Introduction: Improve Strength, Tone Muscle, and Increase Flexibility + Explosiveness: Dual-Handle Weight Bag

When shaping up, people usually take a three-headed approach: increasing strength, raising basal metabolic rate (BMR), and changing diet.
Increasing strength can be accomplished through resistance training with free weights; raising BMR through cardio.
But equally important 
This Instructable will outline the steps to make an easy, low-cost means to resistance train with high repetition to increase muscle fatigue and keep the heart rate elevated.

We call it what it is: Dual-Handle Weight Bag (for lack of a catchier name... any suggestions?)

It's part dumbbell, part medicine ball, part yoga sand bag, and part kettlebell.
Allowing you strength train, stability train, improve flexibility and explosiveness, simply and fluidly.

Step 1: Materials

For this weighted bag we used the following:
- thick, durable canvas fabric
- synthetic straps (we removed ours from a cheap give-away bag from a conference)
- zipper (also from the conference bag)
- a zip-top bag full of grain (buckwheat is the best as it's hypoallergenic; we used 5 lb. of rice)

note: we also have cord in the photo, which we were going to use in the handles for added comfort but opted against it... they're comfortable enough.

Step 2: Cut Out a Circle

First, fold the piece of fabric over in half. Next, we outlined a circle on the fabric using a pot cover. Our circle ended up having a diameter of 12 in. We found this fit our 5 lb. bag of rice quite well, though there was some extra space. We speculate that a 10 lb. bag could be stuffed in here.

Pin both halves of fabric together and cut out along the line.

Step 3: Decide Where the Zipper Will Go; Attach the Handles

Next up is to decide where the zipper will be attached. Lay the zipper around the circumference where you want and mark off with a pen the edges of the zipper. This will indicate where to sew the bag together.

After this we attached the straps which will become the handles. Keep in mind that these will be attached to the outside so flip the fabric inside-out and pin the straps; first on one side, then the other.
Sew the straps to the fabric. We used a V-stitch for extra durability. Clean up any long threads if you wish.

Step 4: Sew the Halves Together

Next we sewed the two halves together. Flip the two halves inside out again and tuck the straps away from the edge. 
Sew around the circumference about 1/2 in. from the edge of the fabric. Sew the areas outside of the area that you designated for the zipper. Again we used a V-stitch for extra durability. We also double stitched the seem again to add extra strength.

Step 5: Zipper Time

Attaching the zipper is a little complex and difficult for us to describe well. We'll try our best.
First, pin one side to one half of fabric (along the inside). Then pin the other side. We also rolled the fabric over before pinning it to make a nice clean edge. Next, 

Step 6: Making the Handles

Next we made the handles by attaching the two straps together. 
Place one strap over the other so that they overlap and sew them together along all edges.
Repeat with the other side to make the other handle.

Step 7: Add the Weight

We used 5 lb. of rice but feel free to use any other dry good. Buckwheat is a good hypoallergenic option.
The bag is suitable to hold up to 10 lb.

Step 8: And Done...

Zip up the cover and now the bag is complete for a workout.

Use it as a dumbbell to work your biceps and triceps. Toss it like a medicine ball to work your core. Swing it like a kettlebell to  improve your explosiveness. Attach it to a belt for added weight. Use it as a sand bag to help stretch.

It's lighter weight for lots of reps.
It's versatile so you can circuit train and perform one exercise after another to get your heart rate up.
It's soft so you can feel safe using it around kids or pets or to lie on like a pillow after your workout.

Step 9: Exercises

Since the bag is not necessarily beautiful to look at, we recruited an (80's style) model to show it off.

Bicep curls, Skull crushers (triceps), Flys (chest), Bent over row (back), raises (shoulders, squats and leg raise (quads), leg curls (hamstring, glutes), seated oblique twist (core), looking jacked!

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