Sandbag Squats

“Training to improve quality of life”- what does that mean?

Over the Labor Day weekend, one of my members told me how one of our regularly used strength movements help him to do his job for safely and efficiently, and possibly saved a life. I asked that member to give me his take on one of my favorite exercises for strength development, the Sandbag Bear Hug Squat.


“I hated the Sandbag Front Squat. It was a difficult movement for me. I did not understand its importance and harbored a bad attitude anytime it was prescribed in our workouts.

Nearly 1.5 years ago, I started the Sandbag Front Squat at 100 lbs. Now, with great coaching and mentors, I am Front Squatting a 220 lb Sandbag for reps and moving it for yardage.

Now to the point……

I am a 15 year veteran of the fire service. The growing trend for total emergency responses equates to 85% medical and only 2.5% fire calls(including false alarms). This means we lift patients 85 times out of every 100 requests for emergency service.

It was only recently that I realized the utility and relativity of the Sandbag Front Squat. The previously hated movement has become a favorite functional movement. As I approach 40 years old, the 220 lb sandbag has prepared me to consistently lift the 220 lb patient. I no longer  worry about my back because I know my core is strong. Also, I know my legs are prepared to move that weight through consistent, progressive training.

In summary, the Sandbag Front Squat is only a small portion of my success since joining Fitness Penance. My fitness has propelled me to be a more productive member of an extraordinary team of firefighters.

Get fit. Life is better that way.”

– Blake “Grizz” Grissom

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