Sand Is the New Iron Workout

Sand Is the New Iron Workout

Model: Ina Gutowska
Photography: Andreas Michael

Ever wanted a piece of portable training kit that you can do almost anything with and that isn’t made of iron, costs too much and is easy to store and portable enough you can take it anywhere? [level-premium-content]

Well that time has come to bring out the beast and train the Alpha bag way! As a PT and someone that does a lot of outdoor and home training I have to say this is now one of my favourite pieces of kit. Team it up with a mat and an interval timer and you’re good to go for a brutal workout.

The Alpha bag was designed in 2009 by a veteran personal trainer and product designer. The pair managed to combine all the great features of a sandbag and barbell into one tough piece of kit. One of the great features of the Alpha bag is the multiple hand grips which makes it a truly unique training tool and allows maximum versatility when it comes to working if different ranges of movements, and because it’s filled with sand that shifts about it increases core activation and challenges the body even more.

So if you want one piece of kit that you can squat, clean, slam and throw then I would recommend the Alpha bag.

Some of the great features about the Alpha bag are

  • Weight capacity 7kg – 18kg
  • Load weight using the easy access, wide mouth, double closure opening
  • Includes No Leak inner sandbag liner that holds up to 18kg
  • Triple set handle configuration for maximum versatility
  • Over 44 BarTacked reinforced stress points
  • Ten layer “rip proof” handle attachment construction
  • Ergonomically designed, padded handles for superior grip
  • Sand sealed away behind four closures

I’ve put together a little workout sequence for you to try and it’s one that’ll really get your heart pumping and leave you feeling totally worked out by the end of it. This workout should flow quite nicely and attack the whole body in one hit and gives you the chance to go powerful for some of the exercises. Aim to perform 15-20 reps of each of the exercises in a circuit format and little as and when you need it. Give yourself a 2-3 minute after each complete circuit and aim for 2-3 sets depending on time available and fitness level.

Warm up using any form of cardio, e.g. jogging, skipping or step ups, until you feel ready to move onto some dynamic stretches and then start the main workout.

The workout

  • Alphabag Deadlifts (RDL)
  • Alphabag Bent over rows (BOR)
  • Alphabag RDL cradle catches
  • Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches
  • Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches with overhead press
  • Alphabag plank chest slides

Exercise descriptions

Alphabag Deadlifts (RDL)

Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and with your hands grasping the centre handles of the bag. Maintain a natural spine and hinge forward from the hips taking the bag down towards the floor just below your knees. Your knees should be slightly soft but not overly bent. Push your hips forwards and return to an upright position to complete the exercise.

Alphabag Deadlifts (RDL) image

Alphabag Bent over rows (BOR)

Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and with your hands grasping the centre handles of the bag. Lean forwards again from the hips with a nice natural spine and allow the bag to hang straight down beneath your shoulders; this is the start position. From here pull the bag in towards your navel but keep your elbows tucked into your sides during the whole movement. Return to the start position and repeat.

Alphabag Bent over rows (BOR) image

Alphabag RDL cradle catches

This is where it starts to get interesting! Follow the description for the RDL above, but speed up the process and on the upwards phase of drive up faster and flick the bag into a cradle position as shown in the image. With the bag in the cradle position unfold with it and lower it back down and repeat the process. This is a tough one and take a little practice to get right.

Alphabag RDL cradle catches image

Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches

This is a progression to the RDL cradle catches. Follow the description for the RDL above but this time drop into a squat to catch and cradle the bag. Maintain a strong core and tightly arched back while catching and stand up to return to the start position.

Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches image

Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches with overhead press

Again we have another progression but this time it’s based on the RDL cradle squat catches. Follow the above description, but this time rise up from the squat and press the bag overhead. Return the bag  to the cradle position and unfold before repeating the movement.

Alphabag RDL cradle squat catches with overhead press image

Alphabag plank chest slides

Position yourself in a press up position and with the bag placed long ways beneath and in line with your chest. Spread your feet for extra stability. Using your right hand grab one of the centre handles closest to you. Pull the bag away from the centre of your body while maintaining good bodily alignment.  Return back to the press position with both hands and repeat the process with your left hand. After the first rep the distance will have increased and so will the intensity.

Alphabag plank chest slides image

 Gym ball workout