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Ultimate Sandbag Training for Real Power Development

It looks so easy – almost too easy that you shouldn’t have to spend anytime practicing it. Ultimate Sandbag Training High Pulls is more of an advanced skill than most will give it credit for! I feel a Rodney Dangerfield quote coming on … NO RESPECT.

I’m hear to tell you the high pull (and its many variations) is one of my favorites at Fitness Lying Down. When you learn how to high pull correctly – you will learn power is not about being strong all the time, but at the RIGHT time! This will make your power cleans and snatches in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training so much more efficient & effective.

A common mistake I see made, however, is using too much arms, trying to muscle the USB up in the air. Now this power movement becomes nothing more than a bodybuilding upright row and the high pull & upright row are two very different exercises with different purposes! Muscling the Ultimate Sandbag will inevitably lead to painful shoulders and problematic elbows, too.

Remember how I said power is not being strong all the time, but at the right time? Think about the popular kettlebell swing, when finishing the swing at the top is the kettlebell’s bottom pointing forward or down? Anyone with common sense will tell you it’s pointing forward. And why is that? Because being strong at the right moment with the hips, not the arms, allows the individual to POP the kettlebell up, making it “weightless” at the top position. If the kettlebell’s bottom were facing down – that would have been an arm exercise, resulting in being excommunicated from the kettlebell community!

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Using the power of the hips and pressing through the ground is a concept important in kettlebell swings. We will use a very similar concept in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. 

So, even though our DVRT Kettlebell Swing equivalent is the MAX Lunge, I think you may see some similarities on how to perform the USB High Pulls with the swings. Just like the POP needed with the hips at the right time using the kettlebell, learning to “jump” the USB up the body using the hips at the right time also, will cause the USB to float up close to the body becoming weightless at the top. 

The arms only responsibility during all of this is to guide the USB up the path it currently is on through the hips’ extension. Remembering to pull the handles apart will create more extension through the upper back and that’s always a good thing!

One more error that needs to be addressed with the high pull is the eccentric phase of the movement, the going down part. After the USB has experience weightlessness, gravity is going to want it back and the USB needs to safely return back to the starting position with no slack in the handles or arms. 

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Like the kettlebell swing we can tell the success of Ultimate Sandbag Training by the float that is created. You see on the right a picture of when you use way too much arm and shoulder and don’t project the weight up! 

Many lose the integrity of their core and come down with a crash at the bottom. Others will catch the falling USB with their arms and both of these scenarios will have negative effects on your shoulders, elbows, and wrists if continued down that path! If there is difficulty fixing up your these issues with some mindful recognition then you may not be ready for high pulls just yet. My simple advice is to spend some time on performing the USB goodmornings. Hinging slowly on the downward (eccentric) phase of the goodmorning will teach you how to receive the USB with your hips and not your arms – creating a better experience for you and everyone else!

The High Pull in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is really an essential lift. It will not only help you master DVRT drills like Clean to Fists and even Snatches, but will be a great foundation for other implements like Kettlebell swings. The shorter lever arm of the Ultimate Sandbag is a great way to learn how to use the ground, hips, and stabilize the core. All the great essential of functional fitness. Below you will see how we build a solid foundation and progress to more complex versions of the high pull. That doesn’t mean though that you ONLY get better at High Pulls and other power based drills by doing them!

Our Front Loaded Good Morning is a great way to teach power based exercises and you can learn more how HERE.

Learn more about the real power of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training with our DVRT Live Educational events HERE or save 25% on our DVRT online education HERE with coupon code “spring2018” (does not apply to live events).