Sandbag lunges are a great alternative to using your traditional dumbbells or kettlebells to perform lunge exercises. Although training sandbags are not your typical workout accessory found at your local gym, they can be one of your best workout devices to use at home. Therefore, Let me share with you some of the best sandbag lunges you can perform in the convenience of your own home or backyard.
Before we continue, let me just say that the following sandbag lunge exercises are guaranteed to activate all the muscle fibers in your glutes. Thus, increasing muscle stimulation to maximize growth and make them bigger and stronger than ever before.
But that’s not all. With the added versatility of workout sandbags, you can incorporate additional moves into your lunge exercises. Thereby intensifying your workout and thus help burn extra calories at the same time.
Table of contents
- Our 10 Best Sandbag Lunges & How To Perform Them
- Pros & Cons of Using Workout Sandbags for Lunge Exercises
- The Best Way to Perform Sandbag Lunge Exercises to Grow Bigger Glutes
- Final Words
Why are we using sandbags to perform lunges?
There are two great reasons for using sandbags to do lunge exercise. Our first is a bit off-topic but still worth noting. While the other is more directly related to using sandbags to perform lunge exercises.
Firstly, with the recent pandemic, it has become virtually impossible to buy weights to workout from home. Now that most gyms have closed and could close again, everyone is eager to set up their own home gym. Demand is high for exercise equipment, and as a result, supplies are low.
In most cases, businesses are out of stock and can’t get restocked due to manufacturing companies being shut down. And with most of them located in China, it could take even longer before inventory in the U.S is back to normal again.
With that said, you could wait it out if you don’t have weights or buy yourself some extremely overpriced kettlebells or dumbbells.
Or… you could get yourself a readily available made-in-the-USA workout sandbag.
That said, I have found a few homegrown companies, with Brute Force being my favorite. They have a seemingly endless selection of quality workout sandbags in all sizes, colors, and designs. So if you don’t already have your own, I’d highly recommend checking them out.
Convenience & Functionality
Secondly, besides being readily available, sandbags have many benefits other traditional weights do not. For example, sandbags are much more convenient to use and store at home or take on the go. They are soft and easy on floors. Plus, they are not as loud when dropped and are much safer around kids than hard weights.
But most importantly, they are very functional workout devices that are very effective for both resistance training and cardio exercise. And due to the uneven weight distribution, they can also be more challenging and help stimulate stabilizer muscles as well.
Brute Force Sandbags
With that said, you can see why sandbag lunges can be a great way to build bigger and stronger glutes while at the same time will burn off some extra calories to trim your waistline.
Without further ado, let’s finally get started with our top 10 sandbag exercises and how each is performed for the best results.
Our 10 Best Sandbag Lunges & How To Perform Them
So it’s finally time to get down to business. If you have a workout sandbag, and you’ve never performed these exercises before, I would suggest starting with a lighter weight. In this way, you can learn the proper form and get the feel of doing each exercise first.
Proper form will always benefit you more in the long run and prevent injuries. Going with a lighter weight but doing more reps in one set can be more intense and productive than performing super heavy low reps.
Even though images are a great way to illustrate how an exercise is performed, videos can be much better. As they show you all the motions and proper form from start to finish. For this reason, I have decided to provide you with some video demonstrations you can watch. And then follow up with a brief explanation for each sandbag lunge exercise and some key points as needed.
1. Sandbag Alternate Side Lunge
Side lunges are ideal for targeting the outer sweeps of your glutes and giving them that round and full look from the front and behind. This exercise can be done with the sandbag positioned in front, in back, or on one shoulder. For this exercise, we will perform it with the sandbag on your back.
- Starting position: hold the sandbag on your back with the outside handles or front parallel handles.; feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
- Push out laterally to one side with one leg and land your foot about 2x shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your balance, squat as low as you can.
- Push back up with that leg to the start position.
Start off slow and concentrate on feeling your glute muscle stretch at the bottom of this movement. Try to forcefully push yourself back up. This will help activate more fast-twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for muscle growth.
2. Sandbag Forward Lunge
This sandbag forward lunge uses the sandbag positioned in front but can also be used on the back or shoulders. This is the most commonly performed lunge exercise and is very effective at building bigger glutes overall.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in front; feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- Step out to the front, about two shoulder widths apart.
- Drop your hips by bending your knee to about a 90-degree angle.
- Forcefully push yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite side.
Feeling the stretch in your glutes at the bottom of this movement is very important. If you are not feeling it, then you may need to increase your stride distance. Also, to keep your knees healthy and pain-free, make sure that your knee does not move beyond your toes in the bottom lunge position.
