How to Make Bulgarian Training Bags

Written by tiffany ross
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How to Make Bulgarian Training Bags
Bulgarian training bags train an athlete in balance and control. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

In 2005, Ivan Ivanov built the first Bulgarian training bag to improve his wrestling team's dynamic movement skills. Ivanov took inspiration from the Bulgarian shepherds who used a sheep flung over the shoulders to exhibit strength during street fairs. The bags have gained popularity among weightlifters for their ability to provide a comprehensive workout with only one piece of equipment. As of 2011, the bags were selling for hundreds of dollars, but with one stop at a hardware store, the amateur lifter can construct his own bag.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Car tire inner-tube
  • Wood pellets
  • Sand
  • 2 wire ties
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape

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  1. 1

    Lay the tire out flat on the floor. Find the air spigot. Cut all the way through the tire vertically on either side of the spigot. Remove the section you just cut out and throw it away.

  2. 2

    Fold the tire toward you from the inside first, then fold the outside toward you. This will ensure the tyre's natural curvature isn't distorted, which will be important when you fill it with wood pellets. Tie off one end with a wire tie. Place the tie about five inches above the opening. This is your hand grip. Grab it and test the size before you tighten the tie. Tighten the wire tie until the tire end is nearly closed off. It is not necessary for the end to be airtight, as the wood pellets are not small enough to pass through. However, tighten the tie as much as possible when using sand as a filling. Sand will add a significant amount of weight to the bag, so only use it if you have extensive weightlifting experience.

  3. 3

    Fill the tire with wood pellets. Use a plastic cup to scoop wood pellets into the open end of the tire. Keep filling until the tire is packed tight with wood pellets. Leave enough space at the opened end to tie off your second hand grip.

  4. 4

    Place the other tie on the free end of the tire. Tighten the wire tie. Grasp each hand grip and gently lift the bag to test the weight. Remove wood pellets if the weight is too heavy.

  5. 5

    Duct tape the grips. Wrap the duct tape tightly around each hand grip; one or two layers of tape will suffice. Lift the bag with both hands and test the weight with a swing around the head. Add more tape to the grips if they feel loose.

Tips and warnings

  • Rubber pellets and sand will add weight to a bag. Consider making a bag with each filling, so you have room to grow in your strength training.

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