BENEFITS OF SANDBAG TRAINING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT
Article Contributed by Mark Briggs, 18+ years on the job. From the time I began my Law Enforcement career, I promised myself and my family that I wouldn’t end up in that pine box because I wasn’t in shape. To me, I surrendered the right to be unfit when I raised my right hand and swore that oath to Protect & Serve. Throughout my 18 year career, serving in both Patrol and SWAT, there were a variety of training methodologies that I utilized, but one of the most beneficial, hands down, was sandbag training.
Why sandbag training? Quite simply, it's a truly functional form of training that is highly adaptive to any fitness level. By utilizing the unstable load that’s provided by a sandbag, you’re forced to engage more muscle recruitment due to the shifting of the sand during any lifting movement.
Sandbags are also valuable training tools due to the varied load capacities and sizes of the bags. In the real world of Law Enforcement, you often find yourself going from stationary positions to very explosive behaviors (sitting in a car one second, to a foot pursuit and wrestling match with a suspect the next). Sandbags are great for all range of motion training scenarios you may find yourself in, and not only can they be used to improve your strength, but also your anaerobic capacity as well. For anyone who’s found themselves in the situation, you know this; If you can’t breathe, you can’t fight.
Sandbags On The Range
Using sandbags on the range is another personal favorite when it comes to range training. Using the sandbag to elevate your heart rate through a variety of movement patterns, and then making accurate shot placement far better simulates the physiological responses of a real gun fight than standing on the XX yard line and firing 2 rounds at center mass in XX seconds, right?!
While we program many different drills around strength and conditioning at each training session, the conditioning drill below is one of our favorites. It is also scalable and flexible based on your range requirements and/or limitations.
Sample Conditioning Drill
Start at the 50 yard line with a 50-70lb Athlete Sandbag Kit.
- 15 Sandbag Deadlifts, Fire till you hit
Sprint/Carry to 25 yard line:
- 10 Sandbag Cleans, Fire till you hit
Sprint/Carry to 15 yard line:
- 5 Brute Force Burpees, Unload/Reload
Sprint/Carry bag back to start.
Currently, I have teamed up with with Brute Force to provide a series of different tactical fitness training ops for both patrol and SWAT at different locations throughout the country. We believe that this type of training is a game changer and provides a much more "Real World" training experience. Many of the departments who have taken the training have not only bought into the idea of this training, but have implemented it into their regular PT regimens.
If you want to up your fitness level, add a new wrinkle to your training and have a little fun doing it, think seriously about adding sandbag training into the mix. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. The benefits of sandbag training for law enforcement are unparalleled.