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How Ultimate Sandbag Training Changed My Fitness Coaching

sandbag exercises

Ian Vaughn, DVRT Master

Every now and then, I reflect on how I used do things before I got into DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. I remember going through a very weird transitional phase in my fitness career. Anyone that has worked a corporate personal trainer position knows there’s constant quotas, and restrictions to what YOU can really do. My epiphany moment happened when I realized at my first corporate gym I got written up for not doing enough training sessions and then at my second, I got written up for doing TOO many training sessions.

I was told by mangers, I did over 200 sessions in a month and it was the most performed in company history….but “that was too many.” More than half of my clients got re-assigned to newly hired personal trainers with zero experience. I realized if I stayed inside the corporate gym bubble, I was going to be miserable working to be average. So I quit, and questioned what I could do to be even better.

What was progressively working for me is I was coaching methods that many knew about in fitness industry. Guess what, it worked! I learned quickly, people get bored with machines, treadmills, and typical dumbbell movements. So inevitably, I felt the need to continue my skills in that direction not many go in; which was spending more of my time, money, and effort learning from other successful coaches that didn’t follow the conventional fitness trends and thought outside the corporate box. After making the commitment to sign up for the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Level 1 course was one of the best decisions I did for myself and my students. So I not only want to share how it changed the way I coached, but how approached all modalities I trained with.

My DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean & Press Test from 2014. I remember instantly regretting wearing running shoes. Learn from my mistake and go barefoot!  Remember strength comes from the ground up. This simple test taught me a lot how the body works under stress and load. It wasn’t about toughness it was about understanding movement. 

Training with a Philosophy – Not just a tool 

Learning about how the body takes on load and how to get more strength output from body with simple cues is what makes a tool more valuable. Sadly, this isn’t how we are taught to think. It is one of the single most important concepts I took from DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. Understanding how we don’t just apply load to stress the body, but to make us learn HOW to move better is something I never thought about.

The whole idea of fitness is to train with a purpose…to be stronger (like a superhero or warrior that many idolize)? We need to learn how the body and mind responses to certain loads and positions first before randomly grabbing a tool at hand. It why I love the Ultimate Sandbag exercises like Lateral Plank Drag. It takes a basic plank to a whole other level — teaching how the lats and glutes work better synced for MORE core stability? The lats are something that rarely talked about to in corporate or crossfit gyms. Watch this demo to fully understand how the drag can proof HOW you can more maximal strength volume in little time:

More Load for More Strength is Pure Myth

You’d think the Burly Ultimate Sandbag would be the most evil because being the heaviest and biggest USB of the group. While I could make your life a living hell with a Burly…there’s no point in that because more load doesn’t always mean more strength. It is something we are taught to believe in strength training, but science has taught us time and time again that numbers can lie!

While the Burly Ultimate Sandbag is great for sprinter deadlifts/good mornings, bear hug squats, and for the infamous clean & press test (as seen above); you need to earn your progressions FIRST when comes to DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. Before Josh Henkin had me take that DVRT Clean & Press Test with that 100lbs Burly — he taught me how the core really works first with the lats & glutes and then the differences between a squat & hinge pattern. If I had not learned how to setup my body or engage the right muscles before…I would have miserably failed the Clean & Press test.  

All the cues I was taught with the plank, deadlift, squat, lunge and keep my spine neutral in the first couple hours stayed in my head during that “wonderful” 5 minutes test. So what did we do that were instant game changers to up strength in little time? As you saw in the USB Plank Drag tutorial, we didn’t go that heavy and it’s exercises like the USB Birddog and Deadbug that really fried. As a bonus, you can also do this with (or without) the Perform Better mini bands. They give great feedback to engage the glutes more — while flexing and extending the legs with them around the toes:

Training in 3-D DVRT Style

It took me years to realize I’ve been training half my fitness career in such linear planes. Moving back and forth with pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging isn’t horrible for you, but they can stress  out your joints if over done in that plane consistently (it is why runners are usually plagued with knee pain). When I played football, we shuffled left to right quickly on our toes, and pushed & pulled rotationally against our opponents. So why all the sudden when you step in through the gym door do we have to move completely opposite of what we’re training for? Training in 3-D is crucial to build other strength abilities like coordination, stability from the ground up (digging in with the big toes), and balance. So give a solid idea what I’m talking about to feel the difference — try one of these USB 3-D Matrixes best suited for your experience level.

 Beginner USB 3-D Matrix:

Advanced USB 3-D Matrix:

So training DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training style can not get you stronger, but can rebuild your foundations with a new sense of excitement to bring to the table to your fitness regimen. If you like to put everything we just talked about together try this DVRT Foundations Workout:

sandbag training