I remember when I used to travel I would pack tons of equipment to try and get a good CrossFit workout while travelling. I have tried hanging rings in trees by the beach, skipping in the pouring rain in Costa Rica, having said skipping rope seized by customs. Out of all the stuff I would bring, I often wouldn’t really find a good place to use it, or a reason not to. Besides I’m usually outside on vacation I might as well enjoy the outdoors. 

If its a vacation, enjoy the vacation. If you really must workout on your travels there is a great low-tech, simple solution. This is where sandbags come in. Firstly, you can use the actual sandbag to carry some of your luggage. Nothing like a little loaded carry through the airport. The smaller ones with the handles would definitely be easier, but you could always bear hug it and go for a walk. 

Sandbags have great utility and return on investment. Because they are always shipped empty they are very inexpensive. There are two major types of sandbags. There is a duffel style, these are usually the heavier bags with no handles. StrongFit.com makes the best ones I have used.These can be used for loading, shouldering, holds, squats, and lunges. There is also the battle bag style which are usually smaller and have several handles on the bags. These can be used for swings, loaded bodyweight exercises. I have only every used the brute bags and the rogue ones. Both worked very well, but I would recommend getting a liner to prevent the sand from leaking form the zipper. 

The best part of sandbags is that you can fill them up for free virtually anywhere. Find a beach or playground and load up a little sand, find a bunch of small rocks, or whatever you happen to want to carry. If you happen to take the sand from a playground, at least have some integrity to return it after your workout. 

Depending on the weight and style of the sandbag you can adapt it to almost any workout. So load up your favourite workout, come up with something new, or just pick it up and go for a walk. Loaded carries are a great low impact activity that can get you out enjoying the outdoors while doing some active recovery. 

Some movement ideas

  • - belly hold
  • - ground to shoulder
  • - weighted lunges
  • - front squats
  • - back squats
  • - sandbag swings
  • - sandbag clean and press
  • - Zercher carry
  • - sandbag deadlifts
  • - Turkish Getups
  • - thrusters
  • - overhead slams
  • - weighted situp
  • - overhead carry

This is just a quick list of the movements I came up with off the top of my head. You can look at almost any workout and make it a little bit harder by replacing the barbell with a sandbag, or adding the weight of a sandbag to the bodyweight movements. 

If anyone comes up with some good ideas feel free to send them my way. 

Yours in health, 
   Coach Everett

Crossfit Bytown