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Sandbag Leg Workout (4 Moves for Great Lower Body Strength)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: May 9, 2023

Sandbags are excellent functional fitness equipment for regular and hybrid exercises to develop your lower and upper body seamlessly.

Sandbags are also good for exercising your lower body, so I created an easy-to-follow and concise post on sandbag leg workouts.

After many hours of research and based on my personal experience as a personal trainer, I singled out the 4 best sandbag leg exercises.

After reading the article, you will be ready to implement these exercises into your daily workout regime and experience significant functional and muscle-building effects in your lower body.

Quick Summary

  • The best sandbag leg workout exercises include the sandbag bear hug squat, sandbag split squat jump, sandbag prisoner squat, and sandbag single-leg deadlift.
  • The only way to ensure progress and build muscle with sandbag leg workouts is to apply the principle of progressive overload.
  • Sandbag exercises are one of the most effective ways to build functional strength, improve your joints’ range of motion, and build an overall stronger body.

Sandbag Leg Workout Exercises

A person doing sandbag leg workouts

You can only strengthen the muscles through sandbag training to implement the principle of progressive overload.

Progressive overload means increasing the volume in sets, reps, and external resistance for each following workout session [1].

However, you must take great care while doing it to avoid overtraining syndrome and experiencing negative training effects [2].

Below you may find the best sandbag leg workout exercise to develop both the anterior and posterior chain.

"The Sandbag is a great functional training tool because it is an awkward unstable weight, which makes our core have to work harder to stabilize with many basic movements."
- Cori Lefkowith, Certified Personal Trainer

1. Sandbag Bear Hug Squat

A person doing a sandbag bear hug squat

Sandbag bear hug squat will activate the big muscles of your legs, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

However, hugging the sandbag will build isometric strength in your forearms and upper arm muscles.

How to Perform a Sandbag Bear Hug Squat:

  1. Assume a standing position (feet hip-width apart), and grab the sandbag in a bear hug position.
  2. Keep your torso upright during the whole movement and your core engaged to avoid unnecessary lower back injuries.
  3. Start the exercise by squatting down while maintaining good form in your back.
  4. Avoid picking heavy sandbags and performing higher reps if they make you compromise the correct exercise form.
  5. When your thighs parallel the floor, reverse the motion to return to the start.
  6. Repeat for 12 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 2 minutes between each set.

2. Sandbag Split Squat Jump

Sandbag split squat jumps are an excellent explosive exercise for developing both your legs' posterior and anterior chain muscles.

How to Perform a Sandbag Split Squat Jump:

  1. Assume a split stance position with your left foot forward, and maintain good form in your lower back.
  2. Your right foot is backward, and your right knee is slightly bent.
  3. Start the exercise by jumping and switching legs in the air to perform an alternating version of the sandbag split squat exercise.
  4. When your right foot is in the front position, enter the deep lunge position and repeat the process.
  5. Complete 12 alternating reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between each set.

3. Sandbag Prisoner Squat

A person doing a sandbag prisoner squat

The Sandbag prisoner squat is a variation of a regular sandbag squat and follows the same pattern and activates the same muscle groups.

How to Perform a Sandbag Prisoner Squat:

  1. Assume standing and keep the sandbag overhead or on your upper back as with the barbell back squat exercise.
  2. Start the exercise by squatting down towards the floor until your thighs parallel the floor.
  3. The left and right heel should be on the floor during the whole motion.
  4. When your thighs parallel the ground, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 12 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.

4. Sandbag Single-Leg Deadlift

Sandbag single-leg deadlift shouldn’t be performed with a heavy sandbag at first.

The aim is to develop proper technique before using heavier sandbags since this is the best way to avoid injuries.

How to Perform a Sandbag Single-Leg Deadlift:

  1. Assume standing on one foot and placing the other slightly behind while keeping it in the air.
  2. Keep your back flat and your front knee slightly bent during the exercise.
  3. Start the exercise by bending forward in the torso and driving your back leg up in the air.
  4. When the sandbag reaches just above the level of your knees, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 6 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 3 minutes between each set.


Are Sandbag Workouts Effective?

Yes, sandbag workouts are effective. Sandbag is one of the most functional pieces of equipment that enables you to complete different hybrid movements through the full range of motion and hit all major muscle groups.

Do Sandbags Build Muscle?

Yes, sandbags build muscle. However, sandbags aren’t the most efficient equipment for building muscles due to the inability to pick heavy sandbags safely and perform squats and deadlifts.

Are Sandbags Better Than Weights?

It depends if sandbags are better than weights. Sandbags are better for functional workouts, while regular weights are better for hypertrophy and strength training in general.

How to Get Bigger Leg Muscles With Sandbag Exercises?

You can get bigger leg muscles with sandbag exercises by incorporating the principle of progressive overload and taking high-quality joint supplements.

Joint supplements are an excellent way to make your joints healthier, protect them from unnecessary torsions and injuries, and ensure a greater range of motion during movement.

I suggest you read our guide on the 7 best joint supplements to pick a high-quality product that will suit your personal and fitness needs.

Let me know which sandbag workout exercise is your favorite and why.


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