Sandbags and Sled Drags

Outdoor fitness

Marketing is a fascinating thing. It’s a science, a skill – one that people spend years learning, crafting, adapting and applying.

The fitness industry is rife with marketing.

It’s an industry that thrives on confusion and complication.

One of the most frustrating things I see frequently is individuals who want to get fitter, lose some weight, get stronger, feel healthier, perform better at life and in their sports, but have no idea how to do so because of the abundance of clever marketing.

It’s taken me a pretty long time to even start to begin to understand the fitness industry. I actually think I’m reaching a point where the pieces are finally connecting and forming the semblance of a bigger picture of the industry as a whole. I hate to say it, but it’s not a good picture that’s forming.

I’m the complete opposite to the marketing of the fitness world. I’m the kind of guy that thrives on the basics, putting stock in simplicity, striving for grace and mastery in doing so. Hell, I don’t even like being indoors. Outdoor fitness has a special place in my training.

Strength, health, well-being, whatever you want to call it, whatever it means to you, doesn’t need to be complicated.

My training this morning is a prime example.

It was early. I was out in the cold, in the middle of a field with a tire sled and a sandbag and felt like a king – Outdoor fitness at it’s finest. No distractions. No waiting around. No messing, just hard work, grind and getting better in every sense of the word – Stronger, tougher, fitter…

During the workout I paused after one of the later sets to catch my breath and thought for a second about the average gym-goer. I thought about the hundreds, even thousands of Pounds/Dollars/Euros (Insert whatever currency here) spent on supplements, gym memberships, fads, equipment and “personal trainers”. I thought about the hard work they put in and how unrealistic their expectations are and the totally uncertain outcome they will experience after spending their cash and time.

Here I am with my tire sled, made from a found tire with the rim still attached, some cheap, strong nylon webbing, a few carabiners, a roll of duct tape and a few expertly crafted knots. Along side it sat an admittedly bought sandbag casing, which certainly isn’t necessary, a military duffel bag will always do, filled with kids play sand and feel absolutely unstoppable.

Stick with the Basics. The Fundamentals

  • Stick with things like the squat. Don’t know how to? Begin with the goblet squat, read this, apply it, train it, commit to it and strive for grace and mastery.
  • Pick up heavy things off of the ground.
  • Carry heavy things for distance, time or until you can’t anymore.
  • Press things over head.
  • Climb.
  • Sprint.
  • Walk distances.

It’s not fancy.

It’s not exciting.

It’s probably not going to make me a lot of money or get me in a magazine anytime soon.

But, it works.

I urge you to strip it all back.

Do you really need the supplements, gym membership or the personal trainer who only seems to throw you on the treadmill to waste the hour you have booked with him?

Grab a sandbag. Make a sled and give this a go.

Load the sandbag up. Clean it and Zercher squat it eight times, then immediately after the last rep, throw it in the tire and hand-over-hand pull it the length of a football field. Rest and repeat five times. Finish it off with a series of sprints and I honestly can’t think of much that will give you a better legs, lats, biceps, core, grip, strength, conditioning and mental and physical toughness workout.

Some outdoor training at it best.

On paper, it’ll look like this:

1a. Sandbag Zercher Squat x 8

1b. Hand-over-hand Rope Pull x 100 yards

-Five Rounds Total-

2a. Sprint Series

10 x 10 yards

8 x 20 yards

6 x 30 yards

4 x 40 yards

2 x 50 yards

3a. Lie in a pool of sweat and marvel at the fact that the workout cost you nothing – or at least very little. Certainly less than a tub of the calorie laden, sweetened post-workout shake stuff…

Closing Thoughts

I urge you to keep things simple.

As always, get tougher both physically and mentally!


Ps. Feel free to shoot me any messages, questions, whatever. I’m always around and happy to help out. Catch me on Twitter, Instagram or just email me here.

Complete MMA Training