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3 Things Sandbags Suck At In Workouts

Since we began DVRT 16 years ago, I have had google alerts set up for anything “sandbag training” or related. That means if there is an article about sandbags in fitness I usually see it. To be honest, they are pretty infrequent and not worth talking about. However, with this pandemic and people training at home way more, I am seeing way more alerts in regards to sandbags and workouts. A lot of it is VERY bad which gave me the idea of NOT telling you how awesome Ultimate Sandbags can be for your training in this blog, but what they suck at. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t recommend Ultimate Sandbags for everything!


Kettlebell Swings

One thing Jessica and I have found after teaching in over 13 countries is that if we leave some Ultimate Sandbags alone in an empty room, someone will come in an inevitably start doing some kettlebell swings with them. Why not, right? As I have long said, the best tool to do kettlebell swings with is a kettlebell. Why?

A kettlebell is basically one unit, yes, it has a handle and the metal ball but it has been welded together. That means the whole kettlebell moves as one unit. However our Ultimate Sandbags are carefully stitched pieces and this lends itself to being very useful in many exercises and cues, but makes it horrible for kettlebell swings! Having those separate parts creates a “rebound” effect that is terrible for your elbows, shoulders, neck, and low back. Yes, that means those sand filled kettlebell “things” are just as bad because they aren’t the singular unit the kettlebell is made of.

DVRT Master, Paige Fleischmann shows that while Ultimate Sandbags don’t work well for kettlebell swings, they can allow us to progress the swing in more complex patterns like rotation and resisting rotation in Shoveling and MAX Lunges!

Back Squats

I’m the first one to admit that we made some mistakes in our early years of DVRT. There was no book to follow so as we were writing it in regards to how to optimize Ultimate Sandbags, we fell on our face a few times. However, something that was quickly apparent to us from the get go was that Ultimate Sandbags were pretty terrible for back squats and honestly, anything where we put the low on our upper back.

Why? You see it all the time right?

I’m not a huge fan of putting weight on your back, but if you ARE going to do so, it is commonly taught that the barbell will sit on a “shelf” that is created in the upper back as you see below.

photo 1 23 - 3 Things Sandbags Suck At In Workouts

It is easy to create this platform for the barbell by squeezing the shoulders in this manner. However, Ultimate Sandbags can’t sit on the body the same way. Due to their shape, there is no way for them to sit on the “shelf” this way. That means we either put the weight on our neck (not a good idea) or have to flex forward a lot with our trunk to counterbalance the weight (not good either) as Cam Ward of DVRT Australia shows.

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One of our biggest take homes this coming weekend at the Level 1 #certification will be demonstrating the system standards. Like the #barbellsquats a standard of and not just another way of #olympiclifting, our #frontloadedsquats are a standard to the #dvrt system. #why don’t we load the #sandbag on our back. Apart from the obvious head forward, #buttwink, collapse of upper back. Loading the #ultimatesandbag in a front loaded position activates more core, pulling apart the #usb fires lats to work with the glutes and hey presto #nobuttwink. #dontbacksquatasandbag it’s not a bar. #spartanrace #spartan #squats #squatchallenge #strength #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning

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This is REALLY important for us to share with you because if our goal was to JUST sell you Ultimate Sandbags, we wouldn’t care HOW you used them. We want you to achieve your goals through their use and that means using them smarter as Cam shows! If you think that limits you in how many ways you can squat with our Ultimate Sandbags, Enrique Ceniceros and Joel Guneterman show you that isn’t the case at all!

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Is it impossible? All of us are home trying to do the best workouts possible, but we don’t have a lot of equipment. So, is it possible to use exercises like squats and still get really strong? If we have the right thought process and system to what we are doing the answer can be a resounding YES! That is why we are so adamant about our #DVRT system. Simple ideas that can be powerful solutions. When you see what @precision_movement and @joelgun10 show you will see how possible it is to get strong with limited equipment. If you don’t have a roller stand like Joel has think of using your couch, a short stool, in other words there are many options you have at home to still use these great strength training ideas! ______________ ➡️Check out why these 8 DVRT squats represent an opportunity to make your home training the best workouts you have done yet!. Go to the 🔗 in our BIO for the full article of great squats to add to your home workouts!

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Throwing and Slamming

I decided to lump these two together as they are often done by the same person. For many years I have had people ask me if they can throw or slam our Ultimate Sandbags and my first response is always, “what are you trying to accomplish?” I’ll be 1000% transparent, the only response I have ever gotten was “because I want to bash something!” Well, if that is your goal I am going to suggest that Ultimate Sandbags aren’t for you, to be honest, there isn’t a lot of equipment that is then.

