Let’s Do Some Sandbag Carries

Let’s Do Some Sandbag Carries
Photo: Pavel1964, Shutterstock

I’ll be honest with you: I do not do core exercises. No crunches, no planks; I’m sure my abs could handle them, but my brain is just not interested. (And as you’ll know, I’m a big believer in not doing any exercise you truly hate.) But something that makes your core work hard while you’re doing something else? When I do those, I feel badass.

So today, with our sandbags, that thing is a sandbag carry. Your whole body works when you carry something heavy. Depending on how you hold it, you get your abs and back involved, and all those nebulous other “core” muscles around the sides of your torso and the inside of your ribcage that we are told supposedly exist. Your shoulders and hips may feel strangely sore after doing a lot of carries. They suck, but in a good way.

So, let’s do it. I chose four different ways to carry my 23 kg sandbag, and you can see me do them in this video:

The carries in the are:

  • Shoulder carries (do both sides)
  • Zercher carries, with the bag nestled into your elbows in front of you
  • Overhead carries, to which I can only say: good luck

For the shoulder and zercher carries, you’ll need to get the sandbag into your lap and then up into position, like we discussed back in the first week of the challenge. The overhead is trickier. You get it up around shoulder height, but then you have to get it on top of your hands somehow. I found it worked to lean the bag on my chest and carefully place my hands underneath it, and then sloooowwwwly press it overhead. Anytime I tried to go too fast, I ended up dropping it.

The overhead is the best of the bunch, if you can make it work. You’re working your shoulders and entire core, and constantly being aware of your balance.

Another option, not shown, is to grab the sandbag in one hand (by the handles, if your bag has handles) and carry it like a suitcase. You will feel very lopsided, and that’s the point. Just make sure to do the same distance on both sides.

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