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The Truth of Real Core Training

sandbag exercises

This past weekend was much needed. To be very honest I was quite frustrated! A few posts that we had shared on how to build real functional fitness was met with not just a lack of caring, or disinterest, but actual ANGER! People wanted to call them b.s., fake, and even questioned the muscles we were showing were REAL! To me that is pretty crazy especially when we use science to show how core training is really done.

Fortunately, being around legends of the fitness and sports performance industry as well as some really awesome fitness professionals gave me a chance to take a different perspective. I quickly realized that why people got SO upset over our posts was that it was asking them to change and I’m sure even some were immensely frustrated themselves that something as simple as core training was something they had been doing wrong for so many years.

The big reason that so many people roll their eyes, get upset, or even make fun of the idea of functional training is simply because they don’t know how the body functions. That is our industry’s fault for years telling people to work this muscle and that muscle. In all reality people think that working their glutes means putting a big weight on their hips and thrusting, building a better rotator cuff means using bands to rotate their shoulder, and many think core training is simply doing a variety of planks. They aren’t getting how the body is designed to work in life!

I’m lucky to have awesome coaches that DO get it and are trying to change how people see real world strength training. Not because it benefits us, but because it benefits them! This weekend was a perfect example! DVRT Master, Larisa Lotz and I took participants through a series of DVRT progressions of true core training. We built layers of better and more sophisticated movement. Challenging true movement strength aspects and guess what?! We didn’t have to change the weight once and we used only ONE Ultimate Sandbag!


The key is teaching progression and what core training should be about! Our core really serves the purpose of protecting the spine and helping our upper and lower body communicate. If you core training is not working and not building THESE qualities, then you aren’t going to see the difference as you workout, or just in your daily life.

While this all sounds good, the REALLY important part for our core training is to understand how to teach these concepts and how to build layers of more challenging progressions. Sure, load is a way, but man, it his a really limited way since it requires more equipment and little jumps in weight can feel like a TON for many!

Whenever I present on DVRT I think about concepts I want people to take home. One of the big ones is the role the feet and hands in your core. Your glutes, your core, even your shoulders are impacted by the use of your feet. Think about trying to design a strong building on a weak foundation, it just doesn’t work! It isn’t just being barefoot either though, it is trying to use the ground by squeezing and pushing through the floor. If you do this standing, thinking of your feet as your hands would grip you can feel the tension go all the way up the body, including your core!


The same thing happens in the hands. Many people casually hold the weight or just place their hands on the ground with no intent. However, like your feet, you want to grip! When you grip you create a chain reaction down the arm, shoulder, and guess what, your core too! This isn’t magic, but what is known as the law of irradiation. Basically creating tension build a chain reaction through the body. That is why science has found the glutes can be turned off by spraining your ankle and your grip is influences your rotator cuff.

That means we aren’t using the Ultimate Sandbag in these core training movements to just add load. We are doing it to connect the body more efficiently to build better results fast! When you see these Ultimate Sandbag Press Out variations it isn’t just holding the Ultimate Sandbag, but we are trying to rip and pull it apart! That engages the core and lats and gives such a different feel and effect to the movement!

The result? Not only does this type of core training make you “feel” your abs, but you instantly can improve the way your shoulders and hips feel. Time and time again I show these movements and it isn’t about just putting load on the body and when people do it RIGHT it is transformative there and then!

This type of functional training makes the rest of your workout that much better. You want to squat more, deadlift better, or press bigger weight, these core training exercises done before will do that! However, if you want to reduce back pain, help achy shoulders, or understand why your knees often kill you, it all comes back to smarter core training.

Performing functional training like we do in DVRT isn’t about a “sandbag” it is about understanding how the body works so that we create better workouts! Try these drills in your next workout with this type of intent and see the difference!

Want to know about how to use DVRT to transform your training and give you results others can’t match? Check out our DVRT educational events HERE and save 25% on all our DVRT online courses with coupon code “spring2018” HERE

core training