How to Make Your Own Sandbag

Skip the store-bought version

Homemade sandbag. Laura Williams

Sandbag training continues to grow in popularity as trainers and gyms take a "back to basics" fitness mentality. The beauty of sandbags is that: 1) sand is heavy, and 2) sand shifts. The combination of a heavy, shifting material used as a strength training tool means that greater muscle recruitment is required to lift and move the weighted object. Your body is forced to constantly make micro-adjustments to maintain balance and manage the weight as you move through exercises with a sandbag.

Here's the thing: A 50-pound bag of sand from The Home Depot costs less than $4, while a commercial fitness-equipment sandbag costs anywhere from $40 to $150, depending on size, brand and weight. While a commercial sandbag may feature leak-resistant compartments and various handles to assist you as you exercise, I still have a hard time justifying the ridiculous price markup.

Really, there's no reason you can't simply use the bag of sand you purchase straight from the store as a training tool, but if you want a little more flexibility, it's easy to make your own sandbag at home. I made my own 50-pound sandbag for less than $15 with supplies I had around my house, and it's held up reasonably well. Granted, it's not the flashiest sandbag around, but it's functional and effective. Here's how I did it:


  • Medium-sized duffle bag (you can pick one up for cheap from Goodwill)
  • 50-lb bag of sand
  • 10 1-gallon freezer bags
  • Heavy-duty duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Scale
  • Scoop

1) Place roughly 10-pounds of sand into 5 of the 1-gallon freezer bags

Place one, 1-gallon freezer bag on the scale and begin scooping sand into the bag. Fill the bag with roughly 10-pounds of sand. Seal the bag and set aside, repeating the process with four more of the 1-gallon freezer bags.

2) Seal, double-bag, and seal

Try to remove any residual air from each of the filled freezer bags, and re-zip. Wrap the seals thoroughly with duct tape, then wrap the bags again to further seal them. Double-bag each of the five filled freezer bags with the remaining freezer bags, and repeat the duct tape sealing process again. This helps prevent breakage and leakage of sand.

3) Transfer bags into the duffle

Place the filled freezer bags into the duffle bag. Use the bag the sand came in to cover the freezer bags. This provides an extra layer to help prevent sand from leaking out if one of the freezer bags breaks.

4) Zip up the bag and put to use

Once your freezer bags are packed inside, your sandbag is ready for use! Zip it up and get to work. Because you know each individual freezer bag is filled with 10-pounds of sand, you can remove or add bags as needed to adjust the weight of each exercise. Also, if one of the 10-pound freezer bags breaks, you can always repeat the process, replacing only the broken bag.

Final Tip

Use the duffle bag's handles to lift, lower, swing and clean your homemade sandbag. If you feel like you need more or different handles, try using more duct tape to create hand-holds around the bag. I did this with my bag and it's worked well, but it took a lot of duct tape to make it safe and secure.

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