was successfully added to your cart.

Cave Strong Sandbag Cardio

By Frank DiMeo

Ditch Machines for the Sandbag workout

When a new person walks into my gym to inquire about training, they often are surrounded by equipment they have never seen or used before.

They don’t see any treadmills or elliptical machines, and  ask, “Where’s the cardio?”

Often times they are standing right next to our large pile of sandbags.

There’s the cardio, and they will soon be getting a taste of it.

Below are a few of our most effective sandbag cardio exercises:

Sandbag shouldering
Sandbag cardio workout

  • Start with the sandbag laying on the floor lengthwise between your feet.
  • Grab it with two hands in the middle and aggressively accelerate the sandbag up to your shoulder.
  • Your hands should make contact with your upper chest as the sandbag comes to rest briefly on top of your shoulder.

Video of shouldering 200lb sandbag in the Sandbag workout

Shouldering “the Humbler” (200 lb sandbag)

A post shared by Frank DiMeo (@cavepicz2) on

Duration reps and Sandbag weight

  • Do ten repetitions per side per set. I recommend adding sets instead of increasing the weight of the sandbag.
  • Use the following suggested weight depending on the fitness level of each person, adjust the load as needed.
  • Novice–30lb
  • Intermediate–50lb
  • Advanced–70lb
  • Elite–100lb or more
Zercher sandbag squat
Sandbag workout for Cardio
Sandbag workout for endurance

  • Start with the sandbag laying on the floor crosswise in front of your feet.
  • Grab the handles and pull it rapidly up and catch it in the crooks of your elbows.
  • Keeping your elbows up high, execute your squats.
  • Recommended loads for this will be the same as for the shouldering exercise.
  • About 20 repetitions per set is plenty for this Sandbag workout.
Zercher sandbag clean
Sandbag mma

This exercise is identical to the Zercher squat except you will release the sandbag completely after accelerating it up then catch in the crooks of your elbows as you are descending into the squat.

  • Stand up all the way before lowering the sandbag to the floor.
  • Do not drop the sandbag during the Sandbag workout!
  • This exercise is more demanding than the Zercher squat, so usually 15 reps will be enough per set.

Video of 120lb Zercher sandbag clean

A post shared by Frank DiMeo (@cavepicz2) on

BTN squat & push press
Sandbag Cardio and Stamin workout
  • Start with the sandbag laying on the floor crosswise in front of your feet.
    Grab it by the handles and vigorously pull it up and over your head until it rests behind the neck.
Sandbag Cardio workout for Thai boxing
  • And accelerate forcefully out of the hole and press the sandbag to a full lockout overhead as you stand up.
Cardio workout using Sandbags
  • Lower the sand bag behind the neck to start the next rep. 15 repetitions per set is sufficient.
  • Once again, it is better to add more sets instead of increasing the load.
Sandbag hang power snatch
Use sandbags for Cardio in this workout
  • The sandbag starts from just below the knees. It is very powerfully pulled all the way to a full lockout overhead in one movement. The knees bend to a quarter squat as you catch the sandbag.
Sandbags and Cardiovascular exercise
  • Stand fully erect before lowering the sandbag. Due to the unstable nature of the load, use less weight on this exercise than on exercises that do not go overhead.
  • Novice-20lb
  • Intermediate-30lb
  • Advanced-50lb
  • Elite-70lb
Unconventional training using Sandbags
  • As always, make needed adjustments in weight to fit the athlete. Novice to advanced will be well challenged by 10 rep sets, and elite up to 15 or 20 reps.
Sandbag carry
The Sandbag workout Unconventional Athletes

Video of 200lb sandbag carry

First person at the Cave to carry “The Humbler” (200 lb sandbag)

A post shared by Frank DiMeo (@cavepicz2) on

Carries can be  done either for distance or time. Both will raise your heart rate significantly. Your starting position will depend on the weight and size of the sandbag.

Heavier ones can be stood up on end first. Lighter ones can be lifted as we have previously shown.

Frank Di Meo Bio UnconventionalAthletes.Com
Frank DiMeo

Frank DiMeo is veteran of the U.S. Army Airborne and is the owner and coach at the Cave www.cavestrong.net in Sarasota, Florida.