covid19 · family · fitness · strength training

Mixing it up with bags of sand and jugs of water

A few weeks before official ‘stay at home’ recommendations were issued, I left the gym and started working out at home. We started out strength training with resistance bands, the TRX and a lone kettlebell.

It all began in the livingroom but with the nice weather we’ve moved to the back deck and the back yard. The first purchases were a mount for the punching bag and a giant tire for flipping.

Recently, we’ve added sand bags and water jugs to our lifting repertoire. Both work well for workouts with partners who lift different amounts. Here it’s me and my 22 year old son who significantly stronger than me.

I confess these purchases were his, both the inspiration and the execution. He’s been planning and provisioning for our back deck workouts. In the “220 workouts in 2020” someone called me a “badass.” That’s partly true but it’s more true I raised one and he is good about including his mom in his workouts. He owes me for all the time on the 401 when he played rugby! Also, it’s nice to workout with company.

The sandbag is one large bag with handles and then smaller bags filled with sand go inside. You buy the bags and the sand separately, of course, for reasons of shipping.

What do you do with sandbags? Pretty much anything you’d do with dumbells.

See 12 Sandbag Exercises That Work Twice As Many Muscles in Half the Time.

What’s the advantage of working out with sandbags?

First, there’s the one I mentioned above. You can load up the bag with a different number of sandbags for different people or different exercises.

Second, the instability of the sand gives the workout an added edge.

“One of the most versatile tools you’re probably not using, a sandbag is great for when you want to work out but also don’t want to spend all day working out. With a sandbag, the center of gravity is always shifting, because the sand moves back and forth, causing your core to engage in a different way than with a stable weight, even when you aren’t doing a core-focused exercise, explains Patrick McGrath, a certified personal trainer at Project by Equinox and SLT studio in New York City.”

Here’s a sample sandbag workout.

If you find they are all sold out online, there are lots of DIY solutions. Fill up your own bags with sand. We’re not travelling now anyway. You can also weigh them using the handy scales that we used to use to weigh our luggage–back in the before times.

The water jugs are the same idea. We have two sets of different sizes and you can (obviously) fill them up with different amounts of water. As with the sand, the water is unstable making for an extra challenge.

Today we used the heavy water jugs for deadlifts and farmer walks.

But here are some more ideas.

I will say that we aren’t the neatest when it comes to filling and emptying the jugs so for us it’s a good thing that these are outdoor workouts. Also, I think the lawn appreciates it!