Sandbag Experiment Results
This month can be summed up in one word: " Ouch ." We ripped off nails, tweaked backs, shoulders and elbows, hit ourselves in the head, hit each other and dropped sandbags on toes more times than I can count.
Let me start with the good: I liked the sandbag as a tool. It added a fun twist to our weight lifting workouts and the instability really did make the moves harder. I especially loved my bag from Ultimate Sandbags - it was very well constructed and the handles made it easier to use. Our homemade bags did not hold up as well, if you recall.
Now for the not-so-good: It got boring doing sandbag-only workouts. While there are a lot of moves to do with them, the Gym Buddies and I liked them best when we used them as part of a circuit including other fitness tools like kettlebells, the TRX and free weights.
In addition, the weight was hard to adjust. The homemade bags just weighed what they weighed and that was that (until they broke all over the floor and suddenly got very light...). The Ultimate Sandbag had two pouches inside which meant it could either weigh 20 lbs or 40 lbs but switching the pouches out between moves was cumbersome.
Lastly they seem to be fairly injury prone - the instability that makes them a novelty also makes them somewhat of a liability especially when doing moves like swinging it around your head. While I personally didn't suffer any injuries other than the broken nails (I broke a nail every.single.time.), all the Gym Buddies complained of back, shoulder or elbow pain. And I should point out that I watched all the training videos and we were very careful with our form.
My results: I neither gained nor lost any body fat this month and my inches all stayed the same, as I would expect. We didn't majorly change our routine but rather just swapped out one kind of lifting/circuit training for another.
Here's what the Gym Buddies had to say about the Sandbag Experiment:
"I just disliked it. I think the whole idea of lack of stabilty to work your core and body differently has too high a risk of injury...especially with over the head work. Our makeshift ones were really bad, but even the one that you got was just too hard on the joints and had a high potential of back injury....and obviously elbow too." ~ Krista
"I wasn't a big fan of the workouts. I don't know if we were too ambitious with the weight, but even when we tried to lift lighter, it still felt like someone was going to get hurt. What I did like? The bloopers and laughs we got out of it . I DID see some results this month, but I think it was more from our P90X workouts (Charlotte's note: we started throwing in some P90X weight-lifting workouts about halfway through the month but we used the sandbags for several moves in there), eating better and maybe the creatine, which I continued to take, although not as frequently as last month." ~ Megan (she lost 2 pounds and inches all over!)
"I really didn't like the sandbag workout, I felt like i was going to get hurt or I just wasn't doing it right to get a workout out of it. I don't think I improved or didn't improve this month." ~ Daria
"I have mixed feelings about it. I think in the beginning we were overestimating our strength so that caused some injuries as well as us doing the move wrong-But even when we lowered the weight, I felt like it took more time trying to get the move down (without injuring ourselves) and when you finally did, the time was up. It also didn't help that we made our own (which I don't recommend unless you have a bag that's identical to the ones on the market) But I think if we stuck with 'real' sandbags the workout would have gone a lot smoother." ~ Allison
Obviously this was not a Gym Buddy favorite. I think the sandbag can be a great fitness tool when used in conjunction with other equipment but I didn't like it much just on its own. I'd also recommend a live tutorial to get the basics down and your form right and form is everything with these!
How do you feel about yoga? It seems to me most people either love it or hate it. What's the exercise you love to do the most? Anyone else in need of a rest as badly as I am?