Beginner Sandbag Workout

Author: mpalfrey

The sandbag is an often overlooked tool that can be used for developing a high level of strength and conditioning. The cumbersome nature of the sandbag and the fact that the load is constantly shifting makes it difficult to master but the results are worth the effort.

It is a particularly effective training tool for martial artists, rugby players and anyone involved in contact sports as it builds strength, power and speed skills. 

This beginner sandbag workout is designed to introduce you to training with sandbags and allow you to develop techniques before progressing onto a heavier bag and more advanced exercises. As a general rule, you will probably find that you will not be able to lift as much weight in a sandbag as you can with other traditional free weights.

Workout difficulty Beginner
Workout Category Sandbag Workouts
Equipment required


Physical Skills Strength, Power, Speed
Time 20-30 minutes
No. of exercises 5 sandbag exercises

Sandbag getupWho is the beginner sandbag workout for? 

This workout is targeted at people new to sandbag training or with novice level fitness skills. It is useful for those who want to:

Advised prerequisites - 
  • Professional sandbag instruction
  • Entry level fitness skills

Beginner bodyweight workout instructions

Workout notes:

  1. Warm-up thoroughly before starting with some light cardiovascular activity such as jogging or skipping.
  2. Use a sandbag weight that you can handle comfortably with good form. 

The exercises

The exercises in this workout have been selected to help develop overall strength and conditioning using compound movements. These compound movements utilise multiple joints and muscles and will build functional strength - perfect for everyday life, sports and avoiding injury.

  • Sandbag clean
  • Sandbag overhead press
  • Sandbag back squat
  • Sandbag lunge
  • Sandbag high pull
Perform the exercises in sequence, completing 5 repetitions of each. Repeat for a total of 3 sets. 
Rest: 30 - 45 seconds between sets. 

Sandbag Clean

Sandbag Clean

Start with the sandbag on the ground. 

Take a firm grip and lift the sandbag up towards chest height. This should be achieved through a powerful extension through the hip. Catch, the sandbag, return to the start position and repeat. 

Sandbag Overhead Press

sandbag overhead press

Start with the sandbag at chest height. 

Without any assistance from the legs, press the bag above your head. Your back should stay relatively straight during this movement and you should brace your abdominal muscles.

Aim to reach full extension through the shoulder and elbow so that the sandbag is completely above the head at the end of the movement. Return the sandbag to chest height and repeat. 

Sandbag Back Squat

sandbag back squat

Start with the sandbag across your shoulders. 

Sit back into the squat, keeping your chest high. Weight should stay predominantly in the heels and the feet should remain flat. Return to the starting position by pushing back upwards with your hips. 

Sandbag Lunge

sandbag lunge

Start with the sandbag across your shoulders or (for added challenge) held overhead in straight arms. 

Take a big step forwards and drop your body downwards by bending both knees. Your torso should remain upright throughout the movement. 

Step backwards and come to a fully standing position before repeating on the opposite leg. 

Sandbag High Pull

sandbag high pull

Start with the sandbag on the ground. 

Take a firm grip and then lift the sandbag powerfully upwards to chest height. The elbows should be high throughout this movement, with most of the power coming from the hips.

Return the bag to the ground and repeat. 

Progressing from the beginner sandbag workout

As you become competent with the basic sandbag movements you can look to integrate them into an overall training regime, perhaps by effectively combining sandbag exercises with barbell or bodyweight exercises. 

Intermediate sandbag workout coming soon!


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.