small bag so I could concentrate on form. I was very surprised at the result. I was very sore in the external rotators, glute max, hamstrings and adductors. I have never been sore in that range of muscles before; the thrusters hitting the quads only with the shoulders being a weak link. I think this is the best exercise (movement) I have done and can't want to go heavier.

Thanks Josh
All the best"-Anthony S.

Anthony experienced simply everything I had talked about. The difference? He had to experience it for himself! One reason I have found myself traveling so much is because I found people needed to experience what this type of training does. You can't "sorta do the same" with any other piece of training equipment. The unbalanced weight, varying shapes, and all the variety make this a devastating piece of fitness equipment. Sounds like a sales pitch right?! Not really, all of what Anthony said he felt was with a small sandbag that is under $100!!! Shoot, a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells of equivalent weight are easily going to run you over that price. It isn't about the sales pitch, it is about changing people's perceptions of fitness and making it dynamic and exciting again!

I loved what Anthony wrote me, but was even more pleasantly surprised when he sent me a follow up email. 

 "Just back from a session. My core feels like it is made of rubber now :-) Anyway I thought I would share a little story since I have a minute.

I was talking to my uncle the other day. My father and his family had a fruit and vegetable business 70 years ago. They are always talking about the old days and how they would be loading and unloading trucks by hand all hours of the day and night. While we all have similar builds, one thing I have noticed about them is that they have much thicker hands than I do. I guess it is from lifting all those 140 pounds bags of potatoes. It is not so different from lifting sandbags. It really tickled my fancy thinking about history repeating, or the more things change the more they stay the same; and just after I purchased the Burly Bag.

By the way, I am really enjoying lifting the sandbag."

No, in fact, in the age where being "old school" is viewed as cool, this is the most old school type of training anyone can perform. Sure, people didn't do it for exercise 100 years ago, they did it for work! However, people were so much more fit then than we see today. Read any old time strongman book and what is the key? It is the amazing tendon and ligament strength that was created with such training. 

Yes, there are a lot of tools that are awesome, but not all are very versatile. What I love about sandbag training is it can produce everything the famous old time strongmen talked about, but can also be used for our modern techniques as well. It gives such a unique feeling that this will become a staple of every fitness program. 

Next week we are going to be releasing some very cool new projects and updates. Keep your eyes out for it and please, keep the great emails coming!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making it in the Fitness Industry

When I started the L.I.F.T. certification I wanted to really address the issues of being in the fitness industry. After all, being involved for 15 years I can tell you that there were more than a few times that I contemplated actually getting out. Let's face it most of us that get into the industry do it because we love two things, to train, and to help others. Unfortunately, most like myself, ignore the fact we do run businesses and need to make a living for us to continue to do what we love.

That is why I thought it was critical to develop a business component to the L.I.F.T. program. While I have a lot of surprise guests to contribute, one that I knew could really give some powerful insights to how to take your training business to another level and help those that are just starting up. My good friend and colleague Troy Anderson gave some amazing ideas and tips in his hour interview on how to make it in the fitness industry. You can't miss this two part series!!

Listen to Troy Anderson's Business and Marketing Concepts Part I

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Burly Bag Opening

Wow! To say a lot has been going on is a huge understatement. I have been working so hard at making some changes that are far needed to get Sandbag Fitness Systems to the next level. The first very cool completed project was the new Burly Bag. Yes, A LOT of people have been writing me to get a hold of the new Burly Bag. Originally the bag was designed to be an intermediate between our medium and large sandbag. Then there was a mistake! The manufacturer sent me something much bigger, this bag instead of being able to hold up to 120 pounds could hold 200.

At first I was pissed! Then I started to work with the bag and realized this was actually far better than I had originally designed. Instead of simply having an intermediate bag we had created something brand new. With the length of the bag being the same as the medium, but the load able to go heavy, this became a very unique sandbag. What did I find?

1. When the bag was not filled full it began you at the toughest pulling position creating the best position to develop superior full body power. This pull is stronger than any other type of implement because the weight is also completely against you so you have to generate more force to get the bag moving.

2. The perfect tool for increasing overhead pressing strength. I know you can press with a host of objects, what makes the Burly Bag ideal? People speak about awkward implements, but sandbags are completely unique. Having pressed about every type of strength implement I can say for a fact that sandbags are far and away the most unstable. This makes the Burly Bag a powerful tool in increasing stabilizer strength and makes any other training tool feel much easier!

3. It is amazingly diverse as it can replicate just bout any form of strength training. One of my favorites is how you can use the Burly Bag in a similar fashion, this time without ripped up forearms or a bad back!

The Burly Bag isn't the only new change. Possibly even bigger is the creation of our new filler bags. I had a choice, a tough choice. The filler bags were originally designed to be as durable as possible and still be affordable. It was also awesome that we could have them made in the US. I still felt like they needed more, our customers deserve more. This was so tough because I had to both find a manufacturer that could make the change and more importantly still make it affordable.

I like to believe after a lot of hard work this was accomplished. What is different?

