Ultimate Sandbag Conditioning Circuits for Grapplers

Ultimate Sandbag Conditioning Circuits for Grapplers

Written by Matt D’Aquino. He is a 2008 Beijing Judo Olympian as well as nationally ranked freestyle wrestler and National Champion in Brazilian Jujitsu. Matt has a passion for teaching all aspects of grappling especially the fitness and conditioning aspect. Matt has released a great new video series Sandbag Training for Grapplers where he shows you how to make a sandbag, great sandbag training methods and much more.

Have you ever trained with someone who is killer strong but get them in the gym and they cannot squat, deadlift or bench press any sort of decent weight? Or have you ever fought someone who is as strong as an ox in the gym but as weak as a kitten in the cage? As fighters it is important that the exercises and routines you are doing in the gym carry over into your fight game – anything less and you are wasting your time. This sort of strength is commonly referred to as ‘functional strength.’

Functional strength simply means being strong in a useful way. For example a guy who can bench press 400 pounds is functionally strong for powerlifting but not so useful attacking with the sort of techniques needed in Judo, BJJ or MMA. These sports require you to be strong at a variety of movements including kicking, punching, grappling, moving and sprawling to defend a double leg takedown attempt.

One of the best ways people try to develop functional strength is to implement a variety of functional training tools such as kettlebells or Indian clubs. Although these tools are good many people cannot get access to them or they do not have the funds to purchase a few in varying weights. This is why sandbags are so handy. Weight can be easily added to make your training harder or easier and they be made at home for as little as 30USD. All you need is:

· 1 heavy-duty duffle bag
· 20-30kgs of sand
· 20-30 small zip-lock bags
· 3 heavy-duty garbage bags

Simply place the sand filled zip lock bags into the heavy duty garbage bags and then place these garbage bags into your duffel bag. Be sure to cut off the bags straps and you are ready to go.

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Sandbags are great because they take up little space, are cheap and a simply great fun to use. When you start using a sandbag you will soon begin to notice that the weight is constantly shifting – just like your opponent who is constantly on the move. I always use the example of the fact that many believe that a bench press is the best exercise you need to escape side control, although when you bench press your opponent they simply switch their hips and continue to pin you to the mat. This is because a barbell is a dead weight while the sandbag is constantly moving. This makes it a great way to train to adjust to a moving opponent. Other benefits to sandbag training include an increase in:

· Grip strength
· Explosive power
· Core stability and strength
· Cardiovascular fitness
· Anabolic threshold

I usually include sandbag lifts as part of my athlete’s conditioning programs using the lifts such as power cleans, bench presses, Turkish get ups, overhead presses, running and sandbag slams.

A beginner’s workout may include:

Sandbag run 1 minute
Clean and press 20 reps
Squat 20 reps
Sprawl and clean 20
Repeat 2 rounds

An intermediate workout includes:

Alternate slams 30
Clean and press 30
Run 30seconds
Turkish get ups 50
Repeat 2 rounds

An advanced workout may consist of:

Wrestler walks 50 reps
Sprawl and clean 50 reps
Turkish get ups 20
Alternate slams 50
Wrestler walks 25 reps
Sprawl and clean 25
Turkish get ups 10
Record your best time

Alternate exercise you may include:

Burpees, box jumps, skipping, heavy bag, pad work, kipping chin-ups or takedowns.

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