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Sandbag Training | Using Sandbags For Strength Training

Sandbag Training

Using Sandbags For Strength Training

Using sandbags for strength training has been around for quite some time. But not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and traded their dumbbells for a burlap sandbag.

Besides being cheap to purchase (or making one yourself), sandbags offer several strength benefits that make it worthwhile in adding to your workout routine.

Here are a few examples…

Sandbag Training

Builds Core Strength

It’s always a good idea to strengthen your core muscles as much as you can. Core exercises strengthen your underlying muscle tissue and can help to prevent injuries.

When doing a sandbag strength training routine, you’re engaging your core muscles with almost every movement. Even if the exercise itself is not entirely focused on core strengthening.

A sandbag shifts it’s center of gravity constantly. Which feels different and often more difficult when compared to traditional weights. Also, by switching between different types of sandbag fillers, you can add diversity to your workout.

Sandbag Training Doesn’t Require Much Space

Barbells, plates, machines, and squat racks can all take up a lot of space. If you want to improve your strength, using sandbags for weight training is not only affordable, but they also require very little space. This makes them perfect for home gyms and home workouts where you can have a flexible way of working on your strength whenever you feel like it.

You can also take them anywhere. So if you ever find yourself somewhere lacking exercise equipment, for example when traveling, then getting a sandbag could be the answer!

Versatile Exercises

Sandbag workouts are not only effective but also versatile. You can use them for almost any type of exercise.

They can be used for traditional compound exercises such as squats, bench press, power cleans, deadlifts, and more. And because sandbags are soft, they have a low impact on your joints and you can perform less rigid movements.

There are exercises that are unique to sandbags such as the bear crawl; which are good for building stamina and working the core. There are also bear hug squats which are a good alternative to the front squat.

When it comes to cardio-related exercises, there are sandbag sprints and carries. These are not only high-intensity but they also heavily work the legs.

In a similar way you might use a wobble board for stability and balance, this sort of training can also be developed with a sandbag. You can even combine the two for a crazy stability building session. This work with unstable objects can be useful for many sports.

As you can see, sandbags can replace a lot of the equipment needed for most exercises.

Sandbags Come In Different Types

No matter which level you are in your fitness or strength training, you’ll find that there is a sandbag to accommodate your needs. Some bags can weigh up to 400 pounds; which are perfect for those wanting to gain serious strength.

You can also choose from different material qualities, the number of handles, and sizes.

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to use different filler weights; you can add or remove them accordingly to suit different workouts. This makes them perfect for CrossFit routines where different exercises are performed in a single session.

Pricier sandbags can be water-resistant and withstand heavy-duty usage. With all the different sandbags available on the market, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that can suit your level of fitness and your exact requirements.

Various Strength Training Variables

When compared to weight training, using a sandbag offers an excellent range of training variables to enhance your strength. Your body’s position, holding position, and the plane of motion can have a larger scale by using a sandbag when compared to traditional weights.

For example, there are around 11 positions to hold a sandbag versus only four positions when using a barbell. There’s a whole list of possibilities of training variables when you use sandbags.

These ways of lifting sandbags and making changes to your body’s position can alter how an exercise feels and the results that come afterward.

Also, planes of motion with a sandbag, such as shoulder squats, rotational lunges, and lateral drags, can make your strength training more elaborate and progressive.


Conclusion

Sandbag training can be a game-changer for your strength training routine. Depending on your fitness level, there is a lot of gym equipment that a weighted bag can replace.

As we’ve discussed, there are so many exercises that are possible with one training bag.

Progressing your strength training is very achievable using heavy sandbags. And if you want a versatile workout that you can perform almost anywhere, then a sandbag is a fantastic option!

5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

Pyramid sets are considered to be one of the best methods for gaining both size and strength.

They’ve stood the test of time, much like their counterparts in the Egyptian desert.

But when it comes to actually talk about the benefits, we don’t always focus on more than this.

In this article, we’ll be discussing just a handful of those other benefits that you should know about before going back to doing straight sets.

This is a Guest Post by Robert Grayson of GGPhysique.com


#1 – Pyramid Sets Warm You Up

Starting off your pyramid sets with lower weights is a great way to get warmed up. 

Many people perform 3 or more sets just to get warmed up. And this can prevent injuries and also get your muscles primed for heavier lifting.

Performing pyramid training is all about gradually increasing the weight each set, while simultaneously decreasing the reps.

