This Easy 3-Move Strongman Workout Delivers Huge Gains at Home

Probably the most accessible weapon in the home strongman’s arsenal, the sandbag may also be the most versatile. A heavy backpack will suffice in a pinch. Or, as we all have a bit more time for projects, you can make your own sandbag without too much fuss.

You need a sturdy duffle-shaped bag and, you guessed it, sand—which you can order online from most garden shops. You can even find children’s sandpit sand at larger supermarkets or online. Fill a few 20-pound plastic bags (those ‘bags for life’ will be perfect), then seal well with duct tape. This means you can scale the load up and down as you need to. Drop your desired weight into the duffle bag and then pinch some loose material and tie off tightly with cord or more tape. You want the filler bags to move around a bit to give you that true awkward object stimulus. Start at 40-50 percent of your bodyweight and aim to get to 75 percent (or more) as you get stronger.

For the below workout, designed by strong man Tom Kemp go for the the heaviest bag you can lift. You’re going to be moving your newly-made awkward object, as fast as possible, under fatigue. You’ll be working every minute on the minute and resting for the remainder. But you’ll add a rep to the first two exercises, followed by an extra carry, every minute, until you can no longer complete the reps in 60 seconds.

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1) Sandbag To Shoulder

1 rep (add a rep each minute until failure)

Hinge down to grip the bag with a straight back (A). Hug the bag to your chest and rest it on your thighs. Drive through your heels to move up and heave the bag onto your shoulder (B). Hold for a breath, then drop it and set up to repeat on the other side, alternating until you hit your target reps.

2) Sandbag Squat

1 rep (add a rep each minute until failure)

Stand up with the bag again, but this time hug it tightly to your chest (A). With a flat back and upright torso, squat down until your hip passes below your knee (B). Think about sending your hips back, then down, to stop yourself from tilting forward onto your toes. After your last rep, drop the bag, stand it up between your feet, and hug it to your chest. You’re ready for the carries – get straight to it.

3) Sandbag Bear Hug Carry

2 x 20m lengths (add 20m each minute until failure)

Keeping the bag firmly gripped to your chest (A), take short, powerful strides. Keep your head up and back straight (B). If you drop the bag, pick it up from where you left off and continue until you hit 40m. Rest for the remainder of the minute before adding a rep to each of the first two moves, and a length to the carry. And keep on trucking.

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David Morton is Deputy Editor at Men’s Health, where he has written, worked, edited and sweated for 12 years.

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