If you have been following our Obstacle Course Training posts over the past weeks, then welcome to obstacle number 20, the Sandbag Carry. As part of the Spartan Military Sprint 2013, Spartans were challenged to carry a sandbag weighing 25lbs for women and 50lbs for men, up (and I mean straight up) a very steep, rocky, and technical hill. Of course, the descend was just as challenging. In my opinion, the key to this climb was to just hunker down and get it done. Those who stopped along the way were not quick to get back to it, as the steep hillside made it hard to pick up the momentum again. This obstacle also marked mile number 3 of the nearly 5 mile course, so for many at this point it was a battle of endurance as well. The endurance level of the Summit Fit Dojo Spartans was running strong at this point. We are used to training with sandbags, and incorporate them into our workouts on a regular basis. On any given day, we may run two to four miles, carrying a sandbag that weighs anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds. Our coaches also like to put a twist on some basic forms such as squats, lunges with an overhead press, and burpees by adding a sandbag to the mix. Sandbags are a challenging yet effective way to add strength training to any workout. Why? Because the weight of a sandbag can shift on you at any time, so you must keep all of your muscles engaged to ensure that you use proper form, and do not face a possible injury. Unlike a conventional weight which is designed to lift easily, a sandbag requires more stability to lift, press, or carry. Therefore your body is working harder, causing increased results in your strength and endurance levels. At Summit Fit Dojo we train in functional movement. If a sandbag doesn't apply to this area, I don't know what does. No, you may not always find yourself carrying a bag of sand up a hill, or even squatting with a sand bag, but you will find yourself carrying loads throughout the day that are unstable. Most of the objects that we carry throughout the day are not perfectly shaped nor are they ergonomically correct. A bag of groceries, a large box, a toddler....they are all weighted and shaped differently, and our body has to adjust to the load. Sandbag training can help with this. Sandbag training is also a great way to increase your grip strength. There is not generally a lot of emphasis placed on grip strength training, but it is important and should not be overlooked. I recently worked with a client who was an avid rock climber that wanted to increase their upper body and grip strength. What do you think was one of the first things we did....a sand bag workout! If you are looking to start a new workout routine, increase your strength, agility, and cardiovascular endurance, or train to participate in an obstacle course race...check out Summit Fit Dojo!