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3. Sandbag Reverse Lunge
This lunge variation uses alternating reverse steps to target your glutes. This exercise is usually performed with one bag in front or in back. But as you’ll see in the following video demonstration, it can also be done with two bags (one on each shoulder).
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag(s); feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- While putting all the weight on one leg, step backward about two shoulder widths with one leg.
- At the same time lowering yourself to where your knee is at about a 90-degree angle.
- Reverse back to a standing position and repeat with the opposite side.
Always concentrate on your glutes doing the work as you push yourself back up into the standing position. The forward leg should take on most of the weight, while the opposite leg is only used to support and stabilize yourself. Also, make sure that the back knee does not touch the floor. It should only be about 1-2 inches above before you push yourself back up.
4. Sandbag Jumping Lunge Back
The jumping lunge uses more explosive moves, which can be quite intense for beginners. I would not suggest doing this exercise until you’ve become more familiar and comfortable with the dynamics of various other lunge exercises. And for the first time, definitely start with a lighter weight or just your bodyweight until you get a better feel for it.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in the back; I recommend starting in the lunge position.
- With an explosive jumping action, quickly reverse your leg positions and come back down into the lunge position with the opposite leg forward, and repeat.
Start off slow. Keep the sandbag centered. This will help maintain your balance when jumping and landing into the lunge position. The explosiveness of jumping will add extra intensity and help activate more fast-twitch fibers in your glute muscles. With this exercise, maintaining perfect form and keeping your balance is more important than just using heavier weight.
5. Rotational Sandbag Lunges
This lunge variation not only requires more glute stabilizer muscles due to shifting the sandbag from side to side but also engages more upper body and core muscles. As a result, you will be working out your glutes and strengthening and toning your upper body and your abs and back.
With the extra muscle engagement, you will be building muscle, but with the added cardio will also be burning off body fat at the same time.
- Starting position: hold your sandbag in a neutral grip in front; feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- As you start moving into your reverse lunge, simultaneously swing your bag to the opposite side of the leg that is stationary.
- Return back to the standing position as you simultaneously swing your sandbag back to the front, and repeat with the other side.
Make sure to swing the bag over to the side you are performing the lunge on (the bent knee side); this adds the weight to that side for extra resistance. Also, try experimenting with wider strides as you get used to the exercise. This will give you a better stretch in your glutes and activate more muscle fibers.
6. Walking Sandbag Lunges
Walking lunges have always been my favorite of all. If you have space, this is a must-do for everyone. The non-stop and continuous strides of the walking lunge will give you a pump like no other.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in front, back, or shoulders; feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- Lunge forward about 2 shoulder widths apart and come down with your knee stopping at about a 90-degree angle or less.
- Forcefully push yourself back up on that leg to the start position and immediately continue with the opposite leg and repeat.
For added intensity, try not to pause when coming back up to the standing position. Instead, make it a continuous walk. Keep your back in a neutral position and your torso leaning only very slightly forward. Never let your knee exceed your toes.
7. Reverse Sandbag Lunge Press
This is another stationary reverse lunge but with the extra pressing movement to add intensity and upper body strength. Again, this is another example of combining both strength training and cardio into one exercise.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in front or back; feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
- While putting all the weight on one leg, step backward about two shoulder widths with one leg.
- While lowering yourself to where your knee is at about a 90-degree angle, simultaneously raise your sandbag above your head.
- Reverse back to a standing position while lowering the bag again, and repeat with the opposite side.
The trick here is to raise the sandbag above your head when going down into the lunge position. But simultaneously lowering it back down as you push yourself back up to the start position.
This lunge variation activates more stabilizer muscles, improves balance, and works your shoulder muscles, core, and glutes at the same time.
8. Sandbag Drop Lunges
This lunge variation is one of our most intense exercises and basically combines lunges with squats. This exercise is definitely a powerhouse exercise for building powerful glutes while at the same time providing you with an intense cardio workout.
If you had to replace all lunge exercises with just one, this would be the exercise. It truly hits your glutes hard. And the intensity is unmatched by any other sandbag lunges in this article.
- Starting position: feet shoulder-width apart; sandbag place on the floor directly in front of you.
- Squat and grip the bag with both hands; simultaneously raise yourself back up to a standing position while swinging the bag on top of your shoulder.
- With the bag on your shoulder, follow with a full squat down and back up again.
- Immediately follow that with a reverse lunge and back up again.
- Then drop the sandbag back to the floor in front of you and repeat.
You are obviously hitting your glutes pretty good with both lunges and squats but, you could also make lifting the sandbag more of a deadlift exercise. This can be accomplished by only slightly bending the knees and hinging the hips back when picking up the bag. Now you’ve got yourself the ultimate glute building sandbag exercise!
