I’ve been fascinated with fitness for 20 years, that’s a long time! Interestingly enough, over the time, my fascination has changed. Very early on I was the classic teenage boy that thought he wanted to bodybuild, then I got really into training for basketball (of course how to get that big time vertical jump that never really happened), moving to how to rehab myself from a few pretty severe injuries thanks to years of sports, journeying into how to get as strong as humanly possible (yea, those good ole’ strongman days), to now just looking for the best way to help others reach their fitness goals.
Why do I share you a rather lackluster story of all the different places I have been with fitness? I don’t tell you that I have been doing this for 20 years to impress that you that I have always been doing it right. Rather, the opposite! I’ve made a TON of mistakes and I want you to hopefully not repeat them. After all, I think that is the best part of gaining wisdom over the years, being able to share it with others.
With that said, I wanted to write something about the beauty we often miss in simple things in training. The things that get overlooked because they don’t sound overly sexy, they don’t make for the best Instagram pic, and they may not get you trending. Yet, they are the things that help you accomplish really BIG goals in your training.
Load Position is a Big Deal!
One of the best parts of traveling the world teaching DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is seeing the number of light bulbs that go off for people when you have them actually experience the concepts we discuss. “Yea, yea Josh, we know, things like load position are great yada, yada, yada, how are you going to get me better!”
No, I don’t think you really DO understand how important, effective, and rather cool the idea of changing load position really is to your training. It isn’t just that changing the load position makes an exercise easier or harder, it is what you learn about your strength, or lack there of, as you do the simplest thing as changing the placement of the load.
I know something like a Shoulder Lunge loses in sexiness to an exercise like our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training MAX Lunge, but man it is great. Being in a lunge by itself is challenging for a lot of people. The unbalanced position, demanding good mobility and stability at the same time is tough in itself. However, for those that are getting good at it, simply apply the load to the shoulder gives a whole dimension. Why? How do these benefits sound?
-A lunge that also has the effects of a side plank for core stability
-A cross pattern that makes our nervous system smarter and actually trains how we move.
-Takes us into working in all three planes of motion giving us true 3-D training.
-Helps us identify dysfunction in specific chains.
Yea, that little thing of just putting the Ultimate Sandbag upon the shoulder and lunging opens up the opportunity to do all that! Simple right?
Keep the Standard Change the Condition
I heard this first from TRX Educational Director, Chris Frankel, after he attended a session by Dr. David Frost of the University of Toronto and it is just pure gold! If I could sum up what we are doing in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training in a nutshell it would be this!
What does it mean? The saying refers to the fact that our goal in strength training should be to keep the standard of the movement (i.e. hip hinge, lunge, squat, press, pull, etc.) and challenge ourselves to maintain the movement under the challenge of different conditions. In essence, that is what applying load does except the amount of excuses people make for moving badly under load is insane! The whole point is that load doesn’t cause you to move badly when you apply it, rather, you still move really well and that is a key sign in appropriate loading.
We do that in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training a lot of different ways. We use it when we apply load, but check out these other ways…..
-Plane of Motion
-Instability of Ultimate Sandbag
So, pick one! Seriously, pick one of these variables next time you train to challenge yourself to keep the standard of your movement. If you were to do that, purposefully add one of these variables into your training you would be surprised not only in how fast you improve, but how far ahead of the general fitness industry you would really be!
It Isn’t What You Lift, But How You Lift It!
Sure, it probably sounds obvious that technique matters. However, I am not just talking about having good technique, but being intentional in how you move and how you move weight. What’s the difference?
Let’s take the simple idea of a deadlift. One can lift it from the ground to standing. They could accomplish the “task” of lifting the weight up, but I care far less about that than if they did the following….
-Did they create tension before they started lifting?
-Did they push through the floor or try to lift the weight?
-Did they have proper core and upper body tension?
-Did they lock out their pelvis at the top of the movement?
You see, lifting the weight is a byproduct of having the right intent of an exercise. What we teach in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training programs is not how to perform a bunch of different “sandbag exercises”, rather how to move at the highest level so you can demonstrate your strength, build instant flexibility, and develop the type of strength that actually transfers outside of the gym. After all, nothing is more embarrassing than lifting a ton in the gym and asking help to open the jar of pickels;)
If you think about how the movement is really performed, if you think about how you lift, not just what you lift your results will accelerate and guess what? So will your ability to train healthy for a very long time!
I told you, SIMPLE! These aren’t crazy concepts, but rather simple ideas that if you actually apply them will put you in the top 10% of fitness. Not in how you look or what you can lift, but in how smart and effective you are with your training!
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