So, for this reason, warm-ups are built into your training from the outset!

#2  – Helps Activate CNS

Activating your CNS (Central Nervous System) is one of the key ways to maximize your strength. And it’s no secret that pyramid sets are great at doing this.

Many people go into the gym and try to lift a weight from the beginning and can’t. But when using pyramid sets to build their way up by activating their CNS and warming up, they often can.

#3 – Pyramid Sets Keep You Motivated

One way to make sure you’re not motivated is to always be doing the same workouts, lifting the same weights. 

If those weights are especially heavy you might start to dread your sessions. And that’s the worst thing possible for any lifter.

Consistency is the ladder to success. And without motivation, you can’t be consistent.

#4 – Allows You To ‘Feel It Out’

Going back to our second point, sometimes people will go into the gym and try to lift a weight and fail.

However, with pyramid training, you’re going to be able to know before you attempt a lift whether it’s going to be too heavy for you or not.

If you’re struggling with your warmup sets, it’s going to be unsafe for you to try your heaviest working set. 

It’s usually a good sign that you’re tired, not fully recovered, or haven’t eaten enough.

It’s incredibly useful feedback that can save you injuries and a lot of frustration.

#5 – Keeps Energy In The Tank

Usually, most people are going to be performing more than a single heavy compound lift during a workout.

So pacing yourself is really important. And pyramid training does that for you. Each set increases the workload but decreases the reps. 

So your total volume is moderate rather than insanely high. This then allows you to repeat the same process on other lifts and exercises.

Conclusion on Pyramid Sets in Training

Pyramid sets have many benefits, including psychological ones, not just strength and muscular based ones. Implementing them into your training from time to time is a great idea and shouldn’t be overlooked.


Get a Workout Program >>

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Utilizing a Proper Warm-Up System for Strength Training

Utilizing a Proper Warm-Up System for Strength Training

Resistance bands offer a better way to warm up dynamically alongside various non-resistance band movements. A mixture of both is the best way to activate your muscles prior to lifting and increase your joint range of motion (ROM) temporarily to perform better. There are a variety of ways to warm-up prior to training, such as foam rolling, and adding resistance bands could make several beneficial changes.

This is a Guest Article by Sarah Peterson of ProPRTeam.com

Get our in-depth How To Warm-Up Guide >>


What’s the Purpose for a Warm-Up?

A proper warm-up is recommended to improve your performance regardless of what your training focus is. The intent behind a warm-up is to physically and mentally preparing your body for the workout through increased heart rate, range of motion, and muscle activation.

Muscle stiffness and soreness often reduce flexibility, which can affect the way you execute exercises, especially when the resistance is higher. For example, tight hamstrings and glutes can make it difficult to execute squats efficiently.

Foam rolling and dynamic stretches help relieve this tightness and improve overall flexibility. Then light muscle activation for stabilizer muscles to be used that day may help drastically.

This is accomplished through mobility work and a dynamic warm-up. Injury prevention may be a factor for the warm-up with some, but the overall purpose is doing better during your training. Studies are very mixed when it comes to preventing any injuries.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>


Different Phases of the Warm-Up

Your warm-up prior to training doesn’t need to take a long duration. The point is to choose areas for foam rolling purposes to improve mobility for the focus of the day. Then dynamic stretches for flexibility and priming muscles through activation exercises.

Increasing Heart Rate

This is a quick 5-minute portion for your warm-up to increase your body temperature and blood circulation. Flexibility occurs better chances to improve and relieve muscle tightness after they have been warmed up.

During this phase, you can do a brisk jog, cycle, rowing, and other various cardio activities. This is an important phase for your warm-up and is often overlooked. But it is not an intense set of sprints or anything. Simply brief cardio to increase your heart rate and get the blood pumping.

Mobility Support

Sustained pressure from foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other various myofascial release tools help with mobility. This is not to be confused with actual mobility work, which is taking a limb through its entire range of motion.

Instead, you are working on the tight muscles to relieve this stiffness in order to allow joints the ability to move freely in their ROM. The main ones for lifts are shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, and ankles.

If mobility is still difficult after muscle release techniques, then you may want to consider adding some actual mobility exercises that are necessary for the areas that need focus.

How To Foam Roll Properly >>

Dynamic Stretching

This type of stretching is active movement instead of static holds. You will be able to get your muscles warmed up and activated better through this method. Static stretching is okay to do at the start within short holds but holds over 10-15 seconds may possibly signal your muscles to relax as opposed to activating.

