Sandbag Training Makes Sense
"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." - Ann Landers
The benefits of sandbag training are unique from traditional weight lifting. Sandbags are unpredictable beasts. The sand within your bag will sway back and forth, as you struggle to lift, carry, drag, or throw the bag. The unpredictable nature of the sandbag renders it an invaluable training device.
Consider the craftsmanship involved in constructing a dumbbell, barbell, or kettlebell. These training tools are carefully assembled according to precise measurements. The weight is evenly distributed and carefully balanced to allow for fluent lifting. Many athletes have developed awesome power and strength from these traditional tools of the trade. Unfortunately, the strength developed through conventional lifting is not always applicable to real life combat. I am not suggesting that you discard your weight set, but I highly advise the addition of a sandbag training routine.
Real life does not share the predictable nature of a carefully constructed barbell. Consider the combative athlete who is engaged in a grueling battle with a quarrelsome adversary. Perhaps he is pinned on the mat, struggling to free himself from an uncooperative opponent. The pinned athlete requires strength, stamina, and skill to wrestle his opponent off and regain control of the bout. The brute strength required for this situation is best developed by lifting awkward, unpredictable objects such as sandbags.
I have never seen a fighter stop in the middle of action to ask his opponent how much weight he can bench press. It does not matter.
Your opponent will never evenly distribute his weight like a barbell. As you wrestle with him, his weight will shift back and forth, as you both vie for position. Sandbag training will develop the brute strength necessary for the unpredictable movements of combat. When you lift the sandbag, it will literally fight with you. The sand will sway back and forth, forcing your stabilizer muscles to work overtime, as you struggle to maintain balance.
The stabilizers help keep the bones and joints secure, while the prime movers extend and flex. The stabilizer muscles help align and maintain joint integrity throughout a normal range of motion, while helping to maintain balance.
Traditional weight training targets the prime movers, with little or no attention to the stabilizer muscles. Many weight-training exercises target one muscle group at a time. When we bench press from a flat bench, we isolate the chest muscles through a controlled range of motion. Many bodybuilders focus on isolation exercise, rather than training with full-body movements. Unfortunately, isolation training has trickled its way into many of today's athletic programs.