The standard Bulgarian Bag protocol involves four movements; the spin, the snatch, the arm throw, and the pushup. These exercises are combined in a circuit of ten repetitions each for four rounds. Beginners can elect for three sets, while advanced users five; however, the standard protocol is a great way to become familiar with the Bulgarian Bag and reap some of the benefits it was designed for.
4 Rounds of:
Spin (10 each direction)
Use the power of your hips to propel the bag around your head, bending your arms at the top to keep the trajectory of the bag close to your body. Straighten your arms fully at the bottom to allow the bag to gain full momentum for the next spin. Stability of the core is a must for this move, as well as speed. Don’t try to force the bag around only with your arms, but allow the bag to fly, while you counteract the force of the bag with your core and hips.
Snatch (10 reps)
Stand with a wide enough stance so the bag can fit through your legs. Think of hinging at the hips as you would with a kettlebell swing, lightly tapping the bag to the ground before you explode it up overhead. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstring at the bottom of the Snatch. When the bag reaches your eyes on the upswing, aggressively push up with your arms as if you were pressing the bag overhead. This will tame the arc of the bag and prevent it from hitting you in the back of the head.
Arm throw (10 reps)
The arm throw is all about lateral movement. With the bag resting on your back, uncoil your body and throw the bag at your opposite foot. When you transition from one side to the other, finesse the bag onto your other shoulder and reach your butt back as if you were sitting on a chair.
Push Up (10 reps)
Keep your arms in close and your core tight. As you descend, squeeze your elbows close to your body, think as if you are in side control and must stay tight the whole time. Maintain this position and you ascend to the top position as well.
Try this circuit for a mix of classic and Bulgarian Bag specific exercises:
4 Rounds of:
Squat 12 reps
Press 12 reps
Curl 12 reps
Plank Drag 12 (6 each arm)
Spin 10 each direction
This is a very functional move that will transfer well to the jiu-jitsu mat. Maintain a plank or push-up position as you reach underneath your body for the bag. Pull the bag along the ground while keeping your core extremely tight. Do not allow your hips or body to turn, but keep everything facing the ground. Do not allow your hips to come up or sag, maintaining a plank position the entire time.