Rob’s Vacation Training Kit

Travel Training Kit: Rogue Sandbag, Brute Force sand kettlebell, gymnastic straps, and scale.

By Rob Shaul, Founder


Over the years I’ve developed a simple vacation training “kit” beyond a jump rope and bodyweight exercises.

The “kit” is built around a sandbag and a “sand” kettlebell. Other items include a handheld luggage scale and a pair of gymnastics hand grips.

The sandbag I use isn’t one of those we sell – they are too big to fill with just sand. Instead, I purchased one of the long/narrow sandbags made by Rogue Fitness (several other companies make similar). I bought Rogue’s  “medium” sized bag – up to 80 pounds filled with sand. Mine is several years old – without any liner.

The kettlebell can hold up 45 pounds and is from our MTI Gear Shop.  Before we developed these, I used the ones from Brute Force.

When I get to the vacation spot, I find a beach and fill each with sand. This is where the scale comes in – I fill the sandbag to 60 pounds, and the kettlebell to 35-45 pounds.

No sand? I’ve used gravel, dirt, landscaping rocks – anything handy for load/filler.

Surprisingly, on vacation – I’m generally excited to train. Not out of guilt, but rather, just to get outside! Spring Break especially, it’s so nice to be able to train outside, in shorts and a t-shirt after escaping the long, dark, cold, Wyoming winter.

I’m generally up long before my family, and after catching up on emails and swallowing down a couple cups of joe, I’ll train – usually just before dawn.

I don’t do a lot of programming, but in general look for 30-60 minute sessions. I like to keep it simple, and after a simple warm up generally, do the same circuit for 30-50 minutes. Below are the 4 sessions I rotated through this Spring Break. Note that I’m still on the mend from foot surgery in December, – so couldn’t run or do sandbag getups. This year I just trained in the back yard of our rental place.

Every Day Warm Up … 3 Rounds: 20x Squats, 20x Swings, 20x Push Ups, Instep Stretch, Lat + Pec Stretch

  1. 10 Rounds: 50x Kettlebell Snatch (25x each arm) @ 36#, 10x Back Squats @ 60# sandbag.
  2. 50 Minute Grind …. Sandbag Toss & Chase @ 60#
  3. 5 Rounds: 100x Kettlebell Snatch (50x each arm) @ 36#, 20x Back Squats @ 60# sandbag.
  4. 30-40 Minute Grind …. 5x Sandbag Burpee @ 60#, 30x Step Ups @ 16″

Last year’s spring break was near a beach – and every morning I’d walk the sandbag or kettlebell to the beach to train. I could run last year. Here are the 4 sessions I rotated through:

  1. 60 Minute Grind … 10x Sandbag Getup @ 60#, 4x Prone to Sprint (25m)
  2. 10 Rounds: 50x Kettlebell Snatch @ 45#, 2x Prone to Sprint (25m)
  3. 40 Minute Grind …. 5x Sandbag Clean + Press @ 60#, 75m Shuttle, walk back to start
  4. 60 Minute Grind …. 10x Sandbag Get Up, 5x Sandbag Burpee, 5 minute swim down the beach, Run back to start

I don’t train every morning on vacation. I’m certainly not manic about it. Somedays family plans will interfere, and others, I’ll just wake up sunburned and beat up, and simply won’t feel like it.

Sometimes in the middle of a cycle at home in Wyoming, I’ll have to gut through a session. I don’t do this on vacation. If I’m not enjoying training that day, I dial it back. In general, I find I train 3-4 days in a row, then skip a day.

One word on the sand kettlebell … for snatches it’s awesome. It’s soft, so doesn’t bank your forearm if your technique isn’t perfect. It’s also good for swings. But … at the least the one I bought – it will tear up your hands. I didn’t bring my gymnastics grips last year and my hands paid with several rips. The kettlebell nazis will criticize me for wearing hand protection – but I’m just a gym rat and don’t aspire to be a kettlebell nerd. Wear hand protection – leather gloves will work too. Other companies make these – and it’s possible theirs are easier on the hands.

At the end of the vacation, I dump the sand/gravel/dirt out of my sandbag and kettlebell, shake them out, and stuff them in my luggage. Simple!

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