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We Love Strength Training: Absolutely Adore Sandbags and Battle Ropes!

February has just flown by, hasn’t it!?! As the ‘Month of Love’ comes to an end, so does our ‘We Love Strength Training’ series. 😢 If you’ve missed any of the action, feel free to catch up with our Crazy in Love with Dumbbells and Kettlebells post, our Head Over Heels with Barbells and Resistance Bands post, and our Totally Captivated with Exercise Balls post! For the final part of the series we will introduce you to two incredibly exciting strength training implements: sandbags and battle ropes! Before we begin, it would only be proper of us as certified fitness professionals to remind you just how important strength training is to your fitness routine. Remember, it not only helps build muscle (yes, please!), but it also improves overall health - we cannot think of a better reason to incorporate it into your fitness routine! Who’s ready to lift? 💪


Sandbags


Man Performing Exercises with Sandbags

“Sandbags are a true functional fitness training tool. They’re heavy, awkward, and versatile… ideal for carrying, lifting, loading, dragging and full-body work” [1] - perfect for strength training! During our ‘We Love Strength Training’ series, we have discussed functional fitness and its benefits quite a bit - having the strength, balance, and coordination to complete activities that mimic everyday life. Sandbags are one of the ultimate tools for training functional fitness, as they are a uniquely unstable training tool – the sand is usually always moving. “With instability of the implement comes stability of the body.” [2] The versatility of sandbags is almost limitless, as you can train in all three planes of motion, use different hand positions, change the weight depending on goals, and complete any exercise as you would with any other implement.


Anyone else daydreaming about the beach right now, or is it just us!?! 🏖️ Anyway… another benefit to incorporating sandbags into your fitness routine is grip strength. “A solid grip is a huge help when playing sports or doing household chores — but it’s also been repeatedly tied to a longer, healthier life… because people with strong hands tend to be more physically active, which itself is associated with longevity.” [3] Grip strength helps us train better and let’s face it, complete our daily activities more efficiently and effectively, which leads to less injuries. Speaking of grip strength, did you know there are three different types? Unlike other training tools, “lifting and shifting a sandbag works all three types of grip strength (pinch, crush, and support)... you’ll need to pinch the sandbag as you lift it, and crush and support it as you hold and carry it.” [1]

Man Performing Exercises with Sandbags

A Final Note on Sandbags


We thought it would be interesting to note how sandbags are an extremely beneficial strength training implement for those working in the tactical population (i.e., military, police, firefighters). The instability and grip strength required to train with sandbags - carrying, lifting, loading, and dragging - mimic some of the everyday occurrences while on the job and are all critical movement patterns for the tactical population. If you, or anyone you know, works in the tactical population and would like to incorporate strength training with sandbags, feel free to reach out as we would be happy to share our expertise! 


Battle Ropes


Man Performing Exercises with Battle Ropes

We may have been crazy in love, head over heels, and totally captivated by the strength training implements we have discussed thus far, but we absolutely, positively adore battle ropes! Battle ropes are a phenomenal total body workout that allow you to train multiple muscle groups at the same time. Oh, and battle ropes are not just for the upper body, there are a multitude of ways to incorporate total body and lower body exercises when using battle ropes. Additionally, battle ropes are extremely versatile and can be used by athletes of all abilities. However, if you find battle ropes intimidating, you can increase or decrease the intensity and resistance to tailor your workouts according to your ability.


Just like functional fitness, we have discussed the importance of balance, coordination, and stabilization during our ‘We Love Strength Training’ series quite often. All are critical aspects to overall health and wellness, and we would be remiss not to mention different ways to target balance, coordination, and stabilization to keep your workout routine fun and exciting. Using battle ropes can help to decrease your body’s strength imbalances, critical for staying injury free. “The weight of the ropes and [the] power that it takes to move them forces your arms to work equally as a pair, so both sides of your body will be in tune and balanced.” [4] Control is key in battle rope exercises, as excess movement decreases your ability to target stabilization, coordination, and balance. “The nature of the rope's constant motion requires your body to stabilize itself, engaging your core and lower body muscles to maintain control.” [5] As you become more comfortable using battle ropes, you can easily progress to more complex movements increasing your balance, coordination, and stabilization – there is no limit to what you can accomplish!


Man Performing Exercises with Battle Ropes

One of the key differences between battle ropes and other forms of exercise is that battle ropes target both strength training and cardiovascular fitness at the same time, so you can build muscles and improve heart health at the same time! “As battle ropes involve full-body movements, it increases your heart rate and improves cardiovascular endurance…it helps in lowering blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart diseases, and improving overall heart function.” [5] From a strength perspective, using battle ropes targets all the major muscle groups of the upper body (arm, shoulders, chest, and back) as well as the core and lower body. You can target a specific muscle group or target multiple muscle groups – the possibilities are endless!


 

Well, there you have it! We have officially come to the end of our ‘We Love Strength Training’ series and what an epic series it was! Strength training is truly a powerful tool for anyone looking to improve their overall health and fitness. Just one last reminder: when it comes to strength training, it is crucial to proceed with caution and focus on proper technique - we cannot stress just how vital this aspect is! We highly recommend working with a certified personal trainer or coach to ensure you execute exercises correctly and progress safely. Oh hey, we just so happen to be certified fitness professionals! 😉 So, do not hesitate to add strength training to your fitness routine, as it just might be a fun and rewarding way to improve your overall health and wellness!


Happy Sunday and all our love! ❤️ Kelly and Alayna


References

[1] Gravity Fitness. (2021). 5 Big Benefits of Sandbag Training. Gravity Fitness. https://gravity.fitness/blogs/training/5-big-benefits-of-sandbag-training

[2] Coleman, S. (2023). 6 Distinctive Benefits of Sandbag Training. Set For Set. https://www.setforset.com/blogs/news/sandbag-training-benefits

[3] Chang, C. (2023). Why Your Grip Strength Matters and How to Improve It. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/19/well/move/grip-strength-muscles-health.html

[4] Hughes, L. (2024). 19 Battle Rope Benefits (2024). Origym. https://origympersonaltrainercourses.co.uk/blog/battle-ropes-benefits

[5] Robertson, M. (2023). 10 Uses and Benefits of Battle Ropes in Your Daily Workouts. DMoose. https://www.dmoose.com/blogs/workout-training/top-10-uses-and-benefits-of-battle-ropes-in-workout

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