Ultimate Sandbag Upper Body Workout for Runners

I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of strength training for runners, particularly using the Ultimate Sandbag and DVRT System.  More so than anything else, I have mentioned all the different ways that you can use DVRT and the USB to take your strength training and running game up a notch. 

While I’ve gone over various ways (though far from all) that you can progress the Ultimate Sandbag with your lower body, I have only very briefly touched on how to progress workouts with the Ultimate Sandbag for the upper body

Sure, I have mentioned my fav exercises and even some the improve running form, I haven’t really said much about progressing them.


Aside from changing your body position (say from bilateral stance to sprinter stance or single leg), you can also increase the difficulty of the workout by changing the holding position of the bag. 

What is unique about the Ultimate Sandbag which is unlike other equipment is that it has several different handles on it which creates far more possibilities than your traditional piece of workout equipment.  The Power Bag in particular has 4 different sets of handles.  Here is a breakdown: 

  • Parallel Handles (Clean Handles) which are most commonly used. 
  • Outside Handles 
  • Snatch Handles 
  • Suitcase Handle

This still doesn’t cover all the ways you can actually hold the bag, but for the purposes of the workout today, I’ll be referring to the Parallel Handles, Outside Handles and Suitcase Handles.  

When pressing overhead with the Ultimate Sandbag, you typically use the Parallel Handles or the Outside Handles if you haven’t perfected the art of cleaning the bag up to your fists.  BUT if you want to progress overhead pressing and make it more challenging then you’d move to the Off-Set Press which uses BOTH the Parallel and Outside Handle.  

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Using the Off-Set Grip creates a way for you to do a one arm press while still having two hands on the bag.  It’s far from easy though maybe not as hard as you think plus it helps to improve weaknesses and strengthen muscles imbalances helping both running posture AND performance.

Another less commonly used holding positing is the Suitcase Grip.  When most people see the Suitcase Handle they automatically think of carries which makes sense logically given it’s namesake.  

Given the fact that we are talking about the Ultimate Sandbag here, there are obviously lots of different ways to use the Suitcase Handle other than to carry the bag with it.  One of my favorite ways is to use it to row which really helps to strengthen upper back muscles to help produce a more powerful arm swing when you run.

Phew.  That was a lot to explain just to get to this workout but once you see it, you’ll realize why it was necessary.  


Take note of the modification at the end.  If bringing your leg up to a balance step when pressing overhead causes you to topple then simply lunge back into a bilateral standing position before you press the USB :) 

Want an Ultimate Sandbag of your own? Save 10% with code USB10 at checkout! 

Welcome to back to our Wild Workout Wednesday link up! Each week I link up with Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Fitful Focus and Jen from Pretty Little Grub to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us for a wild workout each week by reading along or grab the button and link up if you have a fitness or healthy living post to share! 

You might also like:  Wild Workout Wednesday: Dirty 30 Sandbag Workout!

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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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