Gone are the days when strength training programs focused on one major muscle group at a time. Savvy trainers now know that breakthroughs happen when we challenge the muscles to work together, synergistically. In other words, we target the body as a whole. These eight SandBell exercises make up an extraordinary HIIT, but unlike most high intensity interval training workouts out there, don’t heavily impact the joints!
A SandBell is a neoprene bag, filled with sand. It is the world’s most versatile piece of fitness equipment. It can be swung, glided, slammed, tossed, curled, flipped, punched, sat on, stuffed in a backpack or hugged to your body! Created by Hyperwear, SandBells are safe and virtually indestructible. There is no handle, so the fluctuating sand inside the bell constantly challenges grip strength. Although they can be used as a set, many exercises require only one SandBell. This SandBell workout is a strict physical challenge that will tone and tighten the body while being kind to the joints. The workout is comprised of four pairs of two exercises and follows an A, B, C, D progression, morphing eight exercises into a total body extreme torcher!
1. Rainbow slams (pair A)
(Pair this exercise with Staggered Push-Ups. Perform 3 Rainbow Slams, then 1 Staggered Push-Up. Repeat for 1 minute then proceed to Pair B)
- Spread the legs wide enough that when you lunge to one side, your front knee is directly over your ankle.
- Slam the SandBell down to that side, while lunging deeply.
- Reach down to pick up the Bell with a double claw grip. Lift it overhead.
- Pivot on the balls of the feet to face the other side, following a “rainbow” arc, then slam it down on that side.
- During this exercise, avoid transferring the load to the lower back. Use your hip flexors, legs and glutes to retrieve the SandBell from the ground. Lift your heels as you pivot to avoid twisting an ankle. Keep your legs spread wide enough apart so that during the lunge the knee does not tower beyond the toes.
2. Staggered push-up (pair A)
- Begin in high plank position. Create static tension throughout the body by clenching your glutes and bracing your abs as if preparing for a punch to the gut.
- Place one hand on a SandBell and the other on the floor. Position the arms wider than shoulder width at about nipple line for height.
- Flex at the elbows until the nose touches the floor. Switch the SandBell to the other hand and repeat.
- During the Staggered Push-Ups, keep your head in line with the rest of your spine. Don’t let it drop. Align your joints to where the earlobe is in line with the side of the shoulder, side of the hip, side of the knee, and middle of the ankle. Drop to your knees if you cannot maintain joint alignment on your toes.
3. Halos (pair B)
Shoulder Mobility, Back Strength and Core Power (Pair this exercise with the Half Slams. Perform Halo Right shoulder, Half Slam, Halo Left shoulder, Half slam. Repeat for 1 minute then proceed to pair C)
- Hold the SandBell with a double claw grip.
- While keeping the rest of the body completely still in standing position, only move through your shoulder joints to circle the SandBell around your right shoulder, behind your neck, left shoulder, back to center, then reverse! Keep your elbows in.
- During the Halos, avoid protruding your abdomen forward when the SandBell travels behind your neck.
4. Half slams (pair B)
- Hold the SandBell with a double claw grip. Bring it to your chest with your elbows flexed, as in a bicep curl.
- Next, powerfully extend your elbows and flex through your abdominals as you throw the SandBell down to the ground. Quickly pick the SandBell up off of the floor and repeat.
- During the Half Slams, avoid transferring the load to the lower back. Use your legs and glutes to retrieve the SandBell from the ground. Try to limit the transition phase, where you’re waiting in-between reps. As soon as the SandBell hits the ground, be ready to retrieve it!
5. Sandbell slam (pair C)
Core Power, Shoulder Strength, Quad Strength and Hip Mobility (Pair this exercise with the Tucks. Perform Slam, Tuck. Repeat for 1 minute then proceed to pair D)
- Hold the SandBell with a double claw grip. Reach the Bell overhead, extending the body as long as possible.
- Powerfully slam it down to the ground, flexing through knees, hips, and ankles. Quickly pick the SandBell up off the floor and repeat.
- During the Slams, avoid transferring the load to the lower back. Use your legs and glutes to retrieve it from the ground. Be aware of your environment: Remove or secure loosely hung wall décor. If you are on the second floor of a building, Slams will sound like a cannon firing to people beneath you — not neighborly.
6. Tucks (pair C)
- Begin in plank position. Dig your toes into the sand in the center of the SandBell.
- Glide the Bell towards the body, taking the knees towards the forehead. After tucking in as tightly as you can, push the legs back out, away from the body, returning to plank.
- SandBells Tucks are wildly challenging and effective for chiseling those shoulders and gams!
- Perform these exercises on a slick surface, such as the garage or kitchen floor. The SandBell needs to be able to glide; carpeted flooring will not work. Keep the knees lifted up, reaching towards your forehead during the tuck.
7. Russian twists (pair D)
Core Power, Shoulder Strength, Quad Strength and Hip Mobility (Pair this exercise with the Elbow Strike to Low Rows. Perform 4 Russian Twists, flip over, 4 Elbow Strike to Low Rows, flip over. Repeat for 1 minute.)
- Stack your hands, one above the other, with palms double clawing in to the SandBell. From seated, supine position, lean slightly back where you feel your abdominals turn “on.”
- Squeeze your knees together and lift your feet off of the floor. Twist your torso to one side as you allow the SandBell to flop into the triangle between your bicep and forearm.
- At the same time, the knees should twist in the other direction, like windshield wipers. Switch!
- During the Russian Twists, keep conscious of maintaining neutral spine. Exhale as you rotate, and drop the feet to the floor if the core challenge is too strenuous with feet lifted.
8. Elbow strike to low rows (pair D)
- Turn over to prone, high plank position.
- Place the SandBell on the floor, beneath the center of your chest. Lift one arm to remove one balance point and drive that elbow into the center of the SandBell.
- Next, grab the SandBell with a claw grip in that hand and pull the Bell in to touch the bottom of your ribcage. Put the SandBell back on the floor, beneath your chest. Repeat on the other side.
- During the Elbow Strikes to Low Rows keep stable through the other shoulder when you elbow strike from plank. If the core challenge is too strenuous to maintain stability, drop to your knees. Pull the elbow straight past your torso as you row the SandBell to your ribcage. Your elbow should travel straight up like the slot in a toaster.