Powerbag training offers runners the type of benefits they can get from core strength training workouts -- but with additional perks. Beyond weight or resistance training, runners can focus on the specificity of their sport by mimicking on-the-track movements with these heavy devices that are still soft and malleable. For example, an athlete can lift a Powerbag over his head or hold two of them under each arm while sprinting or jogging. As long as you're holding a Powerbag, the sand inside it constantly shifts inside the flexible, loose casing, as opposed to how a barbell remains solid regardless of whether or not you're lifting it.
Because Powerbags are more unsteady than Olympic or traditional weights, working out with them challenges the body's stabilizing muscles, improving coordination and balance. This muscle training can prevent injuries, conditioning the body to remain steady even in unexpected situations, like stepping on an uneven surface or suddenly having to dodge another runner who falls down on a path. Strong core muscles keep an athlete's trunk from wobbling as she runs, transmitting energy more efficiently and ultimately increasing speed.
Powerbag enthusiasts say they get more intense workouts from these weighted bags than from barbells or other solid weights because lifting, pushing, pulling or throwing Powerbags allows complete follow-through motion rather than a more isolated range of movement. Skeptics argue that you can just as easily fill a duffle bag with some sand or simply use a bag of sand itself and save money.
Plyometric movements like jumping and hopping can be done while carrying Powerbags. Performing these drills while focusing on form can not only improve speed and endurance but also help prevent injuries like ACL tears, which can sideline a runner for weeks or months.
Take a deep breath and leap to the next section to learn more about Powerbag workouts for runners.