Top 10 Sandbags For Training and Exercise
If you’ve ever been bored at the gym, thinking about how you can change up your weekly routine, sandbags are something to consider for extreme weight training. Whereas free weights on target certain muscle groups and remain constant and unchanging, exercising with a sandbag introduces intensity, agility, and laser-focus to a workout. It’s hard to believe that a heavy-duty bag can revolutionize an entire workout, but it’s tried, true and tested by Strongman competitions and military training.
So if you’re ready to take the plunge and see what weighted bags have to offer in terms of your personal fitness, we’ve got everything you need to know. We’ve researched the toughest, most durable bags for lifting as well as those with additional features for an even more extended sweat sesh. So check out the best workout sandbags and see how to double your gains without expensive equipment and gym memberships.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
Comes with additional options
Used by the US military
Filler bags come in two sizes
10 Best Workout Sandbags
1. Brute Force
Comes with additional options
Used by the US military
Filler bags come in two sizes
There might be some slack if both bags are not filled fully
Brute Force sounds like something unpleasant but in terms of workout gear, it’s exactly what you’d want. This top-ranking bag is the original in weighted bag workouts and it’s easy to see why it still remains one of the best to this day. This bag comes with options that aren’t just limited to color and design in order to further advance your workout routine.Read more
With four different graspable handles, these bags are versatile enough to be tailored to any type of workout, core training, or fitness class you can think of. In addition to its accessories, this bag is built to last, remaining one of the most durable on this list. Brute Force encourages throwing, punching, tossing, and even slamming these bags to get the full extent of all they have to offer. It’s easy enough to go from overhead weight-lifting to kickboxing when you’ve got a bag that won’t split, tear, or rip.
The Brute Force bags also come with one 30lb and one 50lb bag filling bag, both of which can be combined within the duffle. Brute Force also supplies every branch of the American military, so you know that not only are their products trusted, but they actually work. Easy enough to bring to the gym and with enough options to use during an in-home workout, Brute Force is the top dog when it comes to brute gains.
2. REP FITNESS
Great for beginners
Comes with four weighted options
Variety of colors and handle extensions
The handles are not very high-quality
For the most versatile in weighted bag training, REP FITNESS should be your go-to. With the option to fill four separate bags, each adding up to roughly 200lbs, this is a great choice for gradual strength training and beginners looking to get a feel for a workout bag. This is also the best bargain as far as a complete package since REP FITNESS includes everything you’ll need to get started on your lifting goals.Read more
There’s little chance of these bags ripping or tearing as they’re made from 1000D Cordura, which has then been triple-stitched with and cross-stitched with a heavy-duty nylon thread. Anyone who’s familiar with workout materials knows that nylon is tough to damage and even harder to break — so don’t be afraid to really go at it!
To prevent leakage of any kind, which can be a concern when it comes to any filled fitness bags, REP FITNESS has included a double velcro that prevents spilling in the event that a filler bag does become damaged or opened during a workout. With a choice of six different handles, workouts can be fully customizable according to how much you want to lift, what style of exercise you’re doing, as well as the intensity level of the routine. These bags come in over 20 different colors so if appearance is also on your list of must-have attributes, REP FITNESS has you covered.
In the event that these bags don’t live up to your expectations, REP FITNESS also offers a one-year warranty in addition to helpful how-to videos for those just getting started. Overall, for both the price and all that’s included, this is by far the best beginner option for workout bags on our list.
3. Garage Fit Heavy Duty
Great for all levels of fitness
Eight handles for various exercise routines
Only comes with two filler bags
Anything that’s specified as being “heavy-duty” means it’s likely to hold up to even the toughest of workouts, but what about in the harshest of conditions? For those who enjoy working out outdoors, the Garage Fit Heavy Duty Workout bags are probably the best option for you. Not only have they been designed to undergo heavy lifting, but they’re also waterproof, making them safe to use in damp conditions as well as inclement weather.Read more
Similar to the other bags on this list, the material of choice used in manufacturing is nylon, which is one of the strongest, durable materials for weighted bags. The use of nylon prevents sudden ripping and tears which can effectively end a workout, not to mention becoming a quick waste of money. This guarantee is one that we take seriously which is why no bag makes it to our list without it.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll find that this bag has not one, not two, but eight different handles around its exterior. This is intended for versatility during workouts, as you’ll be able to switch between different exercises or routines swiftly and without limitation. Having these options allows you to turn up the intensity or slow things down, depending on what you’re looking to gain from your workout session.
