5.11 Tactical is well known for their clothing, tools, tactical gear, and now they’ve dived into the tactical fitness aspect with a line of PT gear. They call it the PT-R line, and it encapsulates shorts, shirts, and their latest PT-R Weight kits. When you hear the words weight kit, you might be picturing hefty metal weights in the form of dumbbells, barbells, or maybe even kettlebells. Well, you’d be dead wrong. You see, the PT-R Weight Kit isn’t your traditional weights. Instead, it’s a set of sandbags.
The PT-R Weight Kit comes in two varieties. We have a 50-pound bag and a 100-pound bag. They come in either black or what 5.11 tells kangaroo. Kangaroo is more or less FDE with a fancy name to it. Who doesn’t like Kangaroos?
Why Sandbags and Why the PT-R Weight Kit
Now you might be asking the above and wondering why we’d choose sandbags to help us meet our fitness goals. I think sandbags offer military members an invaluable tool for building and maintaining fight-ready fitness.
First, let’s talk logistics. It’s not easy to bring an entire set of weights on deployment. It doesn’t matter if it’s Syria, Afghanistan, out to sea, or beyond. Even bringing a single kettlebell can be a hassle when you think about all the gear you’ll already bringing. Sandbags like the PT-R weight kit can be emptied and packed into a ruck or seabag and filled with sand, dirt, gravel, or whatever whenever you get to where you’re going.
Embrace the Suck
Beyond the logistical advantages, sandbags offer a challenging workout, and they allow you to conduct some dynamic movements most other weight doesn’t allow. Plus, they can also conduct the traditional, big compound movements with little effort. The constantly changing and shifting weight creates an entirely new challenge that pushes you beyond the convenience of barbells loaded with weights.
For example, I can do 125-pound bent-over rows with a bar and weights for ten reps. With the PT-R Weight Kit, I’m challenged at 100 pounds. It feels entirely different from traditional weight lifting and dropped me within eight reps. Cleaning the PT-R Weight Kit made me realize I couldn’t clean 100 pounds of sand. I had to drop weight for that movement and for several others. I ended up reducing the weight to 70 pounds to ensure I can work out and maintain proper form.
Unlike a traditional set of weights, I can also do more functional workouts with the PT-R Weight kit. I can bear hug the thing and run with it, or throw it over my shoulders and lunge, squat, and sprint without ever putting it down. The shifting sand replicates the feel of carrying a person. Being capable of rescuing an injured buddy is an invaluable skill when you’re in the profession of arms.
The PT-R weight kit also allows you to do a wide variety of movements a dumbbell or barbell can’t replicate. This includes throws, tossing it over your shoulder, and a variant of Turkish get-ups that will tap you out quickly. My favorite is a push-up, and in the up position, I drag the bag across the ground. When I say it’s my favorite, I mean I absolutely hate it, and it sucks, but it certainly works.
Breaking Down the PT-R Weight Kit
I’m using the 100-pound PT-R Weight Kit because I overestimated my own strength when it comes to sand. There is a 50-pound option, and obviously, you can choose to download the weight as I did. My PT-R Weight Kit is rocking seventy pounds of beach sand. The PT-R Weight kits combine three bags total.
You have the main bag, which, as you can see, is covered in handles at a wide variety of angles. This way, you can pursue a variety of movements and do a wide variety of lifts. This bag is made from 1050D nylon that’s durable and strong. I’ve given mine quite the beating, and it’s taken it all without issue. I’ve thrown, tossed, lifted, and dropped the bag hundreds of times by now, and there isn’t even a hair out of place.
The big reinforced handles are easy to grip, wide, and are quite comfortable. They are textured for an easy grip, and they won’t slide in sweaty hands. Their placement makes it easy to do deadlifts, drags, throws, curls, skull crushers, and more.
Inside the bag are two liners—each capable of holding 50 or 25 pounds, depending on which bag you choose. The bags are easy to fill and quite secure with a mouth full of hook and loop. It folds and attaches at various points to secure the sand in place.
The liners also have handles, and you can work out with just the liners for lighter lifts of isolation movements. The combination of the three bags gives you plenty of options for a full-body, butt-kicking workout.
Beyond the Bar
The PT-R Weight kit provides an easily portable option that allows you to perform nearly any kind of movement or protocol you could ever dream of. It provides a new challenge to old workouts, and you can build muscle, functional strength, and cardio with the PT-R weight kit. It’s tough and can take whatever abuse you throw at it. It’s perfect for deployments and perfect for the backyard. It provides an all-in-one gym option while taking up hardly any room. The 5.11 Tactical PT-R Weight kit is an outstanding option, and I’m going to continue to let it kick my butt.