The Bulgarian Bag was invented by Ivan Ivanov at around 2005.
Ivanov, a former Bulgarian Greco-Roman Olympic athlete, was working as a
U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling coach at the Olympic training center
in Marquette, Michigan and was looking for a training tool that would
allow his wrestlers to improve explosive actions and dynamic movements
involved in pushing, twisting, swinging, pulling, bending, rotating,
squatting, lunging, and throwing.
Ivanov was inspired by the tradition of shepherds performing strength
acts with sheep and goats on street fairs in his native Bulgaria. The
shepherds were often forced to carry lambs and weak sheep around their
shoulders when they were wandering with their herds, and were showing
off their strength at festivals. Ivanov based the design of his tool on
the body of an ovine and saw its use as a modern interpretation of the
Although the Bulgarian Bag was initially designed for Olympic class
wrestlers, it came to be adopted by fitness trainers and professional
athletes for its ability to increase muscular endurance and make weight
training more versatile. One of the first advocates of the
Bulgarian Bag outside the Olympic wrestling circuit was fitness
specialist and retired Navy SEAL Stephen Nave. Along with Ivan Ivanov
they formed the International Bulgarian Bag Confederation to educate the
public and offer advanced instruction to individual consumers, personal
trainers and fitness establishments.
shape of the bag created by Ivan Ivanov is designed to achieve both
upper and lower body training.
- Training with the bag is designed
specifically for building strength and overall conditioning by
performing high intensity repetitions with short rest intervals.
- The number of repetitions for each
exercise can be anywhere from 15-30 per set or 30-60 seconds per set
with only 10-15 seconds of rest between each set.
- The sets for each exercise can range
between 2 and 5. Remember, bag training is not about lifting it only
few times per set, it is about pushing through when you are tired and
fatigued. (This is my special recommendation for athletes that have
set high goals within their sport)
Below are the most coming exercises when
building explosive power with the Suples Bulgarian Bag.
Spinning the bag to the right and left,
power snatches, shoulder throw imitation or baseball swings, throwing
the bag over chest - body lock throw imitation, body twists and a few
Long jumps, squats jumps, lunges,
jumping over the bag sideways, scissors with the bag, swing squats,
sprinting with the bag on level surface or on a incline like bleachers
When training for explosive power, you
want to perform 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 15 reps per exercise, with 1 to 2
minutes of rest between sets.
Using the bag during
The bag can
be very helpful as a warm up before physical activity, especially before
weightlifting. Some of the best exercises for loosening up your muscles
are: Spinning the bag, bend over-good mornings, body twists - left to
right , squats, lunges among others.
Based on ability and level of
preparation, each coach or athlete can custom design workouts to
maximize user potential.
1: Heavy Duty Inner Tube (Larin Passenger Tube).
1: 50lb bag of sand.
Heavy Duty Zip Ties
Contractor Cleanup Bag
This has to be one of the easiest pieces
of equipment that I've made (along with sandbags).
Simply cut a small section from the
inner tube (including the nipple).
Roll one end of the inner tube up (start
from the inside out) and zip tie it to create a handle. I
prefer to run a piece of duct tape over the zip tie for added
security and abrasion resistance.
When using a fine material like sand, I
prefer to stuff a contractor quality trash bag inside of the inner
tube to prevent leakage. Fill the bag with sand and tie and
tape it. (When filling my bag, I continued to weigh it until I
came up with 35 lbs.)
Roll, Zip, and Tape the other side of
Some of the plans that I have seen for
these bags use a bunch of tape on the handles. I prefer the
rubberized feel of the inner tube. So rather than purchasing a
quality leather bag for $150-$300... I made this great training tool
for about $20!
The Bulgarian Bag (Suples.com)
40 Exercises with Bulgarian Training Bag