The thing that sets this bag apart from the rest is its hook-n-loop fasteners, which help to prevent bag openings mid-workout. This, in addition to the double-sealed liners on the filler bags, is enough reassurance that sand won’t fly out with each and every deadlift. Furthermore, this bag boasts something that makes cleanup a breeze: Machine-washable bags!
4. Synergee Adjustable
Secure stitching and adhesion
Low price tag
Perfect for beginners
Maximum weight of 40lbs
This bag looks a bit different from the rest and there’s a good reason for that. While most are designed like a typical duffle bag, this one is a bit tighter of a design with less room for movement inside. It’s a personal preference, but this bag’s compact design does make it good for fitness beginners as well as being a great alternative for pros who can’t always get to the gym.Read more
The outer shell of this workout bag has been crafted with Cordura nylon which, as we’ve seen with all the others thus far, is the most heavy-duty material available. This bag is also waterproof, making it yet another great option for those who enjoy bringing their routines to the Great Outdoors.
For those who are worried about their bags ripping, rest assured — both the exterior bags and the interior filler bags feature the same triple stitching that we’ve seen in the rest thus far. This bag also features both velcro and zippers in order to keep the filler bags closed and securely attached to the inside of the duffle. Additionally, this bag has six handles around the exterior of the bag, making it perfect for lunges, squats, running, you name it. While not as many as its competitors, its price tag makes up for the difference in spades.
Its low price also makes it a great choice for those who might not want to commit to a bag that’s triple in price, as it’s a good starter and offers all the same great benefits without a pricey long-term commitment. While this bag only holds a maximum weight of 40lbs unless upgraded, you’d be surprised at how much of a workout that actually provides. For those just starting out on their weight-lifting journey, this is a great way to spice up a routine and incorporate some serious core training that you wouldn’t likely get on a gym machine.
5. Ludus Imperium Strongman
Easier to lift with less instability
Comes with three maximum options
Built-in filler bag
Doesn’t allow for as much versatility as duffle-style bags
The Ludus Imperium Strongman bags offer a different type of workout that’s somewhere in between weighted bags and regular weights. While these bags don’t offer as wide of a weighted area, they do offer that bit of imbalance that challenges your core when lifting. These bags have a wide firth, making them a challenge to pick up from the start which sets the level of intensity for the entire workout. They do come in different sizes so that if you want to dial the intensity up, you could just increase the bag size.Read more
Whereas the other bags have separate filler bags that can be removed, cleaned, customized, etc., the Strongman bags have built-in fillers. This means that sand goes inside the actual bag with no option to take the filler bag out. This isn’t necessarily a bag thing, though; since the bag is built-in, it does offer quite a bit more stability than your typical weighted bag.
The Strongman bags are also made out of durable nylon as with every other, making it just as durable and strong. It’s not prone to ripping or tearing and can be rough-housed quite a bit due to its solid shape and built-in filler bag. This set of three bags comes in three weight maximums: 100lbs, 150lbs, and 200lbs. Combined, that’s a max weight of 450lbs which is quite a lot when compared to some of the other weight maximums on the list.
6. Radien Sports Strongman
Over 30 options for workout routines
Three different sizing options
Great for experienced weight lifters
Having so many straps can occasionally interfere with the integrity of the bag
Very similar to the previous style, Radien Sports offers its version of a Strongman bag in a slightly different design. This longer, more tubular shape allows for more weight-lifting options, as it can be held close to the chest and ran with much more easily than a bulkier, wider bag. It’s also much more structured than your typical weight bags, allowing for more balanced movements, similar to the Imperium.Read more
This bag is designed specifically with workouts in mind such as kettlebell reps, as well as routines that are seen in Strongman competitions. This is a great way to get that same intensity seen in those types of training in your own house, without an enormous price tag or a room full of gym equipment. Additionally, this bag comes with three different options, each allowing for a different maximum weight. At maxes of 165 lbs, 225lbs, and 300lbs, there are options for everyone from beginner to a professional trainer.
Furthermore, this bag has some pretty ridiculous options. If you look close, you’ll notice that there are straps and handles all over the bag, allowing for a grand total of 36 different training options. That’s more than many on this list, however, it’s the size and design of the bag which also allows for that versatility. These straps also come with three options for handle covers, helping to prevent discomfort while switching between them. If you’re not keen on handles all over your bag, Radien Sports has an answer for this, too: Simply tuck them away! With a super durable nylon exterior and a fold-down design when filling and closing, there’s little chance of damage, ripping, or leakage.
