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  • William Sturgeon

Top 10 Backpack Exercises

Updated: Aug 12


Having a home gym isn’t always in everyone’s budget. We often get overwhelmed with the cost of fitness equipment, thinking that we have to buy the latest and most innovative (and thus most expensive) stuff out there. I’m here to tell you: you don’t need to break the budget to get fit! 

A backpack is one of the most affordable tools you can use to start getting into shape. Loading this tool with a variety of weights (dumbbells, books, soup cans, gallon jugs--just about anything heavy!) can help you achieve almost any goal you're hoping for.

The backpack is something you can use to supplement for a sandbag. Ideally, we would want to invest in a sandbag to get the full training effect of this implement. 

With the backpack you can load up with a variety of things books, soup cans, rice bags, sand, pretty much anything! The number of exercises you can do with just one backpack is endless! 

Here are 10 of my personal favorites:

1. Bear Hug Squat

- Hug the bag and tear it in half from the sides  - Reach your hips back and spread the floor with your knees  - Drive your feet into the ground and stand tall 


2. Good Morning 

- Pull the bag into your chest - Have a slight bend in the knees and reach your hips back - Keep your chest up and drive through your hips.

3. Bent Over Row 

- With a slight bend in the knees reach your hips back with the bag facing below the chest. - Pull your shoulders down and row the backpack towards your chest - Avoid rounding your upper back and hiking your shoulders up

4. Shoulder Press

- Face the backpack sideways grabbing it from the outside - Start with the backpack in front of the chest, think collarbone area, then press the backpack overhead. - Lock out the elbows, so that the biceps are behind the ears, then pull the bag down to the start.

5. Clean 

- Start in the row position with the backpack below the knee. - Drive through your hips pulling the backpack up and turning it upwards. - Drop the backpack back down to the start position. 

6. Thruster 

- Starting with the backpack in front of the chest holding onto the outside of the bag, go down to a squat.  - Drive your feet into the ground letting the moment of the legs push the weight up. - Lock the arms out overhead so the bicep ends behind the ears. 

7. FL Reverse Lunge 

- Place the backpack in the crook of your arms holding it tightly against your chest. - Take a giant step back and get your self stable.  - Lower your hips down and touch the floor gently, then drive through the front foot and return to the start position. 

8. Weighted Glute Bridge  

- Lying on your back, place the backpack on to your hips, think beltline.  -  Push your feet into the ground and raise your hips up. - Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top and hold for a 1 count. 

9. Front Load Squat 

- Place the backpack in the crook of your arms and raise your elbows up high. - Reach your hips back and spread the floor with your knees. - Drive your feet into the ground and stand tall. 

10. Weighted Dead Bug

- Lying on your back with the backpack facing over your chest, begin to tear the backpack in half. - Push your low back into the ground and pull your toes up. - Breathe out as you extend one leg at a time, not reaching the ground. 

Give these exercises a try and let us know what you think!

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