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The 3 Best Ways to Get Strong and Injury Resilient

I won’t lie, it was one of the COOLEST experiences for me to date. While finishing up my Exercise Science degree at Arizona State, there was a odd thing happening. A building was going up right on campus. That in of itself is not odd, but what this building ended up being definitely was!

What was this mysterious building? It ended up being what is now known as EXOS. You may not know it, but EXOS is considered not just one of the top training facilities in the US, but the world!

If you were a top level athlete of any sort you went here, if you were looking for the most cutting edge training, recovery, and performance coaching, you went here. You can imagine the impression it made on many coaches, including myself!

You can imagine how excited we were then when we were asked to come and present our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training program to the staff of EXOS. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous. Many of these coaches were extremely well educated and full of practical experience with the best in the world. If there was a hole, if DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training WASN’T what I believed it was, then they would be the ones to tell.

However, I quickly found out I didn’t need to be nervous at all. The staff at EXOS was extremely friendly, inviting, and willing to listen with an open mind. It became a great environment where there was learning happening on both sides. A lot of good exchanges made me want to share with you some really powerful and simple ideas from our experience.

Tension is Strength

One of the most powerful concepts we teach to quickly change one’s strength and how their body feels is to teach how to create tension. Think of creating tension being the means of having a strong foundation to work from. This isn’t exactly a DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training specific concept, rather how we get people to execute it simply is!

Probably the BIGGEST thing that changes how people experience our Ultimate Sandbag is the simple act of “pulling the handles apart”. Why is such a simple action so important? Just pulling the handles of the Ultimate Sandbag INSTANTLY engages your lat and core. So many people fail in creating great movement, or don’t perform their best because they don’t know how to activate the body’s natural support system. Being healthy and strong is a good thing, so make sure to start at the beginning, PULL THOSE handles apart! The engineering that we have done in an over a decade of the Ultimate Sandbag means that it has been truly designed to meet human movement!

Creating tension against an object is important, but EVERYTHING starts from the ground up. So, learning to USE the ground is super important. Whether it is your hands or feet, being deliberate in “grabbing” the ground will completely change the way you move, feel, and perform. Watch the video below to really appreciate HOW to accomplish this.

How much tension you create will change over time. Learning to create A LOT of tension at the beginning of training is important. Over time it will be about creating the RIGHT amount of tension.

Get Your Core Working If You Want Strong Hips & Shoulders

While “core training” is the most popular fitness word that people don’t understand, it CAN drastically change your fitness. The BEST way to train the core is to teach the body how to brace. That feeling of really tightening the body to prevent unwanted movement.

HOW you do this really what is important. There are two ways to get the most out of your core when you are training. Why is this important to the rest of your body? When you stabilize the spine, the brain tells the extremities it is cool to move. That is why many issues in the hips and shoulders are BEST resolved by actually focusing on the core more than stretching these areas.

The first way we want to engage the core goes with point number one. When you really try to create tension from the ground up you go through a series of natural chains in the body that causes the trunk to properly brace. That is why learning how to create tension through an implement and the ground is our FIRST starting point.

The second key is to realize when we are moving we are thinking about continuing to create tension through the weight and the ground. A great example is just holding a dumbbell or kettlebell by your side. If you just hold the weight there not much happens, if you squeeze the handle tightly you notice your shoulder moves, your lat gets tight, and your core starts to brace.

This means that our goal is not to just lift or move the weight, but to use the tension against the Ultimate Sandbag and the ground to create core activation. It can make for a BIG difference as I showed in our post previously HERE

The Greats Stay Open Minded and Evolve

Being at EXOS the coaches could have easily been “know it alls”, and closed off to the ideas we were sharing. However, it was obvious they were open to doing things better for the sake of their clients. That led to some great discussions because there were open minds. Before you write something off, maybe you should take a lesson from the top and realize that our goal is to do better for our clients and our selves for that matter!

The other was the willingness to evolve. EXOS is a great example of a place that has a great existing philosophy. Instead of saying, “we got this”, they wanted to see if there were ideas they could gain to make their training even better. We all end up sometimes seeing something looks problematic, but we don’t actually have a better way of addressing it. Being open minded and willing to evolve puts in a position to be a problem solver more than concerned with being an “expert”.

A very common example (and a cool talking point during our presentation) was the transition from bilateral to unilateral deadlifts. Many know their single leg deadlifts aren’t where they really should be from a form perspective, but what’s the answer? Just going heavier and heavier on the classic deadlift?

Showing the staff our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training hip hinge progressions opened up a whole new way to problem solve for client individual and end up giving a BETTER training program and experience.

Strength Coach, Joel Gunterman, shows how easily you can use these concepts to really prime your body for great work!


While it was cool JUST to have the experience working with these coaches, the true reward was seeing how DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training could be easily inserted into the great work they are already doing. Many sometimes feel like we want them to get rid of the things they already love. That’s far from the case, what we REALLY want do is show how DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training can be part of any great fitness program. Whether you like to run, use kettlebells, perform yoga, or even Crossfit. The “coolness” becomes in seeing the positive results you can offer people with a thoughtful system of fitness that can make them strong and resilient. Isn’t that what’s it all about?!


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