7. Bear KompleX
Made of kevlar for maximum durability
Various options for weight training
Approved by professional athletes
The bag can be a bit stiffer than most
The nice thing about this bag is that it does have ergonomic handles so that your hand grips the weight comfortably. Some other bags only have tough nylon handles which can lead to irritation and even blisters, whereas the Bear KompleX bag eliminates that problem entirely.Read more
There are several options for weight with this bag, including small and large sizes. The small bag has a maximum weight of 90lbs while the larger one has a maximum weight of 173lbs. That leaves plenty of options for both beginners and experienced weight lifters. As with any other bag, it can be filled to capacity or filled to a happy medium as you work your way up to the maximum fill level.
Rather than being made out of nylon, this bag is actually made out of kevlar, which does put it a step above the others in terms of material. Kevlar is highly durable and allows for plenty of wear and tear without breaking down quickly. That alone is worth the extra money when considering a bag, so if you’re looking for something that’s highly durable and will last for years, the Bear KompleX bag is the one that you want.
Furthermore, this bag also features two removable filler bags, both of which can be filled as much or as little as you need to turn up or turn down the intensity of your workout. With zig-zag cross-stitching, there should be no concern when it comes to this bag ripping or tearing.
8. Ultimate Body Press
Comes with the option to water-fill
Great for practicing speed and balance
Easy to clean and maintain
The zipper isn’t incredibly strong
Ultimate Body Press is changing the way we look at weighted bags by including an option for water-filled bags rather than just sand. While they still offer traditional sandbags, the benefits of a water-weighted bag can sometimes outweigh that of sand. It’s worth considering for an even more intense workout — if you believe it!Read more
Whereas sand moves much slower and can remain stationary, water is constantly sloshing around, especially during high-intensity movements. Therefore, the balance and focus that it takes to remain balanced with a water-weighted bag are much greater than with sand. This option is great for those who want to enhance their agility and accuracy when it comes to working out, and not just their strength. While the weight is about the same between sand and water, water-weighted bags will challenge balance, core strength, and speed.
The maximum weight with the Ultimate Body Press Exercise bag is roughly 100lbs which isn’t the least on the list but it’s also not the most. It’s a happy medium for those who aren’t looking to do reps of 200lbs but also want to train their bodies to be more agile during workouts. These bags are great for Crossfit training and lend themselves well to highly active routines. They can also be much easier to fill since water is readily available more often than sand is. Not to mention, cleanup is often much quicker, easier, and there’s less of a mess post-workout routine.
Good beginner bag
Can be cleaned easily
Built for durability
Has a low weight maximum
Dingo bags are a great all-around option for anyone who wants to try out weighted-bag training without spending too much, but still getting a great product. It’s a well-made, basic bag that can be used for Crossfit, weighted running, and exercise reps. It’s a well-made bag for basic weight training, especially if you’re looking to travel with it or take it outside of the house.Read more
Due to its size, this bag lends itself to a surprising amount of workout routines. It can be easily traveled with since it is one of the smallest on this list, and while the max weight is 44lbs, that still provides a solid workout. Depending on how many reps and which core exercises this bag is used for, you can get plenty of usages out of it if you’re creative enough.
The military-grade nylon, zig-zag cross-stitching, and quadruple handle seams are what make this bag such a great option for anyone who doesn’t need something crazy for a good workout. It’s built to last and it’s proven long-lasting. Additionally, it can be cleaned easily with simple soap and water, something else that’s appealing to those who like to work out outdoors.
10. Iron Core Athletics
Comes with two rubber-coated filler bags
Option to fill with sand or water
Great for gradually working up to higher weights
Not everyone will like the coated exterior
Now, this looks like a pretty hefty bag and that’s because it is — With the option to fill with sand or water, the Iron Core Athletics bag has a weight limit of 150lbs and can hold up to two, full filler bags. That’s quite a lot for one weighted bag, making this a great option for those who want an intense, heavy-lift workout.Read more
Whereas the Dingo bag is a great option for those who want a lower-weight workout, the Iron Core Athletics bag is the perfect option for those on the opposite end of the spectrum. Its maximum weight limit allows for plenty of muscle growth, and it’s a solid option for those who want to work their way up in weight training. The exterior is coated with rubber, making it easy to clean and very low-maintenance. It’s a great basic bag for heavy lifting and isn’t likely to cause any problems due to the same double cross-stitching seen on all the other bags that made this list.