Effective bodyweight dynamic stretches can be single-leg raises, pendulum swings, arm circles, and even the cat-cow warm up. Exercises such as these assist with the muscle warm-up phase and offer activation also, but better activation for stabilizer muscles occur when resistance bands are used.

Muscle Activation

The muscle activation phase is often executed wrong when the resistance bands come out. Due to their elasticity, many often do quick movements and allow the band to slingshot back into position. Short, quick movements with little control would be more dynamic stretch opposed to muscle activation.

Controlling your movements with resistance bands and fighting against the pull help the stabilizer muscles to activate. You can understand this need for activation by understanding how prime movers work.

Prime movers are essentially your larger muscle groups working to move the weight during an exercise such as the quads and glutes for back squats. The muscles supporting these prime movers with proper movement patterns and control are the stabilizer muscles. These muscle groups supporting the prime for squats would be hamstrings and calves, amongst others.

Together they create the force necessary to move weight effectively. However, during warm-up some smaller stabilizers may not be activated, such as the gluteus medius, which affects external hip rotation.

This could be one reason for knee caving since the knees cannot be kept in alignment during the squat. The following resistance band exercises help activate the gluteus medius and strengthen it as well.

Resistance Band Exercises for Muscle Activation:

  • Clamshells
    • Lay on your side and loop a hip circle or resistance band around your legs, near your knees. Keep both knees bent about 90 degrees, then simply raise and lower your top leg, while keeping your lower leg pressed into the floor. Make sure to work both sides equally.
  • Side-Lying Hip Abduction
    • Lay on your side and loop a hip circle or resistance band around your legs, anywhere between your ankles and knees. Then simply raise and lower your top leg. Make sure to work both sides equally.
  • Monster Walks
    • Stand with both feet inside a hip circle or resistance band, and pull it up anywhere between knee and mid-thigh height. Then walk around both forwards and backward, taking big steps and maintaining constant tension on the band.
  • Lateral Walks
    • Stand with both feet inside a hip circle or resistance band, to where there is light tension. Squat down and walk laterally (side to side) while maintaining constant tension on the band.

The hip circle bands work best for these exercises since they maintain their circular shape and easily slid up and down where needed. Victorem Gear has some quality products in sets to choose from. You can go here to check them out.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>


Warming Up is Simple and Effective

Warm-up phases seem like they would take an hour. But in reality, they should only take 20 minutes if you are moving through the phases and not allowing distractions to occur, i.e. conversations, phone use, etc.

Each phase has its own purpose and importance to the workout that follows. And some do choose to skip them after figuring out what works best for them. You should do the same and develop your own style of warming up after you get into the rhythm of using this concept.

The biggest thing is to not rush the movements while muscles are still “cold” leading to injury. Going straight into the activation phase with expectations to lift immediately may result in muscle strain or other injuries. Have patience and do everything correctly.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>

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How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than $1,000!

How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than $1,000!

Gym Closed Because of Coronavirus? Here’s How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than The Price of a Gym Membership!

A Guest Article by Brian of HomeGymStrength.com

We are all stuck at home these days and can’t even go to the gym because of social distancing. So, this is the perfect time to build a home gym for less than the price of a gym membership!

“YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS”, you might yell.

Let me assure you, I am very serious about fitness and a home gym is one of the best ways to maintain your physique. 

And yes, a home gym can not only cost less than a typical gym membership but also save you money in the long run.

A normal gym membership costs around $100 a month. This is for a gym that gives you good equipment and facilities. You can count the time and transport expenses on to that and it quickly balloons to a $1200 per year ordeal. 

While this may not seem like a lot, especially if you are getting some quality equipment, that membership can’t be used in the lockdown.


Building a Home Gym

A home gym is not only convenient but it can help you stay fit even during Coronavirus. The best part is, it doesn’t even need to cost a lot.

You wake up, go to your home gym, do some quality exercises and that’s it. No need to wear masks and gloves to drive to the gym that is probably closed or only allowing a few people inside.

How to Build a Home Gym

Building a home gym for Coronavirus is not that hard. You just have to look for good equipment online and have it delivered at your place.

Get Used Equipment

Finding used equipment is going to save you a lot of money when building your home gym.

