Kb and Sandbag training

justin peter lynch

Level 5 Valued Member
Hey Everyone..

Sorry for the diatribe in advance..

I recently hurt my elbow doing either barbell zercher squats or barbell deadlifts (elbow didnt hurt till next morning)..

Do to this I couldn't get into a KB rack position, so I started working with Sandbags till my elbow and forearm recovered.. I had never used them before and gotten a little addicted to them.. KB still my #1

I'm probably 80% now (can swing and clean but cant press)

Anyone have any recommendations on integrating SB and Kettlebells into an efficient program

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
@justin peter lynch

It doesn't take much imagination to put them together, just have to decide what you want to prioritize - conditioning, strength, or power, or if you'll be training concurrently. Mountain Tactical Institute has a great video index of sandbag lifts on their site, mostly for conditioning though. You'll find that almost all the programming out there is heavy on the conditioning and power training side, but with a little creativity you can do a solid resistance routine using sandbag analogs of common freeweight exercises.

I don't even use my kettlebells at all anymore except as dead weight and occasionally I'll grip them along with the sandbag handle to increase weight for basic lifts like suitcase DL.

Honestly, you can program these anyway you want as long as you find exercise options that do what you want in a given role.They are crazy versatile.

For power training I like the shoulder clean from the floor, done as explosively as possible - my heels come off the floor and sometime both feet catch air.

Push, pull, hinge, squat for basic resistance training and I've built up my "collection" to three bags. They're set up in 20 lb increments and I have a few 5 and 10 lb bags of steel shot I use to slightly modify my loading. Currently have a 55lb, 70lb, and 95lb. It is still tough to do any sort of microloading on the fly, so weight changes need to be infrequent, and my exercise selection helps with this.

A box to step up on greatly increases the difficulty of unilateral leg work, which becomes mandatory pretty quickly as it is not possible to shoulder loads heavy enough to really challenge bilateral squat.

A pushup board (easily made with scrap 2x4) facilitates loaded pushups -shake the weight to one end of the bag, shuck it onto your shoulder and slide it onto your back as you drop from a kneeling position to all fours. At 198lbs bodyweight and my hands on a scale I generate about 140lbs of resistance (how far up over your hands greatly influences the load your upper body carries). With a 70lb bag on my back pushed up between my shoulderblades and the back of my head, I tipped the scale between 210 and 220. with my 95lb bag I'm approaching a 250 lb benchpress with added challenge of planking for the whole thing.

Recently emailed my routine to a buddy, this is a pretty complete rundown of how I train currently, it is not SF approved, but I'm training more for hypertrophy and endurance. You could easily do more of a 1-2, A&A workout by using shoulder cleans and bearhug squats (no locking hands!) for swing and TGU.

I use three full body workouts per week based on push, pull, hinge, squat. It takes me about 45 minutes per session including a 5 minute jumprope warmup. This has been working very well for me. If I have any extra time in the week I'll do a session of HIIT, agility footwork, plyo, isometrics, metcons. Most of the time I just get the 3 sessions.

Each workout features one or the other of each pair - push/pull and hinge(hamstring)/squat(quads). It uses an accessory lift for the one that is not featured for hinge/squat, and a shoulder exercise that is either anterior or posterior focused to work opposite the main push or pull exercise. At three sessions per week, you hit each variant 3x every two weeks.

This basic template could be used daily/6days per week for people who are using a lower intensity volume approach. For a higher intensity approach, skip a day or you WILL burn out.

The exercises are done in alternating pairs, this increases the rest period for each specific lift while keeping total training time the same. If training in a location where it is not feasible to change stations rapidly, just do them in a full 3 sets per exercise and move on to the next - but maintain the lower/upper schedule overall.

It looks like this:
-Squat/quads (heavy)
-shoulder (posterior variant)

these two exercises done for three sets. Rest a minute or so between exercises. Then on to the next pair -

-hinge(hamstring) (accessory)
- horizontal press (heavy)
these two exercises done for three sets.

Finish with abs and a couple sets of biceps since you pasted your tris on the benchpress

Next day:
-Hinge(hamstring) (heavy)
-Shoulder (anterior variant)

these two exercises done for three sets. Rest a minute or so between exercises. Then on to the next pair -

-Squat(quads) (accessory)
-horizontal pull (heavy)

Finish with abs and a couple sets of triceps
Example, day 1:
-Single leg box step-up (heavy, squat/quads)
-Upright Row (posterior emphasis/ shoulder)
and then
-hamstring extension (accessory, hinge/hamstring)
-loaded pushups (heavy, horizontal push)
Finish with abs and a couple sets of biceps
- Kickstand Good Mornings (heavy, hinge)
-overhead press (anterior emphasis/ shoulder)
and then
-sissy squats (accessory/quad)
-one arm rows (heavy, horizontal pull)
Finish with abs and a couple sets of triceps

Total workout is 16 sets including abs and bi/tri. Currently using a modified DeLorme HIT approach but this aspect could be customized by adding more reps and/or sets. It is very low volume and frequency by "modern" standards. How I approach it:

1st set = 8-12 of a 10-14 RepMax -moderately tough initial set to get things moving, establish groove and pre-fatigue with a relatively light load. Close to failure but hold a rep or two in reserve.

2nd set = 3-6 of a 6 -10 RepMax (this is the "easy set") to add a little volume and mental prep for the heavier weight of the last set. Half the reps of your initial last set, nowhere near failure.

3rd set AMRAP of that 6-10 load, with two additional rest/pause repeats done to technical failure (can't get another clean rep but did not fail the last attempt) at 20-25 second (5 exhale) intervals. This set is everything you have, the only one for each lift you select.

This approach prioritizes size over strength, though you should see your numbers ratchet up very reliably over time. Increase weight when you hit more than 8-10 reps on the first effort of your 3rd set more than 2 sessions in a row, accessory lifts can be run out to 12-15 before increasing weight.

You might also delay increasing weight to improve the number of reps on the rest/pause repeats for more of a pump, but in this case you should increase the number of reps done in your second set accordingly.

For pulling exercises or any lifts that do not have a lock-out phase at the top of the ROM, I sub out a dropset or two for the rest/pause, using R/P whenever possible.
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