Sandbag-Only Day/Program?


Anyone have experience with using a sandbag only day/ program?

Have been gifted a Cerberus sandbag with 60-70kg (150lbs) full of sand.

Looking to do some sort of push pull leg session 30-40 minutes. Like clean and press, squat, row?

Main goal strength / power.

Any ideas would be welcome.


@simo74 does some sandbag only days.

Or check out Brian Alsruhe (@alpha) video below:

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Is it one with handles? You say you are thinking about cleaning it and rows - so I assume so. I can’t see you cleaning or rowing a bag with not handles.

If it has handles then I have a Mirifit sand bag almost identical. It is a great tool. And has lots of applications. I’m only just starting to get the most out of it. Mine weights in about 60kg also.

The first thing - cleaning it is hard work. So I tend to clean it and keep it on my shoulders / on my back until I’m done. Saying that when I get to the point where cleaning it is easy I will be stronger. So maybe I will add some more of this in.
Pressing it okay. I can press quiet heavy. So this bag is not the best for me in that regard. And the handles are not tight from the go. So you only effectively push for the last 1/2 of the movement. But it can be used for this.
Rows are much better. No issues. In fact the neutral grip is really useful.
Squats - front and back. I tend to clean once and leave the bag up there. 60kg is not massively heavy for me. So I can rep is out.
Dead lifts - add these. These are a great addition.

To answer your question - PPL I’d go;
As you have no intermediary weights warm up with press ups. Then depending on your strength level and number of reps - 2-3 sets of press. Depending on you much shoulder you are getting in there I’d do push press drop set or press up.
Dead lifts - just do some. As conditioning if needed. But its a great hamstring burn.
Rows - simple. One or two sets too all out.
Depending on your strength you could do back squat. But 60kg is not that heavy and if you can already do this for 30+ reps where is the progress? So maybe front squat into back squat.

As a sample:
A really simple “daily work” I do, if I can get nothing else done all day is what I call my “200 reps”.
50 sand bag dead lifts (in as few sets as you can)
50 press ups (in sets of 10) super set with:
50 rows (sets of 10)
50 squats - 1 clean do not put the bag down. This will burn.
This programme has grown to add more reps as I get stronger and fitter. I’m at 240 now. I aim to be able to do 100 reps of each. This takes me about 20 mins.

So extended ideas:
I also do burpee dead lifts using the bag. Do a burpee (hands on the bag) as you stand up place your feet right under the bag and dead lift it with the handles.

I have also taken mine for a walk (1mile) on my shoulders. You can and should try the front carry. Either bear hug it or hold it in the front “rack” position.

Other ideas I’m going to try:
Thrusters: The bag is almost made for these
Clean and press’s for time. Once I get better at the clean…


I believe the strongman sandbags don’t have handles. I have one and love it.

I would usually do sandbag work as cardio/GPP work because, after a short acclimation period, it wouldn’t burn me out or leave me as sore as most other work including running. Favorite day so far is below:

150 lbs - groud-to-overhead x 5
200 lbs - ground-to-shoulder x 5 per side
200 lbs - load to truck tailgate x 20
200 lbs - bear hug carry - 300 feet total

I would just do it for time. Reference strength for applicable BB lifts - 490 squat, 185 press, 545 deadlift. The sandbag work should leave your lungs gassed more than your muscles/joints if you’re doing sandbag stuff in addition to 5/3/1.

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Thanks all for the replies.
Thanks for all the answers and ideas guys.

So I train twice a week:

Sunday 30kg Walrus::
Agile 8 & Jumps 3x5 (5 min)
Chin x 5. Dip x 10. Gob Squat (40kg) x 10. (5 sets in 30 min)
Sprints 50 yards x 15-20 (10 min)

Wednesday 48Kg Walrus::
Agile 8 & Jumps 3x5 (5 min)
Row x 10. Pushup x 10. One leg x 10. (5 sets in 30 min)
Carry - Sandbags hopefully (10 min)

I was thinking of adding a Friday sandbag strength / mass session?
Clean / shoulder. 5x5. Bear hug squat 5x5. Row 5x5?
A few big main lifts for major areas of body?


Az .

