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10 Exercises Better Than Deadlifts

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I can’t thank you all enough for the extremely kind well wishes so many of you sent me when I announced my surgery yesterday! Means a lot and I promise you I will as the immortal words of Arnold go, “I’ll be back!” 

Believe it or not, my surgery was cancelled five minutes before I was suppose to under, nice huh? So, I had some additional time to think and reflect. Don’t know if that is a good thing, but I often do like spending most of my time looking forward and a little bit looking back;) 

Yesterday’s post did show my tendency to look back on mistakes, things I wish I would have done differently. The truth is that these experiences are pretty necessary for our development. I have begun saying, “if you aren’t willing to be wrong you aren’t willing to grow!” I really do believe that as 20 years has shown me a lot of ways of being both wrong and right!

I’ve already been planning on what I would be doing when I am cleared to train again (too bad it is about six weeks:(. To be honest it isn’t going to be all that different. Remember yesterday I reminded you and myself about the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over again expecting a different result). 

In all honesty I hear it all the time! Coaches that have gone through major surgeries or injuries, only aiming to get back to what they were doing BEFORE! While some think that might be toughness, I am sorry, that is really stupidity. 


Not too many get to see a good internal view of what heavy lifting for over a decade does to their body. Yea, we hear the good things like building bone density, but the break down is rarely spoken about. That is why the 5-7 years I had to work so much harder to hold off the damage I did for the decade before. 

With that meant really looking at how the body moves, being honest about my weaknesses, and truly reminding myself of thinking in terms of “movement and not muscles.” 

Specifically I am talking in regards to posterior chain (how the hamstrings, glutes, and low back work together) and core strength. Strength coach, Dan John, has long said “as you get older, you have less bad reps in you.” Of course none of YOU fit in that category right? You are too young, you have lots of bad reps left in you, right? Here is the truth, once a bad repetition causes an injury, that is like aging a few years at a time. The reality is most of us that have been lifting for any period of time have a lot fewer “bad reps” in them than we think. 


Every year when I go to conferences I see a lot of the leaders in the industry thinner, leaner, and well, a bit smaller. I ask them what they have been doing and almost to a man, they talk about not being comfortable being bigger, feeling too beaten up, you know, probably what you are feeling a lot of right now as well. You can see it even in the most hardcore of individuals that go through unexplainable cycles of “bodyweight training” to focus more on their “athleticism” which is generally code for “I beat myself too hard recently.” 

For a lot of us, I hope today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training video and blog comes at the right time. Now, the title of “10 Ultimate Sandbag Training Exercises Better Than The Deadlft”, might just sound like creative marketing. Let me explain why these drills are anything but that!

Yes, the deadlift works your core, it works your posterior chain. However, the deadlift should be your starting point down the path of hip hinging drills. Why people are able to lift such great loads in the deadlift also make it a lot more limiting than they would think. 


-It generally has the feet in our strongest and most stable lifting position.


-The weight always moves in line with our body’s movement.


-The speed is typically done slowly.


-The weight is almost always stable.


-We hold the weight through the center of mass so it moves as we move.

Why are any of these issues? Well, they wouldn’t be if we say the deadlift merely as a starting point rather than the end. If you look at today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills you see we begin to work many of the aspects that the deadlift does not. 

Before any of you deadlift cynics start in on how this isn’t close, I ask you to look back at what makes a deadlift. We begin in hip flexion and move into hip extension. When we go and start many of our step-up or lunge variations we start in hip flexion and move into hip extension, hmmmmm. Sound familiar. 

I know, you can’t lift as much! Well, that is kinda the point, no not to allow you to lift, but rather identify what is keeping you from being strong in all aspects of your movement. Here is what you will find in some of today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training exercises….


-Resisted trunk flexion and rotation.


-Movement not just up and down, but in all directions.


-Strength in the lower leg and foot complex that will impact your hips and core.


-You can’t simply muscle through these lifts, you have to have the proper timing and coordination.


-The deadlift hides many of your mobility issues, these drills will IMPROVE your mobility!


-We get to work on acceleration and deceleration, something most take out of the deadlift.


Sound pretty good? Then hopefully you will make MORE of these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills the cornerstone of your training!

Want to find out more on how to progress your functional training? Check out our NEW DVRT Coaching program HERE