I think it is the idea of functional training that throws most people off. In many ways we have really two ways of looking at the idea of functional training. However, either way I think you are going to see these 3 DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises are great representations of both!
The most common way people look at functional training is actions that we do in every day life. The tough part with such a philosophy is that it really leaves the door way open for SO many things and makes it tough to build progression because sometimes the right exercise don’t look like things we do in life.
On the flip side, we try very hard to justify classic gym exercises as functional. People tell me all the time that Olympic lifts are very functional and they are good for developing general power. However, people get so specific about the techniques they stop looking like anything that really happens in life.
That is why when I talk to someone like Firefighter Captain, Jordan Ponder, we try to look at functional training in many ways. He agreed that much of what we classically do in the gym, for example, looks very little like what happens on the job of a firefighter. Learning to lift awkward objects, having to do so in compromised positions, and more is actually what much of their lives look like. That is why Captain Ponder had come up with Lap Up Clean.
You might think of all the Ultimate Sandbag exercises we show this may look so out of place. Yet, in reality, when you think about it, rarely do we lift objects in life like in the manner we do in the gym. That is because life is not perfectly balanced, stable, and predictable.
That also leads be to two of my favorite types of Ultimate Sandbag exercises that we just don’t seem to talk a lot about, Bear Hug and Shouldering (or what I am calling more and more the Firefighter Clean after talking with Captain Ponder).
So, why don’t we talk about these Ultimate Sandbag exercises more? They take a bit more caution than most people give them credit. For one, because of their very low starting point, the mobility of a lot of people doesn’t allow them to do it well. That doesn’t mean you can’t do them, but you need to be aware if elevating the Ultimate Sandbags are required for proper lifting technique.
The second is a bit more of an issue, that is they work better when the Ultimate Sandbag is more full. The dimensional component of Ultimate Sandbags is rarely appreciated like it needs to be. A very loosely filled Ultimate Sandbag used for such exercises causes the sand to separate and causes an uncomfortable “whack a mole” effect.
Does that mean you can only do these Ultimate Sandbag exercises with heavy USBs? No, Power Ultimate Sandbags are a GREAT teaching tool as part of the reason they have the dimension they do is to help people learn proper form without such a huge emphasis on weight.
Going deeper though, why are these such great movements for functional training? They actually fill BOTH requirements in how we think of functional exercises. Of course you can easily see how both look like actions we would perform in every day life. However, equally important is the other idea of functional training. Teaching the body to work more efficiently by connecting different segments more effectively.
Yes, very simple looking Ultimate Sandbag exercises like these are only successfully performed if you synergistically use the body and connect the entire body as one unit. In that way they give you a TON of feedback upon your form, weaknesses, and what you might be missing in your training.
Try these adding these 3 Ultimate Sandbag exercises to your workouts and see if you have a whole new appreciation for what functional training is really about!
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