-Greg Everett on Sandbag cleans-
“The more time I spend working with sandbags—and the more time I make my clients spend with them—the more I appreciate them as training tools (the sandbags, not my clients). The difference in the feeling of a sandbag of a given weight and a barbell of the same weight is remarkable and surprises me each time I attempt to move a bag weighing far less than any barbell that would give me trouble. The reasons behind this phenomenon are those primarily responsible for sandbags’ extraordinary effectiveness as strength and conditioning tools. Spreading the mass out over more area that constantly shifts shape and destabilizes and reducing or eliminating convenient gripping locations very quickly creates an incredibly cumbersome chunk of gear that forces the athlete to exert much greater effort to control the intended movements. Add to this the inexpensiveness and ease of construction of homemade sandbags and you have a training implement that’s hard to beat.
Because Ross Enamait has already done a great job writing a sandbag construction kit, I won’t go into detail here on building the bags themselves. What I will add to his advice is this: In order to allow larger bag sizes without necessarily increasing the weight they hold, stuff any space not taken up by the inside sand packets with old clothing or rags. This will let you determine the size of the bag and how rigid or soft it is independent of how much weight in sand is inside. Generally I like to keep the bags fairly loose to make sure the weight can shift enough to make stabilization difficult, but there is a point of diminishing returns—if the bag is too empty, it will just fold where it’s gripped and be impossible to use for most exercises. This stuffing can also be added and removed—or traded with more or less sand packets—quickly and easily to accommodate different athletes’ strength levels or for different exercises. Finally, this adds a little padding that will reduce the likelihood of the sand packets tearing open.
The selection of exercises possible with sandbags of various sizes and shapes is essentially limitless and contained only by the margins of creativity. In this article, however, we’ll only be covering a few clean variations. Most of the cleans described can be modified in the traditional ways such as starting from hang positions or receiving in the power or squat depths. They can also be scaled down by reducing the range of motion by starting the bag on a box or block instead of the floor.”
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