Josh Henkin, CSCS
Sometimes there are things that just seem to belong together. We can think of peanut butter and jelly, baseball and summer, and kettlebells and sandbags. Of course the last one I mentioned may not be in as many people’s consciousness, but it should!
For the past seven years kettlebell training has not made just a comeback, but has become an integral part of the fitness/sports performance industry. This has not been just about marketing hype. Everyone from general health enthusiasts to elite athletes have found kettlebells to be versatile, fun, and most importantly effective! Recently another strength training tool is making the same comeback, sandbags. Sandbags can be thought of as similar to kettlebells for the following reasons:
- One can create infinite number of exercises and combination drills
- Unpredictable nature of the implement allows for a unique training stimulus
- Perfect for those who are limited on space and need to maximize their training area.
- Easy to transport for training in any situation.
For most individuals the question will not be the value of these implements. Rather the question quickly becomes how to integrate them into an effective training regime. In my extensive experience with these two implements I would like to suggest a few different programs that integrate both sandbags and kettlebells.
A Balancing Act
My first method is to alternate days of heavy lifting of one implement for conditioning of the other. This allows management of fatigue as well as concentration of a few focused lift. Because sandbag and kettlebell drills can be very physically as well as neurally fatiguing we want to avoid overtraining and move towards greater progress.
Day 1: Sandbag Emphasis
SB Shouldering Squat 4 sets of 4 each side rest 75 seconds
KB Jerk 3 sets of 12 rest 60 seconds
KB Single Leg Deadlift 3 sets of 6 each side rest 60 seconds
SB Zercher Carry 2 sets of 1 minute rest 90 seconds
Day 2: Kettlebell Emphasis
KB Snatch 5 sets 5 rest 90 seconds
SB Zercher Lunge 4 sets of 6 each leg 60 seconds
KB Renegade Row 4 sets of 6 each side 60 seconds rest
SB Shoulder Get-up 2 sets of 5 rest 45 seconds
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Sandbag Emphasis
SB Clean and Jerk 5 sets 3 rest 75 seconds
KB Front Squats 3 sets of 8 rest 60 seconds
Pull-ups 3 sets of 6 rest 60 seconds
SB Zercher Side Lunges 3 sets of 8 each side rest 60 seconds
KB Clean Carries 2 sets of 30 seconds rest 90 seconds
Day 5: Kettlebell Emphasis
KB Squat Press 4 sets of 8 rest 60 seconds
SB Shouldering 3 sets of 10 each side rest 60 seconds
KB Rows 3 sets 12 each side rest 45 seconds
SB Half Moon Snatch 3 sets 5 each side rest 45 seconds
KB Sit-up Get-ups 3 sets 3 each side rest 60 seconds
Other options include making these two implements your primary source of conditioning. These may be reflected in the following workouts.
Alternate between the two exercises below. Start on the minute and rest the remaining minute. For example, once you perform KB Clean & Jerks for 20 seconds you will have a 40 second rest. Perform them in 45 seconds you will have a 15 second rest. Perform this for ten minutes.
A1. KB Clean & Jerk X 10
A2. SB Zercher Squat X 10
Option B: Complexes
You can create two distinct complexes using sandbags and kettlebells. This will enhance your movement ability, strength, coordination, flexibility, and conditioning.
The movements are continuous and rest is only used after the complex
KB Complex 1
RDL X 6
Clean X 6
Front Squat X 6
Press X 6
Rest for 90 seconds perform 2-3 sets
SB Complex 1
Clean X 6
Zercher Lunge X 6 each leg
Rows X 6
Snatches X 6
Rest for 90 seconds 2-3 sets
Above are some phenomenal options in improving conditioning, strength, flexibility, and overall athleticism. Just by using kettlebells and sandbags you can create an overall fitness and athletic based program. The key is how to manipulate the training variables for you goals and ability level. Hopefully the programs provided will stimulate your own creativity as well.
Josh Henkin, CSCS is a Strength & Conditioning Coach in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is owner of Innovative Fitness Solutionsand creator of The Ultimate Sandbag. For more information visit his websites or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org