However, if you are in the camp that wants to develop “power” well, we have a host of great ways to develop power. You can clean to bear hug, front load, fists, you can clean off-set, shoulder, and even snatch. When we combine those to movement based drills there are plenty of ways to develop great power with Ultimate Sandbags that keep you and the implement healthy!

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4 Drills For Deceleration Strength!⠀ ⠀ What is deceleration strength? ⠀ Within this post I simply try to refer to the ability to ‘catch’ the weight. In other words to absorb force. ⠀ ⠀ Why is that important?⠀ A lot of people have issues with the kettlebell swing because the inability to receive the load that is coming down. ⠀ That’s where most injuries occur. ⠀ ⠀ 🏋️‍♂️This can be trained and should prevent most injuries. Here are a couple of ways to practice this ‘catch’. Note that there are two different hip hinges with an exercise called High Pull. One of them is a Frontal Plane movement with a slider and the aim is to load one leg/body more where the power is literally coming from the ground up 🔥 ⠀ I need to use my hips to hinge and do a powerful hip extension to drive the USB up. The control is in the hands pulling the handles apart and that helps to keep the lats and core tight maintaining a good plank. ⠀ ⠀ 🏋️‍♂️Same thing happens with the Rotational High Pull where this catch happens on both sides of the body, doing a pivot and also extending the hips with the High Pull. ⠀ ⠀ 🏋️‍♂️Another way to practice similar pattern is using our MAX Lunge and I think it was @coach_dos who invented this kicking the @ultimatesandbag forward in the MAX Lunge and what it does it teaches the body how to absorb that force just as in the High Pulls and #kettlebellswing ,the only difference is that the load goes to the outside of the body. This drill can help to get better receiving the weight and train motor control, deceleration, it’s 3 planes of motion and integrates the body to create more power using the glutes and core together. ⠀ ⠀ 🏃‍♂️Lastly, deceleration can happen when we do a Drop Step Lunge. Don’t overlook this one, although it’s foundational yet teaches frontal plane stability and we need to decelerate our own body weight while keeping a plank with the sandbag. The load here helps to keep the core engaged and with the right tension against the bag the balance gets easier! ⠀ ⠀ ⠀

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DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki shows quite a few ways we manipulate our cleans while Jessica does the same for snatches below!

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I’ll be honest, even as a higher level athlete, I had never performed any snatches. Back then, during my swimming career, our strength training was outdated to put it lightly. Not having a background in such lifts and being a physical therapist, you would think that I would have great hesitation in such a movement. However, when you break it down, a snatch, can offer so many great functional training benefits. _____________ You might be surprised that I do like the snatch considering a lot of people have issues in their overhead shoulder mobility. Of course I would never suggest a movement if people can not get into the position, but what surprises a lot of people (coaches included) is that we can use that position to unlock mobility (you will want to see our blog today on how) and develop movement skills that actually lead to healthier and more resilient shoulders. All that along with the unique opportunities to teach important concepts of acceleration and deceleration. _____________ I am going to say I am bias towards our Ultimate Sandbag snatches. I know, surprised right? Not because I co-own DVRT (that’s right, we know who the REAL boss is;), but I have seen how it is so much easier to teach people the right movement than most other implements. It isn’t magical, it is because with a few good coaching cues the movement ends up feeling fluid and actually pretty natural. The fact that so many people are limited with how they can train at home with equipment and space, the #DVRT snatch opens up a MUCH bigger world of dynamic strength and resilience. ____________ That is what today’s blog is about as @joshhenkindvrt breaks down one of MY favorite upper body mobility drills and how we use the snatch to teach so much more about well rounded functional fitness! ➡️Check out the 🔗 in our BIO!

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Not only are these BETTER ways to teach power, but they also teach us the essential role of deceleration in producing real world power, strength and injury resilience!

This post isn’t to say you can’t do a lot with Ultimate Sandbags, in fact, there is almost TOO much for a lot of people as Tim Rudd does a great job showing below some of their immense versatility. However, like any tool, you should begin with the why, then the how. There will be times where Ultimate Sandbags aren’t the answer and that is why we created our L.I.F.T. certification (loaded integrated functional training) to show people how kettlebells, bands, suspension trainers, bodyweight, sliders, and Ultimate Sandbags all fit together in a system. Getting results is more than just doing the exercise or workout, but also knowing why!

Don’t forget you can save 25% on all our Ultimate Sandbags HERE as well as our DVRT Online education like L.I.F.T. HERE with code “save25”