All I knewwas that the package was heavy and the person who had sent it to me knew that I loved to try out new strength and conditioning gadgets. When I dumped the two lumps out on the floor and took the paper off I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. If I had ever seen a sandbell before, I had forgotten.
There were two: a 12 lb sandbell and a 50 lb sandbell from hyperwear.com.
So what’s a sandbell? It’s a neoprene bag full of sand. Neoprene is a hyper-flexible synthetic rubber that seems impervious to tearing. Sand is…well, you know what sand is.
Now then, what in the world was I supposed to do with these things? That was the easy part. I’ve never had any problem getting creative with my training. I threw them around, pressed the 50 lb bell, did some halos, slammed it into the grass a few times the way I might with a medicine ball, etc.
They could also be snatched, cleaned, and swung just like kettlebells. Except that they were more challenging to use than kettlebells because of the grip strength factor. I was finding that no matter what I used them for, my grip was quickly becoming the limiting factor. That doesn’t happen to me very often.
If you’ve ever performed a kettlebell swing, just pretend that the handle is suddenly gone but the body of the bell is soft. Grab it, dig your fingers in, and now start swinging. Ditto for the snatch, the Turkish Get up, etc.
Here’s a video to give you an idea of the bell in action:
If it looks fun, it is.
Sandbells are billed an alternative to dumbbells or kettlebells. I wouldn’t use them to replace anything, but as an addition to my garage gym I’m all for them. Like I said, I enjoy variety in my training too much to commit to one tool for the long term.
That said, there are definitely some pros worth mentioning that you would not experience with other tools:
- Dropping a sandbell isn’t going to hurt anything
- Dropping one on your foot will not break your foot
- Ditto for your head
- They will smoke your grip, if you care about that
- They’re a different sort of fun. I’m always a fan of novelty, even if it wears off
As to the cons: nothing big to speak of. The neoprene bag has abraded my fingers a bit. Moving the sandbell around quickly, squeezing, releasing, then fighting to squeeze it again, has scraped my knuckles up slightly, but I think that will diminish with more use and practice.
Other than that, the only thing I would change is that they don’t get heavier than 50 lbs unless I’ve misunderstood something. There’s plenty you can do with 50 lbs, but it’s not as fun for me as pulling a heavy deadlift or locking out heavy clean and jerks.
But again, that’s just me.
I’m thrilled to have something new to play around with and would recommend the sandbell to anyone looking to keep things lively and varied.