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GPP / Conditioning is not an issue for me. So don’t need sandbags for that.

Sorry I missed that in your post. Then yeah the way you propose is good.

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Not much to add here as I use my sandbag mostly for conditioning work and you said you are all good there. I have used it for squats, hugging it as you mentioned above and whilst it works well I would need to do a lot of reps for it to become effective for strength building. I guess it depends on your strength levels and how heavy the bag is.

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Interested with your “200” reps workout.

Do you complete it in a conditioning style. Trying to beat clock?

Would it be applicable to get the 50 reps in for each movement as a workout itself for strength / power / mass instead?

Maybe having longer rest periods - 1 min+ between each set, get to 50 reps total for that movement, then move on to the next movement?

How does that sound, from your experience?

Most of my training sessions are under 45 min max in total.

Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated.


Also, I saw the mirafit bag but it’s not that.

It is this one:


No handles. Quite short in length actually.

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I thought maybe you had this one. Which is all but identical to the one I have.


I do not race the clock. But racing the clock is a great way to get make this sort of of work out better. I push the pace by doing my DL in less than 3 sets, super setting my press ups and rows and then doing all my squats in one set. As I use this work out for “restorative” purposes I need a bit of self regulation.

Yeah - 100%. So long as its hard work. I put them into this circuit thing to challenge me. Do what challenges you. Just remember that at some point press ups will be very easy. They are difficult to load. So doing 50-100 will not be a real issue. I see you mention “walrus” training with added weight. You have a weighted vest right? Use this when you start doing 100 press ups.

I spent December never exercising for more than 6min at a time. I got fitter and lost 0 strength.

Seeing the bag you have I’d keep it simple.
Bag over shoulder
If you can - press it. I think this could be hard but rewarding
Bag load (or over yoke)
Squat bear hugging the bag
Carry the bag in front of you.

Any mix of these will be good. Reps and set I’d go simple again:
Week 1 - 3 sets. Do 2 do 3 reps less than max on each set (if you max is 7 reps, do 4 of 5)
Week 2 - 2 sets. 1 or 2 reps short of max.
Week 3 - 1 all out set.

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Hi Carl,

Thanks for this mate.

Yea, those two Walrus sessions / days are remaining as is. They have been a god send, and in my opinion, are the best thing I’ve done for myself in terms of programming.

I have a 30kg vest for my chin / dip / goblet squat session.

And I then add a 18kg vest on top of my 30 kg vest to get a total of 48kg for my pushup/ Inverted row / lunge walrus session.

I just needed one more day possibly to get 20 or 30 minutes of solid sandbag work. It’ll be trial and error. And I’ll take it slow to see what impact is on recovery etc. I’ll prob start with 40kg and add sand over time to it’s 70kg capacity. I don’t mind slow and steady, over a year or so etc, to get there.

Thanks for the ideas once again.
Clean / Shouldering. Maybe jerk. Bear hug squats. Carries. I reckon I’ll start with them 4 moves for a few sets each. And take it from there!


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So I did this today. I “failed”. Set out FAR too quickly. I did 10 squats and I was all light headed. So I took a rest and finished off after a few minutes. But this is house I do it. This is my “daily minimum”.
It looks hard but you quickly get used to it.

This is the one that I have too and I love it. Only gripe is that my forearms bleed after harder days.

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So gave it a go today. Starting with 50Kg bag::

  • Clean to overhead press - 3 sets of 5 reps. ( One clean on initial rep, followed by 5 presses )
  • Bear hug squat - 3 sets of 5 reps.
  • Bear hug RDL movement - 3 sets of 5 reps.
  • 4 x 80 yard carries - (Bear hug, Zercher hold, shoulder )

Done in 15 minutes with no pressure to rush etc.
Took natural rest time.

As I said, the conditioning aspect is not what I’m after.

I’ll play with these movements, doing this as a session just once a week, for this month.

Then plan on using 50kg until I get to 5 x 5, then adding a deload or week off using sandbags before adding 5kg sand.

End of 2022 goal with 70kg capacity limit of sandbag::
5x5 Clean to Press
5x5 Bear Hug Squat
5x5 Bear Hug RDL
5x80 yard carries.

Cheers all. Will keep you posted.