What Is A Bulgarian Bag?

Developed by Ivan Ivanov, a former USA Olympic Wrestling Team coach, the Bulgarian bag is a very unique strength and conditioning tool.

Essentially, it’s a crescent shaped bag filled with sand and made from leather or canvas with a variety of holding handles.

The main handles taper out from the bag and are used for swinging and spinning movements.

The front and side handles are mostly used to build grip strength and perform pressing and pulling exercises.

The thumb crease is the crease that joins the main handles to the bag and gives you the ideal spot to place the thumb when gripping the main handles.

Lastly, the straps which attach to the main handles are used to assist gripping when holding onto the main handles during swinging and spinning movements.

The shape of the bag and it’s handles allow the user to easily swing, rotate and lift through various movement patterns. It can also be gripped, grabbed, dragged and grappled in an almost unlimited number of drills and exercises making the Bulgarian bag an extremely versatile and useful piece of kit.

The crescent shape contours the body perfectly making traditional strength training movements like squats, lunges and good mornings comfortable to perform.

The Anatomy Of A Bulgarian Bag

The History Of The Bulgarian Bag

In 2005 Ivan Ivanov, a former Bulgarian Olympic athlete and USA Olympic Wrestling Team coach developed a training tool that could be used safely on the mat to condition his Olympic wrestlers.
He wanted something that would allow his athletes to increase strength, explosiveness and dynamic movements in all planes of motion that required, pushing, pulling, rotating, swinging, spinning and throwing.

The unique design was inspired by watching the shepherds in his home country of Bulgaria carry small farm animals across their shoulders when wandering with their herds.

In his home country these shepherds would also perform feats of strength and carry goats and sheep at street fairs to show off their strength.

Although the Bulgarian bag was originally designed for wrestlers, it was soon adopted by personal trainers, coaches and professional athletes for it’s ability to build superior grip strength, shoulder strength, rotational power (torque), conditioning and muscle endurance.