If you've ever looked into the idea of using sandbags as part of your workout, someone has surely mentioned bulgarian bags. These bags are among the most versatile equipment available today. The good news is that they are easy to master and can add quite a bit to just about any type of workout. Here are the important things you should know about Bulgarian bags, including how to go about se-lecting bags that are right for you.
What Is the Bulgarian Bag?
Sometimes referred to as farm bags, Bulgarian bags are sand-filled bags fashioned into a crescent shape. Unlike some sandbag designs, these bags are usually closed permanently. That means you cannot add or remove sand in order to adjust the weight. This basic design lends itself well to a number of options for upper and lower body workouts. They can also be worn while performing a number of simple exercises like push-ups or chin-ups. You can also use a bag while power walking or jogging.
What are Some of the Key Design Features?
Along with the bag’s shape, there are a few other features that make it functional for a number of exercises. The basic design includes two straps that are sewn to the exterior. These are adjustable and make it easier to secure the bag in position while wearing it around the shoulders.
There are also two handles included in the bag design. This makes it easy to use the bag for any type of exercises that involve swinging or spinning.
There is also a series of protrusions along the edge of the bad. These are relatively easy to grip, making it possible to use the bags for exercises designed to help strengthen the hands and wrists.
What Material is Used for the Bags?
Leather is often used as the material of choice for the bags. In particular, goat skin is considered the most practical choice for the leather. That’s because leather made using goat skin is finer, thick enough to hold up well, and the hide is generally considered tougher than other types of leather.
You will find bags that use a combination of leather and canvas. There are more bags appearing on the market that are made using heavy-duty canvas alone. While they do tend to be more affordable, the bags made with leather tend to last longer than the others.
What Sort of Exercise Can You Do With the Bag?
A Bulgarian bag workout can take on many different forms. The bag’s versatility makes it ideal for all sorts of exercises. You can include it in different types of workouts including:
- Strength training: the bags can be used with workouts focused on building muscle mass, endurance, and general body strength.
- Cardiovascular training: from low to high intensity aerobics, it’s possible to include the bags in workouts designed to strengthen the heart and promote more efficient function.
- Plyometric weight training: sometimes referred to as jump training, this type of workout focuses on short bursts of movements that challenge the muscles. This kind of rapid contraction workout can be augmented by wearing the bags around the shoulders or using them as weights for the arms or legs.
- General fitness exercises: The bags can be worn while performing any activity designed to strengthen the body. That includes biking, performing chin-ups or push-ups, or just about any other general fitness exercise you can imagine.
Most Bulgarian bags come with manuals that outline some of the most commonly used applications. With help from a fitness instructor, you can identify several other ways to include the bags in your workout.
Should I Consult a Trainer Before Using the Bags?
If you already work out regularly, you might do fine to watch a few videos and learn the basics of how to use the bag in different exercises. Someone who is just beginning to get back into the habit of working out would benefit from working with a trainer to learn how to use the bags responsibly.
The goal is twofold: you want to learn how to hold or wear the bag in order to achieve the maximum benefit. It’s also important to not develop habits that would increase the potential for an injury. A trainer can observe your form, make any minor changes necessary, and ensure that you start out with the right approach to usage.
Bulgarian Bag Vs Kettlebell: Which is Better?
There are some who wonder if a Bulgarian training bag is inherently better than a kettlebell. The question usually stems from the fact that the basic kettlebell design does include a handle and that it can also be used for exercises involving spinning and swinging.
One aspect to consider is whether or not the exercise calls for something that’s more rigid than flexible. Kettlebells are made of metal or at least products that do not bend or shift. Depending on what you have in mind, that may be a good thing. On the other hand, the bags would definitely be a better choice if you needed something that was padded and a little less rigid.
In fact, it’s not a matter of which one is better, but rather which one would work best for the type of exercise you are performing. Certainly, the straps and handles included on the basic Bulgarian bad design make it safer and easier to stabilize for certain functions.
A more practical question is whether it’s possible to use the two devices at the same time. The answer is yes. For example, it’s possible to secure the bag around the shoulders while swinging the kettlebell. The result will help you get more benefit from the general movement.
If you’re not sure how to incorporate the use of both into a workout, talk with a trainer. Depending on the goal that you are attempting to reach, a combination may be just what you need to move forward faster and more efficiently.
How Much Does a Bulgarian Bag Weigh?
The bags are offered in several different weight ranges. They generally weigh from 11 pounds (5.0 kg) to 50 pounds (23 kg). Choosing the right weight depends on a few basics, such as your current body weight, your size in general, and the type of exercise you have in mind. Your current level of fitness will also be a factor.
So what is the best sandbag for training? A lot depends on where you are right this minute. What will work for a person who already works out regularly may be too much too soon for someone who is trying to get back into the habit. General health, the type of exercise you have in mind, and how much you can manage without causing any physical damage will all play a role in choosing which bag to use in the beginning.
Consider someone who is just beginning to work out again after being relatively inactive for the last several years. Assuming the individual is around 160 pounds and in reasonably good shape, a bag that weighs around 26 pounds would be a good place to begin. If that’s a little too much, dropping back to a bag of around 17 pounds would be fine. As the individual begins to gain endurance and some muscle strength, moving on to a heavier bag for some exercises will produce better results.
What Happens When I’m Ready for a Heavier Bag?
The nice thing about these bags is that you will eventually find them too light for certain aspects of your workout. At that point, you will want to invest in bags that are heavier. Don’t think that’s the end of the bags you used previously. They may still be ideal for other forms of exercise.
The bags that you used to strap around your shoulders for jogging can still be secured to your legs and used to perform simple lifts. The bag can also be held when you do squats or sit-ups. This is especially helpful if you’ve not been adding any type of weight for more resistance while performing these exercises.
Even if you believe that you’ve exhausted all uses for those lighter bags, there’s always the option of selling them or passing them on to a friend. Since the bags are built to hold up well to a lot of use, someone else can definitely benefit from owning and using them regularly.
Are you ready for your first Bulgarian bag? Start out with one that’s a little lighter than you believe is needed. Learn how to use the lighter bag and become comfortable with including it in different forms of exercise. When and as you feel ready, move on to a heavier bag. In no time at all, the bag will be an essential part of the workout that you enjoy using whenever possible.