9. Sandbag Stationary Lateral Lunge
The sandbag stationary lateral lunge is a great way to target your glutes and your inner thighs simultaneously. This lunge exercise can be performed alternating sides or one side at a time. It is a valued alternative to your typical front and back lunges. But it also has the added benefit of being easier on your knee joints.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in front, back, or shoulder; feet slightly shoulder-width apart.
- Take a wide step out to the side. While lowering your foot to the ground, drop your hips back until your knee is at least at a 90-degree angle.
- Push back to the standing-upright position and do the same for the opposite leg.
This exercise can be done with the sandbag in front or on your back. Keep your back neutral and do not hunch. Go wide and deep with this lunge exercise to feel the stretch to maximize glute stimulation.
10. Crossover Lunges with Sandbag
Crossover Lunges are very similar to reverse lunges but with a modified foot position that creates an additional stretch in your glutes. And we all know what that means: the more you can stretch a muscle during an exercise, the more muscle fibers you will engage.
- Starting position: securely hold your sandbag in front or back; feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- While putting all your weight on your right leg, step backward about two shoulder widths with your left leg while bending your right knee to about a 90-degree angle and crossing your left foot behind your right leg.
- Reverse back to a standing position and repeat with the opposite side.
Keeping your balance for this exercise can be very tricky for beginners. A good technique to make this a little easier is to concentrate on putting all your weight on the active leg (the one you are bending at the knee). And only use the other foot as a temporary support.
Pros & Cons of Using Workout Sandbags for Lunge Exercises
Sandbag lunges from an exercise perspective can have additional benefits over using weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells. However, they do have their drawbacks too. After comparing both the exercise benefits of the sandbag to your traditional weights, we found the following.
- More challenging due to shifting sand
- Easy to combine cardio movements with your lunges
- Offers greater flexibility and range of motion
- Engages more stabilizers
- Help improve balance
- Sand is softer and easier on the body and joints
- Easy to combine lunges with functional training
- Work your glutes and other muscles simultaneously
- Many handle positions to change up each exercise and add more variations
- Not easily weight adjustable
- Takes time getting used to initially
So, obviously, one of the more significant drawbacks is the time it takes to adjust the weights with a workout sandbag. If your bag has multiple filler bags, you will need to unzip and remove or add fillers to adjust the weight. But if you happen to own one that only has one sand filler bag, that is a problem.
Or is it?
Let me share with you an easy way to overcome this dilemma by explaining the principle of progressive overload and how we can use it to fix this problem.
The Best Way to Perform Sandbag Lunge Exercises to Grow Bigger Glutes
Progress overload is a way to stimulate muscles to grow by increasing the intensity of any workout over time. This is achieved by gradually increasing the amount of weight used for each workout over time. However, adding weight is not the only way to increase the intensity.
For example, another way to progressively overload a muscle over time is by increasing the number of repetitions in a set or adding more sets. That said, here is a simple solution.
You don’t need to increase the weight every workout, or even every month for that matter. You can wait for about 3 months and then increase the weight. Here is what I suggest:
- Each week increase the number of reps you perform for your sandbag lunge exercises.
- After about 6 weeks, add an extra set to each exercise.
- Then, after about 3 months, add about 5 lbs to your workout sandbag.
- Repeat every 3 months.
Of course, I would also suggest purchasing a workout sandbag that is heavier than your current maximum, so you have room to grow. As mentioned earlier, Brute Force has a great selection of quality workout sandbags, for both men and women, with an extensive selection of really cool-looking designs and colors.
On another note, some of you may also be asking how many reps per set you should do for maximum growth and best results. My quick answer to that – don’t count reps and just keep within one repetition before failure for each set. Then, for your final set, go all out and do as many reps as you possibly can.
That said, I typically do 5-6 sets for each exercise. If you are a beginner, start with 3-4 sets and work your way up.
Sandbag lunges really are a lot of fun and are very effective for working out your glutes. You can use them at home or on the go. Unlike heavy dumbbells or kettlebells, you can easily throw your bag in the car and head over to your local park or track.
There is no better feeling than doing an agonizing 20-30 lunges without stopping, or at least until your glutes and legs are screaming and the pain is unbearable. That is what we live for. This is what makes your glutes grow!
That is what will separate you from the rest.
I would like to give my thanks to all the Youtube members whose videos I have included in this article. Furthermore, I would also like to give each of you credit for the hard work you do and the helpful sandbag lunge demonstration you have provided my visitors.
With over 30 years of experience in strength training and fitness, Mark LaRue is the founder of Fitness Mastered, a blog to help educate fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels, ages, and gender. We write topics that range from weight training tips and exercise routines to home workout machine and fitness related product reviews, to name a few.