Furthermore, there are seven handles on the exterior of the bag which lend themselves to various workout styles. This bag offers options without being too overwhelming, and also serves as a basic heavyweight for those who could care less about what kind of exercise moves they can pull with their weight-training bag.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As with any bag, workout or otherwise, capacity is always a big question. When it comes to weight training, there are many different theories on how to train, what to train with, and how much to train with. In weight lifting, it's fairly easy to figure out when you're lifting too much and what your limits are. Therefore, this was a variable that we needed to exclude from our research. With that excluded, it became quite obvious that we needed to search out weight training bags that would be good for all levels of training -- not just heavy lifting.
Therefore, we've put together a list that is compatible with many different levels, whether your weight limit is 40lbs or 200lbs and everything in between. We didn't want anyone to read this guide and think that weight training with sandbags isn't beginning or light-lifting-friendly, which is why it is such an extensive list. Capacity was a big factor in our research, because we needed to find all the bags which checked off our boxes, from light-lifting to heavy-lifting, casual lifting to daily lifting, along with Crossfit training, weighted running, and balance routines.
Perhaps one of the most important criteria was durability. The last thing anyone wants to do is look down and see that their weighted bag has started leaking, leaving an undesirable pile of sand in the gym, on their floor, or anywhere else it can't be easily cleaned up. Therefore, we looked for bags that contained the following: cross-stitching, zig-zig stitches, triple and quadruple stitching, as well as thick, nearly unbreakable materials such as nylon, kevlar, and heavy-duty rubber. We've listed them in order of strongest and most stitching as well as the overall best and less, making for a solid list of bags that won't simply fall apart at the seams.
Additionally, each bag should be able to hold up to any type of training. The reason weighted bags are so popular in workout routines is that they offer so much in terms of core training and balance. There are few sports or workouts which don't require these two things -- therefore, each bag needed to hold up to the test of exercise and various routines which might be more strenuous on the materials. Anything from dropping to throwing was considered, and what you're looking at now are the bags that made the cut.
Just as a bag should be strong, it should also be effective in its usage. Weighted bags are designed to encourage the user to become aware of their body and their movements. As opposed to regular weights, a weighted bag will not remain stationary, nor will it always move in the direction that you're moving. This will cause you to move accordingly, building both your core strength as you adapt, as well as your speed when balancing with the bag. Lifting will become harder, but it will also force you to focus more in order to lift a bag rather than a solid weight. Because weight is more unevenly dispersed, lifting a weighted bag will target more than one muscle group at a time, sometimes randomly, thus generating more gain from a workout than with a regular set of dumbbell weights.
With that being said, it became increasingly important for us to find bags that could hold up to the challenge of these gains. If they weren't proving effective or backed up by a reliable source, we didn't consider them. A waste of your money is a waste of your time, which is something we don't want to lose when it comes to our fitness lives.
The criteria of weight was a fickle thing when researching these bags. We tried to err on the side of bags that had options; meaning, bags that could hold two or more filler bags, adding options to the amount of weight they were gain. Due to the fact that not everyone is on the same weight training and some people prefer light versus heavy lifting, we needed to find versatile bags that would allow you to customize your own weight limit.
In turn, we also wanted to include bags that could be built upon. By this, we mean bags that could be filled gradually while still feeling somewhat level and balanced. If a bag needs to be filled to its maximum in order to be stable enough to work with, then it was essentially useless to us and our top ten list.
That brings us to the issue of stability. Stability is another interesting theory when it comes to weighted bags. Because frankly, the point is that they're not intended to be stable. They're not meant to remain solid and unmovable -- if that were the case, we'd be telling you to skip the weighted bags and go straight for the Bowflex trainers. However, weighted bags go back to days before humanity was civilized, during times when men and women would throw bags of grain or rice over their shoulders and build muscle in the most natural way possible. It's this notion that has continued to make weighted back training so popular today, and not only in the gym. It's a method used by the military and many professional athletes, in order to focus on various core muscle groups and shake up their routines a bit.