Extra durable stitching was added

The way the stitching is laid is now reinforced

There is now an additional layer to the filler bag that prevents leakage.

Unfortunately this cost quite a bit more! However, it seems more than worth it when you see the new filler bags. The best part is this is done with only a minimal increase in our prices. I decided that Sandbag Fitness Systems would take the rest!! Being able to deliver an incredible training tool is more important than anything. So, now all orders will have our new fillers and the new Burly Bags will come with 3-50 pound fillers.

So don't wait, I am launching an incredible special to save you $40 that will only last till Monday night!! The Burly will come in two styles, black and camouflage, you choose the challenge!

Purchase the Black Burly Bag: Click Here : Just $158.99
Purchase the Camouflage Burly Bag  :Click Here:  Just $168.99 

Note: This is a pre-sale, Burly Bags will go out a week from Monday and arrive in 3-5 days for domestic shipments. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Truth About Core Fitness

I think there are always two good measures of knowing what is happening in the industry. Because I am usually in my training facility, I don't get to see the mainstream training ideas as much as I use to. Also, I can't look at too many websites or magazines without feeling a little sick to my stomach.

Having traveled quite a bit the last few months it has been interesting to see how people are interpreting still one of the hottest concepts, core training. Scientists and coaches all seem to have their ideas of what core training means. Some are quite complex and other are crude. Hard to say who is right or wrong, most often I tend to think everything is about the context of the individual.

The core training of an elite powerlifter hopefully is different than the housewife that hasn't worked out in 20 years. So, I think it is good to have a philosophy of core training, but progression and appropriate implementation are crucial!

Core training can be hard to nail down because the trunk is a complex structure, add in the hips and you definitely have a lot going on. That is because of all the muscles involved as well as all the nerves that innervate the trunk. So, it isn't as simple as "training the abs", "working the obliques", or "activating the glutes".

See how I break down core training in the new L.I.F.T. certification....

Monday, July 6, 2009

What is L.I.F.T.?

Yesterday I released the first announcement of the new L.I.F.T. certification. It didn't take long for me to get a great deal of emails asking many questions in regards to what is L.I.F.T.? It is very difficult to sum up L.I.F.T. in just a few paragraphs or words. I can tell you L.I.F.T. is not about just learning how to lift sandbags or cool new exercises to perform. There are plenty of programs that are willing to show random exercises. That isn't my goal, I want to teach trainers and coaches how to take their programs to the next level!

So, what are you going to learn.....?

How to improve mobility and flexibility within seconds

Reduce shoulder, back and knee pain with just a few cutting-edge exercises

Discover how to create programs that will both motivate and challenge your clients

Learn what true CORE strength is and how it applies in all aspects of movement

Greatly improve how you market to your clients and create a more successful training business

This is just a few of the key things we will cover over the two days. Two days almost doesn't seem like enough time to cover all the great material that we are going to review. Over the next few days I will discuss further some of the more detailed concepts we are going to teach and how they all come together. Check out the video below though to see how you can create highly effective metabolic circuits and improve shoulder health in one training sessioins!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't Be Like The Rest

Either be part of the solution or the problem, that old saying rings so true in my ears. In fact, it is that type of thought that keeps me pushing through many of the challenges that bringing my Sandbag Fitness Systems has faced. This isn't about my programs rather my growing frustration with those programs out there. There is an increasing number of certifications that make promises to fitness professionals that are just LIES!! It isn't only the mainstream associations, there are more and more individuals running "educational" programs that are simply failing today's fitness professional. Worst of all is the fact that many of the programs are now just marketing hype to get people in the door.

It has been almost twenty years since I attended my first seminar in the fitness industry. Through those years I was exposed to so much, both theory and training concepts. Each one of these certifications and programs I considered an educational process because I would always try to apply what I learned with my clients. Some concepts seemed to make the foundation of what was going to become my training philosophy, however, a great deal ended up being impractical and unhelpful to my clients. In fact, I remember one program I went through almost ten years ago I paid $3000 for! In the end, I may use 1% of the information.

Was this a failure? Financially maybe, yet, I had to try and experience these ideas to decide whether or not they had validity. Now, almost ten years later these ideas are being recycled as new and there is a new host of coaches trying to cash in on these ideas.

The same goes for the business side of training. For years there were no programs to teach trainers and coaches actually how to make money in the industry. I learned many things the hard way having to go through many of the most common mistakes along the way, simply because there was no one telling me otherwise.

Today the last thing there are is too few certifications! However, many are put on by trainers and coaches are scrapping by themselves, or have trained less than 50 people in their careers. They have found a clever way to market and actually make an income by wowing people with what appear to be new techniques that are simply recycled ideas they learned from others.

