We love our sandbag training over here at SGPT for alot of reasons. Given the unstable nature of them, and the shifting weight inside them, every rep is like your first rep. It’s not like barbell work: symmetrical, easy to cycle, and consistent. Also, it’s a lot like real life. You’re not always goind to have a perfectly symmetrical and balanced load to lift with perfect foot placement, and that’s also why we love sandbag training. Bottom line, it’s a great addition to the tactical athlete’s arsenal, and gets you strong. Personally, I see a ton of strength building in my core from doing lunges, carries, and throws with an 80-120lb bag.
And this bad boy goes all the way up to 125lb. The ideal training weight, per Brute Force Training, is between 75-115 lbs, and I can concur. Any more, and it’s basically a solid sack of sand that doesn’t shift. Any less, and it’s too empty and you have filler bags just sloshing around. I tested out the Brute Force Sandbag in Army Green. I also picked up one of their Athlete Sandbags which cap out at 75lb for lighter work.
Let’s start on the outside – all of these are made in the USA. In fact, Brute Force started as a small operation in a Colorado garage, and grew from there. They know their gear, and take pride in every stitch, every handle. Made of 1000D Mil-Spec Cordura, this sandbag is resilient and tough. I’ve slammed it, thrown it, dragged it (on rubber floor mats, don’t drag ANY sandbags on pavement), and it’s come back and asked for more. The YKK zippers keep the filler bags inside the bag, and are surprisingly heavy duty and strong. The stitches are triple reinforced box-x stitches, and they test all of their gear. It shows.
The filler bags are supremely impressive, with double velcro of the heavy duty flavor. Even these have strong box and X stitching as you can see in the picture. When you first get one, you get a workout in itself trying to open it up to add sand. But once you fill it and secure it, they stays shut. In fact, these filler bags even come with a stitched red line so you can be sure you don’t overfill your bag. You want them to be packed, yes, but have enough room to shift. In that regard, each of the 3 filler bags that come with the Strongman bag hold roughly 40lbs. I love this because you can do one WOD with 80lbs, say ground to shoulders or throws, then throw another filler bag in after a couple minutes rest, and do heavy carries or over the shoulder lunges. For my tactical athletes, LEOs, First Responders, and SOF guys reading this – you need to be training with these. In fact, Brute Force’s Instagram has a ton a kick ass shooting drills with a bag simulating work under stress and buddy carries. They also have an app which gives you daily WODs.
Now aside from being made in the USA with quality materials and stellar construction, these bags come with a full warranty. They will repair or replace your bag, so long as you don’t take an axe to it or drag it behind a truck. You can learn more about their warranty here.
Now let’s talk about features. It’s reinforced in all the right places, as you can see on the left. There is extra stitching at the stress points like where the zippers terminate. The handles are all over – 8 in all – allowing you to get clean grips, row grips, and even carry the bag farmer-carry style. Also, there are handles on the end for drags, or a spicy version of a pushup where you pull the bag to either side of you between reps. ALL the stitching is solid, and I haven’t found a single issue. I’ve done roughly 20 workouts with this bag, with absolutely zero issues, from bear hug squats to over the shoulder throws to lateral throws and everything in between, and it still looks brand new as you can see. Compared to the Wreck Bag – I like this one more for all around training. You have more handles that don’t shift, the ability to change the weight by adding or subtracting filler bags, and it’s versatile in application. The only thing the Wreck Bag has that this doesn’t is filler that will not soak up water and get heavier should you WOD in the rain, mud, or snow. If 75-125lbs is too much for you, fret not, they have an Athlete Bag which can weigh 25-75 lbs.
Pros, what we like: Made in Denver, CO with quality materials, solid warranty, and even more solid construction. The handles are well placed and sturdy, and even the filler bags are rugged and ready for whatever you throw at it. Also, they come in smaller sizes with the same sturdy construction for those of you that aren’t ready for 75-125 lbs of fun yet.
Cons, what we don’t like: I got nothing, this product is all aces and we love it. Get one. Get strong. Get Brutal.
UPDATE 11/2017 – I’ve done nearly 50 workouts with the Strongman bag, and the smaller athlete bag, and you could never tell. I’ve slammed them, thrown them, dragging them, tossed them, and cleaned them – and I don’t mean with soap and water – and you would never be able to tell. This things are great, versatile, and made to last. Check them out. I find the Athlete Bag is much easier for traditional moves like cleans, thrusters, throws and slams. The strongman bag is amazing for sandbag get ups, throws, and heavy carries, and keeps you working constantly with the uneven nature of the implement.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
His where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.