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3 Ways to Greatly Improve Your Workouts

Something that I have been inspired by, in what has been a tough few months, is how good coaches have shown that our workouts can still be highly productive, motivating, empowering, effective, and fun even if we don’t have the familiar gym to use. Now that gyms are slowly opening back up, my big hope is that we don’t forget some of those lessons to form powerful workouts. After all, I think having less is sometimes an opportunity to do more.

It took me years when I had my own gym (which I had for over 10 years) to learn that it wasn’t how much equipment you had, but how well you used it. At one point I realized I needed to think about how I was running my gym. There wasn’t one singular event that led to that time of self-reflection. Rather, I was just overly frustrated that I didn’t think I was giving the results to people I believed was possible.

dvrt workouts

You can see just a bit of my gym that had A LOT of “stuff”.

It wasn’t that my clients were complaining or anything, I had many that stayed with me for that entire decade, some even longer. It was me, I just kept looking at what we were doing and when I asked myself the question I think all coaches should ask about their workouts, “am I really delivering the best training possible?”, something in me just said no.

I began to look at my gym with a different pair of eyes. Slowly I walked to every piece of equipment we had (ask Jessica, we had A LOT!) and asked myself questions like…

“What solution does this piece of equipment offer?”

“What does this do uniquely well?

“How many people can use this piece well?”

As well as many others. Quickly I started realizing a lot of stuff just took up space and if there is anything any gym owner can’t replace it is space! The gym started to take a better shape and I started realizing that I had become a coach of equipment and exercises, not methods, concepts, and ideas. This revelation has allowed me to help so many people upgrade their workouts so they can deliver better results. After all, I have found out over the years I was far from the only coach that has gone through this process. So, what are 3 keys to really upgrading your workouts? There are obviously more than 3, but if you can apply these to your workouts you will be inspired to, as Apple said, “think different”.

#1: Train In More Than One Plane!

Most fitness certifications don’t touch on planes of motion. I remember in college talking about planes of motion, but I don’t ever remember discussing WHY this was important! Almost EVERYTHING we do in life is done in 3 planes of motion (sagittal: up and down, front and back, frontal: side to side, transverse: rotation). We can move THROUGH these planes or RESIST them. In walking straight ahead we move through the sagittal plane while resisting frontal and transverse forces. So?


Almost everything I see in the gym is sagittal plane dominant. A point I use in my presentations because when people think about the number of exercises they can use in their workouts there is no short list! Ask them to do the same for frontal plane exercises and that list shrinks A LOT! Here is the thing though, it shouldn’t!

DVRT workouts DVRT

Above is from my upcoming Perform Better presentation where I show when it comes to sagittal plane training our exercises library for our workouts is quite big, while when it comes to frontal plane it shrink pretty dramatically for most people. 

Why does it matter? When we use other planes of motions we build a smarter nervous system can adapt our strength to more diverse situations as well as we activate more muscles. Yes, we have muscles and chains that are designed specifically to optimize the other planes of motion, so we aren’t really accomplishing functional training in our workouts if we don’t address these needs!

DVRT UK Master, Greg Perlaki shows how frontal plane strength training is far more than just side planks, lateral lunges, and maybe carries. 

As you can see adding in other planes of motions to your workouts shouldn’t be that overwhelming as these DVRT drills all display the use of other planes of motions from subtle to more profound ways!

#2 Movement Patterns

I am far from the first that has used the saying, “train movement, not muscles”. What does that mean though? We should understand that our body is designed to perform movement not individual isolated muscle actions. Does this mean when we focus on movement we don’t train muscles? Absolutely NOT! As I wrote above in point #1 we actually TRAIN more muscles. You see this is a MAJOR mistake people make about their functional training workouts, they think they won’t train the muscles they want to develop, but the whole point is we do so more effectively and efficiently!

sandbag training

One of the things that I am most proud of in DVRT is that we teach these concepts through our workouts. In many other instances one movement pattern is emphasized WAY more than others. For example, in the kettlebell world the “Big 6” movements are swing, snatch, double squat, clean and press, and get-up. If you break that down, their focused six exercises have 4 hip hinge elements, 3 have a push, 1 squat, 1 lunge, 1 rotation, and 1 gait. That means no pulling and a severe imbalance in the 6 movements. That is why in our Progressive Kettlebell Movement certification we tried to give much more balance to the movements (you can check it out here). However, it is just one of those things where the tool of the kettlebell demonstrates the most versatility in hip hinging. Yet, our goal even then should be to find balance in our workouts and you rarely find that.

In our DVRT workouts we try to give equal attention to the movement patterns. No matter the tool, you should be looking to strike balance in your training. If you don’t see a movement pattern in one workout that is okay, just make it a priority in the next. All of a sudden you have a program that is well balanced so you are more injury resilient, you become stronger faster, and you move so much better!

#3 Have A Very Thoughtful Warm-up

Time is ALWAYS the biggest obstacle for the majority of people I work with in their workouts. Even fitness professionals, who love to workout, find when they actually see an increase in their business it can be hard to fit their workouts. That is even with people that LIVE in a gym! It shouldn’t be a surprise then that when it comes to trimming workouts people often sacrifice their warm-ups in the process. They want to give more focus to the training they believe will accomplish their fitness goals more.

I get it, heck, I’ve done it. You know what happens every time I do so? I hurt more, I recover slower, and I don’t get to my goals faster. Don’t get me wrong, your workout doesn’t have to be 30 minutes long. If you are thoughtful about what you are doing, then you can prep your body fast and well! That is what people like strength coach, Martin Adame, does so well with our DVRT Restoration ideas!

So much of the core training we show for our DVRT workouts are great ways to get you moving better and use that time for your warm-up in a smarter way as DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki demonstrates below.

If you can use these 3 ideas I am positive that your workouts will become more efficient, smarter, more practical, fun, and get you way better results. I know this because it is something Jessica and I practice every week in our own training!

Want to find out more? Save 25% on our DVRT Online Education with code “save25” and you can now apply for payment plans on our DVRT Online Certifications (US students only unfortunately) HERE