Workout of the Day: Sandbag Stairway to Hell

Missing the gym because it’s closed? Or because we are social distancing, self-quarantined, or simply sheltering in place? Today may give you one small ray of hope that we can stay true to our commitment to stay healthy and exercise regularly, even at home. Many of our household items work super well in place of dumbbells, mats, or kettlebells.

Make Do With What You Have

Even the online program Centr (created by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth) gave some ideas for using household items for our workouts. They suggested laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, or bags of apples/potatoes, or bags of rice.  But truth be told, I am sticking with my system of homemade workout equipment. It’s ingenious, and has a better impact on the planet.

Today’s workout is especially dedicated to my CrossFit enthusiasts, Spartan racers, and those who really miss lifting weights in the gym. The sandbag is quite a versatile piece of equipment used in various forms of exercise. This equipment is also great for those who like to workout with weights but have no way to get to a gym right now.

Do it Yourself

To make the sandbag, you will need a few items. An old pair of jeans or khakis. 20-40 plastic baggies. 10-20 pounds of sand (I guess you could use rice or other material, but sand is probably cheaper, and you won’t be tempted to eat it when you run out of food). Duct tape. 2 shoe strings or other ribbon. Scissors. And a scale.

(Watch the video here)

  1. Cut off the pant legs and slide one leg into the other. Cut a couple of slits into the pants near one end, loop one of the strings through so it secures itself to the pants and then tie the string around the outside of the pants tight so it won’t come loose.
  2. Fill 10-20 plastic baggies with 1 pound of sand each. Duct tape them shut, then double bag them in a second plastic baggie. Seal and duct tape that bag as well.
  3. Fill the pants leg with your desired amount of sandbags.  Loop the second string through the other end of the pants leg and securely tie it around the outside as well.
  4. You’re ready to rock and roll.

Stairway to Hell

I came up with this workout originally for a really steep hill at the park we used to visit for our workouts. I called it Hill Hell, just because it was punny. But since we don’t have any appropriate hills where we are now, I switched it up to make it a workout for the stairs.

If you don’t have stairs in your home you can sub walking for stairs. Walk to and from your mailbox, around your block, around your yard, or whatever works best for you.

Ten Rounds (or less, it’s your workout after all)

  • 10 Thrusters at the bottom of the stairs
  • Climb the stairs with sandbag
  • 20 Plank Passes at the top of the stairs
  • Run down stairs with sandbag

Thrusters: Hold the sandbag with both hands at chest level. Squat with the sandbag at your chest, as you come back to standing, press the sandbag up over head in full extension.

Plank Passes:  Start in a plank position on your hands with the sandbag between your shoulders. Reach across your body with your right hand and pull the sandbag to your far right. Place your right hand on the ground and reach across your body with your left hand and pull the sandbag back to the far left.


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