This past weekend was another fantastic first. It was my first time I got to present at the Perform 1-Day conference in Fairlawn, New Jersey. I was along side some industry greats like Coach Dos, Gray Cook, and Brandon Marcello (former strength coach of Stanford and EXOS). Hard to believe the “sandbag guy” was right along many of these top coaches in the business. What I found most interesting was that without knowing it there was a common thread in all our presentations. How do we get people performing faster while feeling better, people were pretty shocked at how Ultimate Sandbag workouts are so much more than they ever thought!
I presented on building stronger and more resilient low backs, knees, and shoulders as I knew this was a topic that is so close to many of us. Not only do we know many clients that suffer from one, if not all of these issues, may fitness professionals/strength coaches do as well!
In order to really get us understanding how prevalent this issue is I wanted to get people to think differently. Typically in fitness we talk about the obesity epidemic impacting our society. There is no doubt when 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight we do have an issue in the U.S. However, it can be a tough call of a chicken or egg situation.
We are in the midst of an pain killer epidemic which may be even GREATER! In 2012 the U.S. prescribed enough pain killers equivalent so that EVERY American adult could have their own bottle. That is insane right?! This is also the first time since 1993’s AIDS crisis that we have a decreased life expectancy. That is why I was questioning if we have an obesity epidemic or a pain one?
It is natural for us when we hurt to not want to train, not make good food choices, and overall have lifestyle issues. So many of us want to attain fitness goals but battle chronic injuries that make us frustrated and feel like we go in circles searching for the perfect workout, diet, and exercise when we have to address the pain aspect.
Of course if there was a simple answer to pain we would solve the worlds problems. There isn’t, but man, I thin there are some easy things we can do to make a HUGE difference. I was reminded of this as we did the hands-on sections that were short 35 minute intervals. In that time I saw people who said they couldn’t lunge, squat, or very commonly, go overhead do so!
It isn’t magic of Ultimate Sandbag workouts, but it is the fact that our program is one of the few truly designed to teach people how the body works. One of the key concepts of our Ultimate Sandbag workouts I taught was progression because most people simply don’t know where to begin.
Staring on the ground is always a safe bet because it is the most stable environment. If we find compensation on the ground, you can almost guarantee we are going to see it in the more complex standing drills. So, we begin Ultimate Sandbag workouts on the ground and our favorite is the Dead Bug.
No, our Ultimate Sandbag workouts didn’t invent the Dead Bug, but we have made them so much better. Mostly by the fact we teach people how to connect the body, especially the shoulder, core, and hips. This chain, if we focused just on that in our Ultimate Sandbag workouts would make a huge difference, is key in almost all movements we perform in life. Some people knew this, but they didn’t know HOW to connect them.
The simple progressions in our Dead Bug series offer us an opportunity to have an immediate impact upon the shoulders, knees, and hips. The key are the little details of grip, pulling handles apart, and keeping the thighs vertical!
From there we can move to our Bird Dog progressions. Yes, I know, we didn’t invent those either! Yet, if we can give the same attention to detail of this drill in our Ultimate Sandbag workouts we will not only help the body feel better, but actually improve our pressing strength at the same time! Yup, do this drill before your push-ups, or overhead presses and not only will you find yourself moving better, you will be way stronger too! I told you these Ultimate Sandbag workouts are pretty cool in that you can do so much in such little time. Sure, you have heard that before other places, but you will feel it the first day!
The fact I got to present in front of Gray Cook who founded “Functional Movement Screen” was pretty cool because he had large influence over our last exercise. Gray brought many therapeutic ideas to fitness professionals, one of the big ones comes from the world of PNF of “proximal stability creates distal mobility.” Translated, the more stable our body perceives itself the more freedom of movement it allows.
How do we create this feeling of stability? The first two drills of our Ultimate Sandbag workouts go a long ways, but this final one almost seems TOO good sometimes. We take the idea that our body is made for diagonal and rotational patterns and use that to instantly see improvements in strength and movement.
Funny enough, Men’s Health recently featured this drill and I’m not sure if people are going to get how good it really is! Now, you can perform what we call lifts/chops with other things like cables, bands, and even medicine balls. However, what the Ultimate Sandbag brings us is the opportunity to create connection through the specific gripping that we perform in the exercise. Grabbing the Ultimate Sandbag itself and trying to pull it apart, creates that connection fo the chains we have been speaking so much about.
I know, this sounds like a Saturday morning infomercial and I’m not promising you will be “fixed” in one shot, but if you even start to use Ultimate Sandbag workouts that put these drills into your program like I show below I DO know you will improve. It all has to go to attention to detail, not aiming for fatigue and of course making sure the rest of your program is in order!
Try doing this as part of your Ultimate Sandbag workouts as a warm-up, a simple circuit that can do so much!
A1. Dead Bugs x 6-8
A2. Bird Dogs x 3-5
A3. Half Kneeling Lift/Chop x 4-6 per side
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