DIY Sandbag Trap Bar

Here’s a quick twist on working out with an old toy. I repurposed my heavy sandbag into a trap bar for deadlifts and shrugs.


First, I used some old ratchet straps from the wing chun dummy I made a few years back. I tied them instead of relying on the ratcheting mechanism to stay locked (it doesn’t). A thick, tough rope would be even better, I think.

Then I added velcro fastener loops. They came with carabiners, but I took them off and just threaded them through the straps. They’re rated to 300 lbs., and, so far, they haven’t broke loose.


You can see in the picture I left some space to slide extra weight beneath the grips I fashioned. Be careful not to leave too much room: if there’s too much slack it’s hard to lift the bag. You can also put a big dumbbell on top of the strap and between the handles without much difficulty. The heavy weight won’t fall off even if you jack the straps as hard as you can.

I originally did more traditional deadlifts while pulling just the straps, lifting the bag lengthwise. (See my original post.). But I find I can lift more weight with better technique using the sumo deadlift and this new setup. It puts less stress on my back, the bag doesn’t wack me in the knees, and I can work my traps a little better too. All you have to do is stand over the bag, grab the handles, look up, keep your back straight, and pull!

Unlike a real trap bar, the weight goes up between your legs, but that’s not as bad as it sounds! Plus, this DIY version costs WAY less then a bar and steel plates. If you have question on how to rig this up, or how to use it, let us know. Thanks, and happy pulling!

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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