How might a sand-based weight be paricularly useful in physical therapy and rehabiliation? The question first came up after we sold four sets of Portable Kettle Bell Sandbags to the U.S. Marines Wounded Warrior Center at Camp Pendleton. At first glance, the buyer for the Center was intrigued by the inherent safety aspects behind a sand-based kettle bell versus an iron one. He was also familiar with sandbag training and could appreciate the unique benefits of utilizig a shifting-load to perform movements most do with a solid weight.
So what benefits am I referring to, and what do I mean by shifting-load?
To better understand how a therapist might use or even prefer a sandbased weight for rehabiliation purposes, I posed the question to my sports doctor and Active Release Techniques (ART) certified therapist Dr. Nathen Horst of Temecula, California.
"It's all about recruiting the stabilizer muscles," he said. "I might have a patient perform a front or lateral raise with a light weight to address a rotator cuff issue, but if I do it with a sandbased weight for example, the subtle swinging motion of the weight will also stimulate muscle groups that a solid, iron weight cannot."
This could help speed up the strenght and recovery process in the short-term and further strengthen joints, tendons and ligaments in ways only possible by a shiftling-load type weight, such as sand or water.
It's also important to keep in mind that if you're going through therapy, we're not talking about a lot of weight here. It's about the right amount of resistance needed to faciliate the rehabiliation process.