The Bulgarian Bag Workout To Build Strength And Cardio


It’s time to feel the force – centrifugal style. Bulgarian bags – those sand-filled hunks of leather and plastic – don’t come any heavier than 20kg, but weight’s not the point here: by swinging or whirling them around, you’ll work your muscles from every angle. They’re a test of full-body co-ordination that’s also easy on your joints, which is why hard-training Eastern European wrestlers have been using them for a decade. Twice a week, complete this circuit three times, doing each move for 30 seconds, to bag improved endurance, core strength and grip.

1 Rotational swing

Grab the bag by both handles and swing it around in front of you in a circle, dipping slightly at the knees as it goes through its lowest arc. Keep a steady pace, and change direction after 15 seconds.

2 Lateral swing

Swing the bag up to your shoulder, then step to one side slightly and swing the bag to that side, as if you’re swinging a scythe (if you’ve ever done that). Repeat on the other side. Continue, alternating sides.

3 Swing to squat

Swing the bag between your legs, dipping slightly, then raise it over your head and onto your shoulders. Lower into a squat, then take the bag off your shoulders as you come up and go straight into the next rep.

4 Lateral lunge

Put the bag on your shoulders, holding it securely at each end. Take a big sidestep and lower until you feel a stretch through your groin. Return to the start and repeat to the other side.

5 Halo

Hold the bag overhead and rotate it around your head. When you finish a rotation in one direction, switch directions.

6 Alternating grab

Holding the bag by its top handle, pull it up slightly and change hands, absorbing the weight of the bag. Continue switching hands, going as fast as possible.