Sandbag Training: Bent Over Row

Our next sandbag training article in the series is for anyone who’s got a decent bit of experience of lifting weights under their belt. If you do you’ll know that the barbell bent over row is one of the best upper back building exercises you can do. Done with a sandbag, it feels every bit as good and it’s not difficult to learn.

One of the great benefits of using sandbags for the bent over the row is that it doesn’t place heavy stress on the lower back like the barbell variation does. Higher reps feel fantastic on this exercise. Your back muscles will be nicely challenged (they will start to burn!) and your biceps and forearms will get a thorough workout too.

In addition, if you’re using a strongman sandbag, your grip will face the extra demands of having to keep hold.

How to Perform

  • Standing with the sandbag, bend at the hips and stick the glutes out until your upper body is just above parallel to the floor
  • The sandbag should be in front of your shins
  • Pull the sandbag towards your lower chest, keeping the elbows tucked close to your body
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top
  • Lower the bag until your arms are extended

Main Muscles Worked Using the Sandbag

  • Lats, rhomboids, and traps
  • Rear deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Forearms
  • Fingers
  • Wrists

In addition to the muscles listed above, it’s likely you’ll also feel your hamstrings and glutes working to stabilize your body.


  • Try to avoid arching or rounding the lower back
  • Keep the knees slightly bent
  • Use different grips on the bag to stimulate different areas of your back

Do you include sandbags in your training? Which is your favorite sandbag exercise? Let us know in the comments below, and on Facebook, and Twitter

Alan Riseborough

Alan is a strength and physique enthusiast and has 28 years' of training experience behind him. He has competed in powerlifting, arm wrestling, bodybuilding and grip strength competitions. He also includes rigorous bodyweight, sprinting and kettlebell training regularly in his routines. He believes in the transformative power of the squat which is (believe it or not) his favourite exercise!

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