Our Military Muscle columnist got this letter from a fan. Check out his reply:

Q. Do you mind designing a sandbag workout and a strength program for myself? I want to work on my explosion since the upcoming CFT season is soon upon us.  Thank you and have a good afternoon.

A. Gunny:

As a minimum the sandbag should be 20 pounds, and you can go up from there. Once you start the workout, you never put the bag down. You can do each exercise explosively.

Have a Bag

Warm-up: 10 minutes

1.  Heavy bag get-up (shown above): 10 minutes

Put the bag over your shoulder. From a standing position, go to the floor, lying on your back so that both shoulders touch the floor. Immediately return to the original standing position. Keep going up and down without rest for the full 10 minutes. At five minutes, switch the sandbag to the opposite shoulder. There are no set rules on how to get up and down, just that "up" is fully standing and "down" is on your back with both shoulders on the floor. The easiest way is always to use the side of the body without the bag to get up and down.

2. Step-ups to a 20-inch box: 40 reps (each leg)

Put the bag across the your shoulders just like a bar when you do squats.

3. Shoulder press: 20 reps; followed by a two-minute hold overhead

4. Situps with the bag on your chest: 40 reps.

It's OK to put your feet under a bench.

5. Run 100 meters with the bag

6. Heavy bag get-up: Five minutes (switch shoulders at 2:30)

7. Step-ups to a 20-inch box: 30 reps (each leg)

8. Shoulder press: 15 reps; followed by one-minute hold overhead

9. Situps with the bag on chest: 30 reps

10. Run 100 meters with the bag (must be faster than run No. 1)

11. Heavy bag Get Up x 2+30 minute (switch shoulders at 1+15)

12. Step-ups to a 20-inch box: 20 reps (each leg)

13. Shoulder press: 10 reps; followed by one-minute hold overhead

14. Situps with the bag on your chest: 20 reps

15. Run 100 meters with bag (must be faster than run No. 2)

16. Heavy bag get-up: 10 repetitions on each shoulder

17. Step-ups a 20-inch box: 10 reps (each leg)

18. Shoulder press: 5 reps; followed by 30-second hold overhead

19. Situps with the bag on your chest: 10 reps

20. Run 100 meters with the bag (must be faster than run No. 3)

Once you have done this, keep working on stamina. After six months, do this again, but after No. 20, take a five-minute rest and work your way back up starting with the run and finishing each round with the heavy bag get-up. See how far you can go. The overall goal is to be able to go down No. 1 to No. 20; rest five minutes; then go all the way back up from No. 20 to No. 1. Rest during the circuit should be minimal. Keep hydrated, and make sure you have eaten about 1.5 hours prior. Within 10 minutes of the workout, get an electrolyte drink down or 8 ounces of chocolate milk.

Tell me what you think after you have tried the workout.

Again, thanks so very much for reading my articles.

Bob Thomas


Retired Navy Cmdr. Bob Thomas has been our Military Muscle columnist since 2007. He's the director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. He's his base's lead trainer, a wounded warrior program facilitator and the Navy nutrition counselor there. His special emphasis is on fitness for the military retired population. Find his Military Muscle columns here.

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