06/08/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Shape up With Sand Bag Exercises

This workout is exciting. You sweat, you hate me for telling you about it and you will be sore. How can sand--the stuff we used to play in as children, the stuff of so many fond memories--do this to you?

When it comes to working out, variety is the key to longevity. And to see results, changing your workout is the key to success. Various environments and materials can provide a challenging, not to mention, humbling experience when you start to work with them for the first time.

Let's talk about sand. It moves when you step in it, like on the beach. It is heavy when used to fill into bags. How heavy depends on the size of the bag. It does bounce and it can mold to your body contact.

Catching and throwing movements using sand are possibilities that you can execute like no other resistance. Think about it: Try catching a dumbbell or other free weight in midair without sustaining injury or being afraid of the impact. Bags filled with sand allow you to do both as it molds upon impact. Because of the molding action, the inertia does not stop at the point of impact. Additional core strength is required to balance and counteract this impact.

Ok Stefan, who has sandbags at home or even in the gym? Home Depot is a nationwide chain. You can fill your own bags to change up your workouts with sandbags. Or you can buy them special made for your fitness program (

What kind of moves can you do? Let me give you one example: The squat throw catch. Place the sandbag on the ground in front of your feet. Bend your legs and squat deeply to pick up the ends of the sand bag. Throw the bag in the air. Catch it in the squat position again. Stand up and let the bag fall to the floor.

And the beach time isn't far away. Shape up with sand. Do your regular exercises on the beach or even a sand pit in a playground. Lunge, run or walk. The motions will be more difficult to execute as you are moving on an unstable environment. Barefoot would be best.

Stay focused.


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