Sure, if you can afford new stuff, then it is all good. But usually used equipment is not only cheaper but also just about the same quality. Gym equipment is made with durability and reliability in mind. So if someone used the equipment responsibly, it should still be in top condition.

You can find used equipment on Facebook Marketplace, Let Go, and even Craigslist. This guide about the best apps to find used home gym equipment will help. 

Just make sure the items are delivered to your home and wear protective gear when you receive them.

Get a Squat Rack

A squat rack is a good starting point. There are two types of squat racks; the full rack and the half rack. If you have a small space, get the best half racks. If you have ample area, get one of the best full squat racks.

Get a Bar

No, not the one that serves drinks. Get an Olympic barbell. Most are made out of incredibly strong materials and a used one won’t have any problems.

Get Weights

If you are new to lifting get bumper plates. If you already have a padded floor, you can get the best Olympic weights.

Get Adjustable Dumbbells

Some good quality adjustable dumbbells would complement the rest of the equipment nicely.

Get A Program

Check out our best Workout Programs >>


Here’s Some Rough Math

For a total of $1000! And this is how you can build a home gym for less than the price of a gym membership!

And don’t forget to get a quality Workout Program >>

Now go forth and build some Quarantine Gains!

Yoga for Athletes: 4 Ways to Advance Your Practice

Yoga for Athletes

4 Ways to Advance Your Practice

No matter what type of athlete you are, yoga can improve your performance. Yoga builds strength, flexibility, and balance to keep your body in peak condition and prevent injury.

However, like other workouts, your yoga practice can plateau. If your yoga flow has started to feel like you’re just going through the motions, why not introduce new challenges into your yoga practice? These are four tips, tools, and tech you can use to keep things interesting on the mat.

This is a guest article by Jason Lewis from StrongWell.org!

Get our FREE Daily 30 Bodyweight Strength Training Guide! >>

How To Start Yoga >>


1 – Set Goals for Yourself

Yoga might not be your primary athletic pursuit, but progressing in yoga requires setting goals and tracking results just like your cardio and strength training does. If logging workouts in a notebook is a little too old-school for you, download an app to set weekly and monthly goals for yourself. You can use a Best Fitness App, or a yoga-specific app with progress-tracking features, like Pocket Yoga. Or even a general fitness tracking app like Fitness Buddy or MyFitnessPal.

If you’re sporting an outdated phone that doesn’t support the latest apps, use this as the push you need to finally upgrade. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go broke just to replace your smartphone; even the iPhone XS is only $41.66 a month through a provider like Verizon. Android users also have options at all budget levels, and it only takes a little research to find the right one.

2 – Find a Teacher You Click With

Most people tend to stick with the same few routines when practicing yoga at home. Searching for videos is tedious, and once you find an instructor and flow that you like, it’s easier to return to an old favorite than sift through the countless options online.

Taking a yoga class for weightloss can be just what you need to push your practice to the next level. In class, there’s no fast-forwarding through sequences or turning the video off early. And with an instructor to mix things up each time, you’re forced to stay alert in order to keep pace.

You’ll get more out of a yoga class if you find an instructor you enjoy learning from. Look for instructors who teach your preferred yoga style, whether that’s Vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga, or another yoga variant, then test out different classes until you find a teacher who makes you feel comfortable yet motivated in your yoga practice.

3 – Incorporate Mini-Sessions Into Your Practice

If you struggle to find the motivation for full-length yoga practice, give yourself permission to practice for as little as seven minutes at a time. You might not get the same physical workout you’d get from a 60-minute flow, but short sessions are a great centering activity. Incorporate seven-minute flows into your morning and bedtime routines, squeeze a session into breaks at work, or intersperse high-intensity workouts with yoga stretches to prevent stiff muscles.

4 – Attend a Yoga Workshop

Is there one yoga skill that keeps tripping you up? If something is holding your yoga practice back, a yoga workshop is a great chance to overcome it. Workshops let yogis dive deep into one particular skill or pose, and with more opportunity for one-on-one work, you can get the expert advice you need to step up your practice.

Yoga workshops might focus on mastering an advanced pose, learning yogic breathing styles, improving alignment and posture, overcoming an injury, or another topic. Ask your instructor if you’re not sure where to find yoga workshops near you.

There’s no one right way to practice yoga. Maybe you practice yoga as a “rest day” activity, or perhaps yoga is a core part of your fitness routine. No matter how you approach yoga, you should always strive to grow in your practice.

See all of our Mobility Stretching Exercises! >>