The Best Exercise You're Not Doing: The Sandbag Get-Up

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing: The Sandbag Get-Up

Want to build total-body strength? It’s hard to beat the Turkish get-up. Throw in a sandbag for the extra 10 per cent.

The classic Turkish get-up is an exacting task that demands skill and a little bit of finesse. And that’s fine – in fact, that’s the point. Honing the required precision, rep by rep, is the key to reaping its full benefits.

Sometimes, however, you don’t need precision – sometimes, you want a tussle, not a dance. That’s where the sandbag get-up comes into its own. Trading a dumbbell or kettlebell for a shape-shifting object, the move channels many – if not all – of the benefits of its Turkish cousin through a brutish, awkward wrestle. 

Importantly, there’s no skill to master here, no finesse, no right or wrong form; all you have to do is simply transition from lying belly-up on the floor to a standing position, with your sandbag in tow.

If you’re looking to build raw strength, balance, proprioception and the type of rugged, full-body coordination that lends itself to everything from repping out chin-ups to chopping down trees, this is a key movement that needs to be in your arsenal. 

1. Laid out

Begin on the floor, lying flat on your back, your bag to one side. Turn and grab the bag with both arms, pulling it to your chest, abs or shoulders. (Find the position that works best for you.) Roll back into a lying position, with the bag held tight.

2. Sit up

Dig your heels into the ground but keep your legs straight, creating a counterbalance as you contract your abs and sit up. Depending on the weight of your bag, you might need to hold it lower or closer to your hips to stop it from pinning you. We did warn you this would be a wrestle.

3. Move on

Bring your left heel towards your body, your right knee towards your left heel and your right heel towards your glutes, ensuring your thighs and calves are flat to the ground. From this position, shift your weight forwards and lift your hips. Finish in a tall kneeling posture.

4. Stand tall

Lift your right knee and step your foot forwards. From this lunge position, lean forwards. Push through the floor, lifting your back foot in line with your right and standing. Roll the bag on to your shoulder to finish the rep, then reverse the move all the way down.

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