The Bulgarian Bag has been around since 2005 and was created with the intent to have athletes train in a way that improved their explosive actions. Dynamic movements such as pushing, twisting, balancing, pulling, rotating and throwing can all be performed with the bag.
As you may have guessed from the description above the bag allows the athlete to move in multi-planar directions. This differs from traditional single-plane free weights and can help to improve core strength, coordination and the mobility of joints. Along with this, athletes have to tackle the acceleration and deceleration movements of the bag. The balancing act between the rotational pull of the bag, gravity, momentum and inertia is called variable angular resistance training. Using this form of training can aid in developing speed, agility and endurance.
In fact, the Bulgarian bag has been found to increase metabolic rates higher than weight training and cardiovascular activity alone because the bag includes both of these components. This results in an increase in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). For those of you that do not know what EPOC is, it is essentially the oxygen debt your body goes into when you exercise at a higher intensity. Due to this debt, your body has to produce more oxygen and does so by increasing its metabolic rate, which essentially means more calories burned for you. Studies have found this metabolic increase can last up to 18-24 hours after activity has been completed.
The bag can also be used as a free weight in several simple and dynamic movements and can add weight to the body when an athlete performs plyometrics, squats, push ups, or core work, etc. Overall, the bag can increase the strength and flexibility of the whole body.
Here are my 4 favorite uses for the bag:
- Use it as a full body warm up prior to your routine – the use of multiple planes turns on the CNS, lubricates joints and allows for more motor units to be recruited = better warm up
- Use it as a superset routine – I especially like pairing Bulgarian bag snatches with overhead Bulgarian bag squats
- Use it as cardio – try pairing rotational swings with battle ropes and be prepared for how much you will sweat
- Use it to increase your grip strength – do not let the bag fool you it takes major strength to hold it for extended periods of time
Lastly, safety is key so be sure to ask a health professional for assistance if you are unsure of how to use the bag properly and always stay within your own ability range.
Blog written by BCPTI Instructor, Ashley.