I decided I could sit back and just whine about what is going on in my industry or try to become part of the solution. I have been working on my concept of L.I.F.T. (loaded integrated functional training) for a few years. Unlike most certifications this wasn't born out of a book or an idea trying to make clients fit a program. Rather, this program was the result of all my years working with a huge variety of people. This program was developed to address the needs of the client and the coach/trainer working with a client. I wanted something that could fit this criteria:

1. Would be interesting and motivating to both the client and trainer/coach

2. Would be unique to help market new business to the coach/trainer

3. Could produce results faster than almost any other program available

4. It could be easily adapted to any fitness level

5. Founded in well established training concepts

I really believe L.I.F.T. fills all these important points and has the potential to reinvent the fitness industry. Three tools help teach the important movement concepts that are laid out in the L.I.F.T. programs; the Ultimate Sandbag, Jungle Gym, and Strength Bands. These three implements bring very different methods to the training table and while they are powerful by themselves there is an even more impressive synergyistic effect when you combine in the way I have laid out in the L.I.F.T.

L.I.F.T. is designed to help the modern trainer to be as successful in their business as possible. We will even spend some time during the program covering common mistakes in running your own training business (a special guest will help with this part!).

I was so excited when just letting people know what I was expecting to do that we had people ready to host immediately! I wanted this week to be special as we already have three host cities for our launch of the L.I.F.T. program. Motala, Sweden, Avon by the Sea, New Jersey, and Atlanta, Georgia! All the dates are now listed on our site for September. With the time coming fast I wanted to start with a bang!

For this week only you can sign-up for the L.I.F.T. certification for just $599.99. Don't worry, if that still seems hard to make happen we have payment plans set-up on the site as well. We want to have as many great individuals involved to turn the fitness industry on its head and help all of those that find fitness to be their passion be rewarded for their hard-work and dedication.

I will be discussing topics of L.I.F.T. all week long, but don't miss the opportunity to get an amazing deal that will become the leader in the industry.

Go to to learn more!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The 5 Best Exercises You Aren't Doing!

What five exercises will go a long ways in helping you champion the "3 Rounds of Hell"? They may not be the one's you were thinking of. Watch today's video and let me know how your progress of the "3 Rounds of Hell" is going. Next week we have some exciting announcements!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What a Navy Seal Has to Say...

Since I first talked about the "3 Rounds of Hell" I have had so many great emails from people telling me how brutal it was and how almost impossible it seems. I began to think if I had made the challenge too hard as I had yet to receive an email or video about anyone accomplishing it. Then the challenge got its own test! 

A former Navy Seal and current special operations soldier "Tim" came back to Arizona after some recent military training. "Tim" is absolutely no stranger to hard workouts, the times I have worked with him it just simply amazes me his mental toughness, it is just from another planet! However, after catching up with "Tim" for a bit he asked me if I had anything new for him. That is when I thought I would unleash the "3 Rounds of Hell" on him. To say he was excited was an understatement! 

The next day Tim dedicated his whole workout to trying to accomplish the "3 Rounds of Hell". I was very intrigued to see if someone could get through it or would I have to modify some of the criteria? Tim weighed in at 215 so we figured out he would use the large sandbag loaded to 150. After a brief, but focused warm-up Tim tackled the challenge. The first round seemed almost easy, the second you could tell some fatigue was coming, the third he almost looked mortal!!! He did it!! Yes, Tim completed the "3 Rounds of Hell", but laid on the ground for a good ten minutes. 

Tim thought it was a heck of a challenge because it tested not only his strength, or endurance. It tested his willpower, his hands, his upper body, lower body, EVERYTHING! Sad thing is he was contemplating a "5 Rounds of Hell"! Well, until more mortals accomplish this goal I think I will stick with the three rounds, but that doesn't mean I don't have some tricks up my sleeve.

I am going to start launching a video series on how to train for the "3 Rounds of Hell". Most people would assume that simply trying to do more and more work with shouldering would be the best route, but that isn't so. There are many supplementary exercises one should employ that will greatly enhance your ability to get through the challenge. 

The first mistake people make is they don't realize that the upper body is heavily involved with repeated bouts of heavy shouldering. Often it is the hands, upper arms, and upper back that fail people. The gripping and shifting of the weight can seem as though it adds severe weight to an already heavy implement. What can you do? These are exercises I like to implement and will talk more about in later videos:

1. One-arm shouldering
2. Bent-over row grabbing on the sides
3. Bear Hug rowing
4. Bear Hug walks

The next most common mistake is that people don't have good enough flexibility in their hips to keep the repeated hip drive going. When people are tight and try the challenge they will find that they start using their low back as a prime mover and they move very inefficiently and become tired VERY FAST!

What can you do? These are some of my favorites...

1. Hurdle Zercher Squats
2. Overhead Lunge
3. Heavy Bear Hug Squats
4. Overhead Chops

Of course you also have to be strong in the hips and low back. What can you do besides just shouldering? 

1. Shouldering Suspended Lunge
2. Zercher Goodmornings
3. Get-up Bridge
4. No Pivot Half Moon Snatch

So, you see there is far more than just shouldering over and over. These twelve supplementary exercises will go a long way in building that foundation. Next time I will show you some of them in action and we will go more into how you put it all together into a program that will let you dominate the "3 Rounds of Hell" like Tim did!