Sandbag Training: Carries

Carries are our next sandbag training article in the series – a “bang for your buck” exercise which is incredibly simple and effective. The sandbag carry works a whole range of muscles in your body and takes very little time to learn. This exercise is common in strongman competitions and it’s a favourite for many martial artists in their conditioning programmes.

Sandbag carries are versatile and can be used in many situations. For example, they can be used as a finisher in a leg workout or as part of an outdoor workout in the summer. One of the world’s top strength and conditioning coaches, Dan John, has often spoken about the effectiveness of carries for muscle, strength and athleticism.

With consistent use of sandbag carries in your workouts, you’ll reap the rewards of increased work capacity, more muscle, and core strength. Anyone who’s looking to burn fat will find it a useful addition to their training regime.

Here are a Handful of Examples of Positions You Can Use for Sandbag Carries

If you’re new to carrying exercises, the bear hug sandbag carry is a good one to get you started.

How to Perform Sandbag Carries

  • Choose the carry type you want to do and and get the bag into position
  • Walk for distance or walk for time

Main Muscles Worked

Depending on which variation you choose, multiple upper body muscle groups will be used and grip strength will be challenged.


  • Vary the pace you walk
  • Try carrying two sandbags at the same time held in different positions
  • Sandbag carries up stairs makes this exercise far more challenging
  • Stuck for space for carries? The sandbag march is another option for you. Place the sandbag into a carrying position, stand on the spot and alternately raise your legs in a marching motion.

Is this the best sandbag exercise? Which sandbag exercise do find most satisfying? 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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