Lets Talk About Sandbags and Sleds

Recently I had several questions about our changes in programming moving into 2020; I just want to clarify some things and put some concerns to rest. First thing I want to say is that we’re not becoming StrongMan gym by any means. That is why we’re making a separate class altogether as a once a week kind of meet up. Our focus has been and will always be CrossFit. Yet, it’s important to understand that CrossFit does at its core incorporate Sleds as well as sandbags in the programming. You may ask yourself, “if that was the case why haven’t we always done it”. The simple answer is that we didn’t have the space in our original location, let alone the finances to facilitate it. But as we grow as a gym and a community our top concern is the development of our athletes above anything else. So myself, Marcin and Jonathan choose to reinvest back into our community rather than ourselves. To make ASDC the most well rounded CrossFit gym in Hunterdon County.

Whether it’s sleds or sandbags; they’ll always be seen as complementary pieces of equipment. They will not be the main focus or replace the barbell; and shall be used to diversify the programming not define it.

Let’s talk about some of the benefits of sandbags to better understand their implementation into the programming. Sandbag movements are generally easier to learn. Barbell movements can take months, if not years, to master yet it can take a matter of minutes to safely and effectively learn how to move a bag of sand; this makes sandbags a more inclusive tool than a barbell. Now the asymmetrical loading of a bag leads to greater core training. The anti-flexion stresses of a sandbag are significantly greater than that of a barbell and the unpredictability of a bag can help fill the gaps of an otherwise very controlled environment created by kettlebells, barbells and dumbbells.

All in all its one of the most purest forms of Functionality. It’s much more likely that you are going to lift something that mimics an awkward, misshapen bag of sand in real life than a perfectly loaded, collared barbell. When it comes to truly functional and “human” movement, the sandbag is one of the best ways to push ourselves for the day to day. They also allow for an array of movement diversity in training. Sandbags are great for holds, carries and just help fill the voids left in most people’s training routines to help avoid injury and optimize athletic performance across all fields. CrossFit belief has always been that movement should predicate exercise.

Life isn’t perfect and neither are sandbags. They’re awkward and they’re uncomfortable which is exactly the vital variable needed for a successful training system. Imperfect elements are paramount to pushing forward progression.

Now you might be sitting back with your favorite mid-day cup of coffee *Cough cough Factory Fuel* and whisper to yourself…what the hell is up with those sleds then. Good question! Aside from being a humbling experience; they offer so many benefits that balance our a dynamic conditioning program.

They improve general acceleration which benefits us with the speed that we can move the bar as well as push ourselves through our runs, rows and bike work.

They mix up the dynamic of any workout! Doing barbell work is great dont get me wrong, but throwing in a sled adds a different tempo to any workout there dropped in. One of CrossFit’s beliefs is to prepare for the unknown and unknowable; with a sled giving us a variable that cant be felt in any other piece of equipment.

Maximizes muscular development while minimizing damage to the muscles. Essentially sleds has only a concentric muscle engagement. This leaves very little room for injury during a transition from eccentric to concentric engagement that you might feel in a squat for example.

Its a great way to get a leg workout without needing to have a full ROM squat due to injury. For myself it allows me to engage my legs aggressively and develop without further aggravation to my knee joint due to injury. So its a great way for athletes with knee problems to continue to develop their strength.

In conclusion everything that we bring into the gym, equipment or otherwise is thoroughly thought out, tested for months before it is ever implemented into the gym. We make sure the new stimulus meets our standards as well as brings something new and exciting to our community. Like previously mentioned neither piece of equipment will be a cornerstone of the programming; instead will be used sparingly to bring diversity into the class. I absolutely love discussing my thoughts behind the CrossFit method. So if you ever have that lingering thought of, “WTF is Brian Thinking” please pull me aside and Ill be happy to discuss things further with you.

If you made it this far without x-ing out of the email you’re the true MVP!

Have a great afternoon,
Coach Brian