This mornings #TrainingTips post is all about grabbing a Bulgarian Bag.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of using a Bulgarian Bag you’re seriously missing out. There is nothing quite comparable to the Bulgarian Bag, it’s such a unique piece equipment and it’s great fun to use. There is no doubt that the Bulgarian Bag is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that emulates functional training and boasts many training advantages. I’ve been using the bag for years and I love it. I may be a little biased as I’ve had the great opportunity to work with the creator of the Bulgarian Bag (Ivan Ivanov) on many occasions and when you see someone so passionate about something it’s very infectious.
Many people have a love hate relationship with the Bulgarian Bag and usually for good reason, as it’s not an easy piece of equipment to get to grips with (no pun intended). But for those that do stick to it, they too find a strange love for the challenging and diverse work you do with it.
There is a plethora of exercises available with the bag that can leave every part of your body screaming if you so wish, but this is beyond the scope of this article. What I would like to share with you however is 4 of my favourite exercises, these are some of the basic foundation exercises you learn with the bag. But don’t let that misguide you, these foundations are not easy in the slightest and no matter how much you advance in your ability with the bag you never loose touch with your foundations.
So here are my favourite 4 Bulgarian Bag exercises.
The spin is one of the real signature exercises with the Bulgarian Bag, of which there are many variations making them more dynamic and complex the more advanced a practitioner you get. With the spin you’re working a huge amount of trunk and torso strength, endurance and motor coordination. When you’re working with the correctly weighted bag for you you’ll have to really get your whole body moving in time with the bag, whipping those hips, torso and arms and even after a short amount of use your grip is tested to the max. When you spin you’ll notice quite quickly how your heart rate will spike even after just 10 spins in each direction, so the spin works really well with interval style training giving your grip just enough time to recover before you go again.
The swing snatch is a great combination exercise working in the sagittal plane, where the bag is taken from a Kettlebell swing type motion to above and behind the head. The swing snatch works your posterior chain hard by allowing you to achieve a deep forward bend, whereby the bag is then redirected from being almost behind you and between your legs, to above and behind the head in one strong hip extension and pull and punch sequence with the arms. Again just after a few reps you will find the heart rate elevate quickly and fatigue setting in quicker than you would expect.
Lateral Arm Throw
The lateral arm throw is very much like the swing snatch in that it’s a great combination exercise but this time working in a frontal and transverse planes. The wide stance of the lateral arm throw really tests your balance and coordination when attacking this movement, hitting your legs, torso and arms in a big way. The arm throw movement pattern mimics the trunk rotation which is preformed when carrying out wrestling or judo throws which is perfect for a fighters training regime.
Grip Exchange Pulls
Last but not least the grip exchanging exercise. This exercise is a must for anybody after developing a stronger and tested grip strength. It’s so simple but my god is it effective, you’ll find on the back of the Bulgarian Bag there are 3 hard handles and simply, all you do is perform single arm high pulls and exchange grip each time. Letting go with one hand and catching with the other. Sounds simple doesn’t it? As you become better, start switching between differing handle positions and weights of bag, this will test your grip and reactions to their limits especially when trying to prevent the bag from touch the floor.
When performing Bulgarian Bag exercises you get the entire body working through dynamic movements. With all muscle groups being trained at the same time we also get a great cardiovascular aerobic workout too. The Bulgarian bag training will improve: mobility, motor skills, coordination, balance, flexibility, muscular endurance and functional strength.
So in a nut shell if you’ve seen these weird looking bags in the corner of the gym that you’ve steered clear of, grab it, use it and reap the benefits. As always it’s always best to seek out a little advice if you are unsure or would like to learn the Bulgarian Bag correctly by a qualified Bulgarian Bag coach.
Have a great weekend guys.
Stay strong and live, love and laugh!