So what's the point of all this? While bags shouldn't be completely stationary, they should offer a balance. They should be easy to pick up, but provide a challenge to lift. They should provide enough stability to work out with, but not be flopping over to the point where your routine is disrupted because a bag keeps slipping through your hands. This is often a problem that lies in the material used or the structure of the bag. Therefore, it's something that we considered when making this list because no one appreciates a half-empty bag escaping them in the middle of a burpee.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You might be wondering how the heck to swing this thing around and still get a good workout from it, and we're here to help. These are the top five best workouts you can do with your weighted sandbag, and the best part is that they're versatile! You can do these with small bags, large bags, lightweight, heavyweight, sand or water. Ready?
1) Forward lunge. With both hands, step into a normal forward lunge. As you step into place, swing the bag - with control - to one side before bringing it back to the middle and stepping back. Repeat with the other leg and side.
2) Reverse lunch. Let the weighted bag hang below your back, over the top of your neck, while you hold it over your shoulders with the side handles. Step back into a reverse lunge, before leaning into your front heel to come back to a standing position. Repeat while continuing to hold the back over your shoulder (like a backpack).
3) Side lunge. Hold the bag by its top handles. Step to one side, and while doing so, raise the bag over your head. Remain there for one second before using your outward foot to push back to the center position, before switching sides.
4) Hammer Curl. While remaining in a standing position with feet a comfortable width apart, hold your arms slightly out in front of you, using the top straps to grip the bag. Raise your arms in a normal arm curl, bag in tow, for as many reps as necessary.
5) One-legged Deadlift. Holding the bag with both hands the same way you did for the Hammer curl, lean forward carefully on one foot. When you're at a 90-degree angle, lift the bag (similar to a hammer curl) and lower it, before propelling yourself back to a standing position.
It's not uncommon to make mistakes when trying different workout equipment for the first time, including weighted bags. For starters, you always want to anticipate that a weighted bag is going to operate differently than normal weight. It's a variable in your workout and should be treated as such. Secondly, don't overfill it! It's easier to add more than it is to take out, and trust us, when you're knee-deep in a routine and realizing the bag is too heavy, it's a pain to stop and pour sand out. Third, pay attention to your body. If you feel stressed or strained anywhere, cut the workout short. A weighted bag works differently than most weights and will encourage you to use various muscles, all at once, at different times. Without realizing it, you could be reaching your limit much more quickly than during a normal workout routine. Take it slow!
Other Factors to Consider
What many might not consider when it comes to a weighted bag is how easy (or not!) they might be to transport. The reason it's so important is that if you're planning to go from working out at home to hitting the gym, you want to make sure that you have a bag that's easy to transport from one place to another. This is true of people who like to work out on beaches, in parks, or even while trail running.
Weighted bags should, of course, be high-quality, efficient, and hold their value for the price you pay, but they should also be simple enough to pack up and carry. Therefore, this was yet another criteria to add to our list. It's one thing to carry a weighted bag when it's full to work up a sweat, but you shouldn't need to work up a sweat just to get it packed back up and travel-ready!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can any of these be filled with water vs. sand?
No, in fact, we'd recommend always sticking with sand if you're ever unsure. There are two bags on this list that can be filled with water, however, they have special filler bags that are waterproof. Sand vs. water is a personal preference and if you're looking for a bag to fill with water for training, we'd recommend either the Iron Core or Ultimate Body Press.
q: What kind of exercises can be done with these?
It's good to start out small if you're a beginner. Base the weight you need off what you'd lift in the gym on average, and start with just under that, at least until you get used to the bag weight. From there, start with things like kettlebell lifts, arm curls, and overhead lifts... but pay attention to your body! If anything starts to feel off or strenuous, tone it down a bit.
q: Can I work outside with these?
Most of them, yes. Since they're made with nylon, kevlar, and coated rubber, that means they should be waterproof. There are some that specifically state whether or not they are waterproof, so if you're planning on doing hardcore trail training, we'd recommend going with one of those. Better safe than sorry! This will also help to further prolong the life of your weighted bag.
q: Can these be combined with weights?
Sand only! The point of these bags is to enhance and provide a challenge to workout routines with the addition of a fluid substance (sand or water). By adding weights, not only is it dangerous, but it also defeats the purpose of having a weighted bag. These bags are also designed to have a max limit, meaning that anything adds that's over the limit could cause serious damage to the integrity of the bag.
q: How do you clean the sand out?
The filler bags that come with the weighted bag are designed to do most of the work for you. When you're done using them, simply dump the sand out and hang upside-down until the next use. This will ensure that gravity does most of the work and that every little bit of sand is out. You can also take a damp cloth and wipe out the inside of the bag -- just make sure to let it dry fully before adding more sand.