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DVRT for Unleashing Your Kettlebell Training

sandbag training

Ian Vaughn, DVRT Master (Creator DVRT For Real World Strength & Muscle)

In my last blog post (you can read HERE), I broke down my new program: DVRT for Real World Strength & Muscle Volume 2 and one of the workouts in the programming featured is DVRT Kettlebell Training. Don’t get me wrong, the Ultimate Sandbag is used the most in the new program, but I wanted to show how the DVRT coaching philosophy can still be applied to popular tools like the kettlebell. The Ultimate Sandbag is a lot like a cousin to the kettlebell, and while many of their exercises look alike…they often get confused on how the two differ. There’s no need to swing a Ultimate Sandbag like a kettlebell — just as there’s no need to perform a MAX Lunge with a kettlebell. Both are fine just the way they are. 

For many that come from a world of hard style kettlebell training (as I do as well), it may seem foreign to deviate much from the standard six kettlebell drills. Let me assure you though that DVRT isn’t going against good concept of kettlebell training, but rather seamlessly blending together to create a system of movement strength so much more powerful and effective. 

How do you apply DVRT to kettlebells if we don’t place the same emphasis on swings or even goblet squats in DVRT? Remember our coaching philosophy is about being DYNAMIC and not pounding in a screw with a hammer with every exercise.

A great example of taking a DVRT concept like “body position” and applying it to the kettlebell world is the sprinter stance step swing. We’re simply adding a instability challenge now to the kettlebell swing, but not instability just for instability sake. This is what’s called “same standards, different conditions.” Just as in the classic kettlebell swing, you have to hip hinge explosively driving through the feet into the ground (standard). But now alternate the feet in between each swing digging in one big toe to other (condition). This brings in elements of having to produce and resist forces in all three directions of movement. Such training more closely emulates the demands of real life and sport than simply relying on more stable conditions alone. 

Sounds easy right? Don’t knock it till you try it. This is pretty tough to attain a solid rhythm with for even a experienced kettlebell enthusiast. The goal is keep both shin angles vertical —maintaining all the techniques of a good kettlebell swing in a different condition. After all, if we want to say that our training benefits real life, then we should be able to keep good movement standards with an ever so slight change in foot position. 

Typical double kettlebell movements like clean and presses tend to be very linear. While there’s nothing wrong with clean & presses in this plane — the essence of functional training is being able to move in ANY direction. That is a big benefit of kettlebells, the ability to use one kettlebell forces us to produce and resist force again. While this is a great start it definitely doesn’t take full advantage of what we can do combining the kettlebell with DVRT movement concepts like planes of motion. 

Once again, in real life, our most foundational movements require us to move through all three planes of motion. Yet, when it comes to lifting, most never move past the sagittal plane and only hit very linear forms of strength training. While that can build a good foundation, you can quickly see it definitely doesn’t meet our demands of real life strength. 

What can we do? Take the kettlebell clean position into a side lunge, step in, and then clean into a rotational press. While this exercise could also be done with the USB…the major difference is the unilateral stability required on the kettlebell loaded side as you stand tall in the clean position. With the Ultimate Sandbag we create tension by pulling the handles out giving us feedback and some stability to the movement. Without a load in each hand and being able to do the same thing, it makes these kettlebell movements more challenging while the load will often be less. 

Adding in double kettlebell work is one of my favorite ways to build real world functional strength and muscle. In my first edition of Real World Strength & Muscle, I kept the programming simple with just one and focusing on the classic hards tyle kettlebell swing and get-up variations. Volume 2 allows us to graduate to where you’ll not only get a new style of DVRT kettlebell training, but know how to use doubles as well in the programming. 

One of my absolute favorites is the Double Open Kneeling Windmill to Seesaw Presses. The half kneeling position is used a lot in DVRT for good reason. It shows we don’t need a lot weight to expose weakness in vital areas to maintain stability. It is why exercises like the half kneeling arc press are great for resilient shoulders and hips.

Then lastly, we can fuse both the kettlebell and Ultimate Sandbag into one with this Ultimate Sandbag and kettlebell Suitcase MAX Lunge Lunge. Clean the kettlebell first and then squat down picking the USB with the suitcase handle. As the USB revolves around the front during the MAX lunge you’ll find it very challenging to simply maintain a vertical forearm (as the torso resists shifting). Notice in the demo how one foot is mobile (lunging stepping back and forth), as the other remains rooted.

Don’t be silly trying to use a kettlebell for the Ultimate Sandbag during the MAX Lunge portion either. Not only does the Ultimate Sandbag provide a bigger challenge by moving more, if you don’t get off pattern a bit you don’t end up smashing your knee either! Be smart! 

What got so many coaches like myself excited about DVRT wasn’t just what the Ultimate Sandbag could offer, but what the system that Josh created provided us in a better way to attain physical and health goals. Being able to open up meaningful options like we broke down with these tools that are so foundational to learning to moving, feeling, and performing our best! 

 For more DVRT Kettlebell Style workouts check out my new program DVRT for Real World Strength & Muscle Volume 2 on sale along with Volume 1 for 25% off for a limited time with coupon code “spring2018” HERE