11 Great Highland Bag Exercises

Have you ever seen one of our Origin Highland bags on the gym floor and never really been sure how to use it? Well, now you can incorporate this versatile piece of kit into your next workout like a pro, just by familiarising yourself with these 11 great Highland Bag exercises.

The Origin Fitness Highland Bag is our brand new functional training accessory. Available in a variety of different weights and with soft neoprene skin, this flexible weight has a diverse range of uses. It is a comfortable alternative to a barbell for when beginners are performing compound lifts and it's also easier on the hands than the knurling of a bar.

Since the Highland Bag is a flexible sand filled bag which moulds itself to the users shape, thus providing a secure and safe way of adding weight to exercises. The shape can also let users perform swinging movements similar to those you might find within sandbag or bulgarian bag training.

1. Alternate Hand Swings - This pendulum swing is adapted from a popular kettlebell exercise. Using one hand swing the bag upwards from between the legs, using the hips to drive the bag up to shoulder height. At the peak of the swing, grab the bag and switch hands, repeating the movement keeping the feet solidly grounded.

2. Around the World - Place your feet around shoulder width apart and grip the ends of the bag. Swing the bag around your head, maintaining the distance between your hands. Try to keep your core strong and don't let your body sway or rock with the momentum of the bag.

3. Around the World Squats - This is a combination movement that is a form of progression of the Around the World. After each full rotation, stop the bag swinging and let it rest on your shoulder. Then perform a squat, then restart the swing. This stopping and starting works slightly different muscles to those you use when allowing the momentum to carry the bag round and round your head.

4. Bent Over Row - This is a simple adaptation of a barbell or dumbbell exercise working the upper back muscles. Lean your torso forward and squeeze the shoulder blades together bringing the centre of the bag up towards your chest.


5. Front to Back Squats - Again, this move would normally be performed with a barbell, but using a highland bag adds a different challenge to the exercise. It can also be more comfortable when placing the barbell onto the shoulders. This movement sequence is also sometimes called a bear complex. Essentially you just repeat the following pattern, Front Squat - Push Press from Front - Back Squat - Push Press from Back.

6. Good Mornings - Start with the highland bag resting on the shoulders, with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend forward at the hips, moving them back until you are almost parallel to the ground. Stand back up straight by pushing through the glutes and hamstrings.

7. Step Ups - The highland bag provides a comfortable alternative to using a barbell or dumbbells to perform weighted step ups. Wear it around the neck or across the shoulders then step onto a plyometric box or platform.

8. Lunges - Step forward on one leg with the highland bag around your neck or across your shoulders. Lower your hips down until your trail knee almost touches the ground before pushing back off the lead leg to the standing position. Repeat, alternating the lunging leg each time for a great leg workout.

9. Squats - Simple and effective. The highland bag can be wrapped securely across the shoulders and is much less abrasive and spreads the pressure evenly compared to lifting weights on a barbell. Being flexible, the highland bag makes squatting more feasible for users who have difficultly maintaining the strict position needed when using a bar.

10. Tricep Extensions - Hold the handles separately beind your head and let the bag hang down the line of your spine. Extend your triceps fully, keeping your elbows as close to your head as possible. The soft highland bag can help you avoid those comedy accidents, where you end up with a lump on the forehead after using a dumbbell or weight plate to perform extensions.

11. Weighted Dips - When performing dips, chains are often used to add extra weight, as well as weighted vests and plates attached to a belt. The highland bag wins over all of these in terms of comfort and being easy to prepare. Wrap the bag around your shoulders like a scarf and perform full bodyweight dips, or those with your feet planted to the ground.