When it comes to Dumbbells Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Barbells all are good options, but they are not yours . 19659003] options. Another effective, though less well-known device? The Bulgarian bag.
This niche tool, which looks like a gigantic floating bag at first glance, is not exactly new. But there is a new fan: Halle Berry .
On Friday, the Oscar-winning actor shared an Instagram photo of her and her coach, Peter Lee Thomas, who was crouched with Bulgarian bags hanging around her neck and shoulders. In the caption, Berry explains that Thomas recently familiarized her with the tool, and she's now addicted to using it for a variety of exercises, including weight training, cardiac muscle and plyometric movements.
You can review the post via @. Halleberry, here:
Thomas also shared the photo as well as some additional images of him and Berry using the bags, on his Instagram @peterleethomas. However, we asked ourselves: What exactly is the Bulgarian bag, what makes it so effective and how is it compared to more common weighted tools?
We talked to Thomas and another coach familiar with Bulgarian bags to learn more.  The Bulgarian bag is basically an applied, more comfortable version of a sandbag.
Sandbags are an old dumbbell exerciser still used today by niche groups such as Navy SEALS and CrossFit athletes, as well as in various group fitness classes. The Bulgarian bag is essentially a nicer repeat of the sandbag, thanks to the soft leather cover, the crescent-shaped shoulder, the easy-to-grip straps and the filling of sand and wool. Because of this shape and the mixed material inside, "the weight does not move as much as the sandbag". Mark DiSalvo NYC certified strength and conditioning specialist, teaches SELF Easier to handle in different exercises.
According to Suples the Bulgarian bag maker Thomas bought his bags from, the tool was created by Bulgarian wrestling coach Ivan Ivanov in 2005 as a functional piece of equipment for his athletes and other fighting trainees for their sport require heavy littering movements, although this is true for many other purposes.
"It's something you can not see in most gyms," Thomas, a teacher at the Thai Boxing Association of America, tells SELF. Thomas has sporadically used the bags over the past decade, when he came across them in specialty gyms and recently bought his own. And it has quickly become one of his and Berry's most popular fitness equipment.
Compared to other weights, the Bulgarian bag can be a safer, more comfortable and versatile option to perform specific exercises.
One of Thomas's greatest advantages is that it is more comfortable than traditional, weighted tools. Thomas describes a client who complained of upper back pain when he squatted with a barbell even using a pad at the counter. In fact, when she changed to the Bulgarian bag, "she could actually squat without much pain."
This is also a good tool for training dynamic movements in different directions, such as sideways and diagonally, and / or unsafe with a barbell, a dumbbell or other weighted tools, says DiSalvo. If you do not do dynamic sports, exercises with the Bulgarian bag can be "a great way to bring dynamic movement into your routine," he adds. "This can help you to train your mobility a bit differently – you can move your body in a sportier way."
The bag is also great for swinging movements, such as side swings that can not be done safely with a dumbbell, barbell or a plate. It's also a great way to train grip power thanks to the grips on both ends of the bag that you need to hold while performing various functions. Movements: Grip strength is "paramount" in certain sports, Thomas explains, as Jiu Jitsu and gymnastics.
Limiting the Bulgarian bag is what you would expect from a barbell If you load or remove your weight easily, the weight will be fixed. If your target is extremely strong, – say you want really heavy jacking – it's not the best choice, DiSalvo explains, since you can not go beyond the heaviest bag available, but if you want more to improve your overall fitness? "With a Bulgarian bag you could really get in shape," he says.
Here are the suggestions of Thomas and DiSalvo to integrate the Bulgarian bag in workouts.
First, Concerning Selection At Appropriate Weight Thomas recommends that beginners be light-weighted and use bags of varying weights to be challenging in different movements. For example, you may want to start with a heavier lower body motion pocket such as squats and a lighter upper body movement pocket like overhead presses. (If your local gym has no Bulgarian bags, you can order your own though they are pretty expensive, fair warning, ranging between $ 53 and $ 325 depending on the make and weight of the bag.)  If you have a bag, you do not have to take advanced or complex steps to take advantage of it. With the Bulgarian bag and the exercise in general, "it's the basics that win," says Thomas, who suggests using him with a series of traditional exercises – from back squats (like Berry and Thomas demoed), front squats. and overhead presses to push more complex movements like squatting and cleaning and squeezing. You can also swing it between your legs (like a kettlebell swing ) or drape it over your chest like a baby bib and do sit-ups for overhead presses, says Thomas. Or you can put it on your feet and do sit-ups instead of a partner holding your feet.
You can also hold it in front of your body (by putting it in your elbows) to perform lunges, DiSalvo says, or you can drape it over one shoulder and do some lunges on that leg, then change sides, says Thomas. You can also use it to make lateral turns, a dynamic movement that causes the rotation of your spine and touches your inclines, says DiSalvo. You can even simply drape it over your shoulders to perform exercises .
Conclusion: If you want to make your weight training more varied and add more dynamic movements to your routine, then the Bulgarian bag can be a great, functional option.