account My cart 0
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

5 Toughest Ultimate Sandbag Exercises


Troy Anderson, DVRT Master Instructor (Alpha Kettlebell)


There are two possibilities when most folks read that headline. 

1) How can anything that you can only load to 150 lbs be tough?

2) What’s the point of tough?  I train smart, minimum dose is enough for me. 

I’d first like to address the later: lifting is a proxy for life.

Getting strong is cool and all and it makes for great insta-brag posts. 

Let’s be honest with ourselves doing a set of 1, 2, 3, or even 5, really isn’t that tough.I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time, that ‘life only threw me 1 curveball’.  

[ If you’ve followed Josh’s story life doesn’t just throw you one back surgery it can and just might throw you 3 back surgeries in 4 weeks. ] 

If we are going to be resilient in life we’ve got to be prepared and able to take punch after punch and be willing able to get up and take another.   

I’m sorry to break it to you, minimum effective dose is setting you up to be a one-punch chump. 

If you aren’t interested in being a one-punch chump stick around and we’ll try to fix that.  

In regards to the former:  there are some seriously strong dudes that are starting, stand up and take notice when it comes to using Ultimate Sandbags for strength work.  

Now these dudes aren’t happy about having to use a ‘light weight’; but even the most puny Ultimate Sandbag have the capacity when used effectively to ‘suck the strength from your soul’. 

But to their be grudging credit these strong dudes, are add sandbag training to their current strength regimes. 

They are missing T-strength, the type of strength that can:

– help you have the fortitude and capacity to thrive during a 1 RM workout,  after a sleepless night and stressful day.


– recover from potentially paralyzingly back problems and get on a plane days after surgery. 

Now your needs might now be the far end of the spectrum as my examples but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that you are going to have some ‘tough things happen to you this year’. 

You can either be ready to:

– curl up in the corner and take a ‘mental health day’ 


– you can drag your haggard ass off the mat and kick life in the cajones 

That is my exact goal with these 5 excercises today,  Helps You Kick Life in the Cajones 

#1 – Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press:  best way to use this drill for toughness is 50 reps in 5:00, it’s a cornerstone of the DVRT vetting process.  Pick a weight you can NOT complete the first time you attempt this. (yes, this is different than our DVRT certification standard on PURPOSE!)


Coach “Dos” has proven it is impossible by getting 40 reps with a 130 pound Burly! That’s impressive!

#2 – Ultimate Sandbag Get-up:  Way more accessible than a kettlebell get-up, due to not needing to put a load on the end of a lever and the ability to use proper physological rolling patterns.   The best way to use this drill  is a double ladder for time.  I’d suggest (each side) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 set a time cap of 10-30 minutes and try to reduce your time each attempt. 


Coach Dos makes sure ALL his athletes have real world strength and resiliency!

#3 – Ultimate Sandbag Up/Downs w/Press:  If you are weak, imbalanced, or have poor mobility it will show up here.  This just about as pure a strength drill as there is.   Set a 10-15 min time and get as many reps as possible done,  do more next time. 


DVRT Master, Annmarie Licatese, has a great blog coming up on why the Up Down is a MUST go to!

#4 – Ultimate Sandbag Good Morning:  Probably the most subtle of the five; but there is just something sinister about how the sandbag Good Morning challenges both the anterior and posterior sides of the body simultaneously.  If you’ve been itching to chase some load this might be your drill.  We are just going to go classic straight sets start with 8 sets of 5 and then add a rep to each set for 4 weeks of programming. 


You will be surprised how many things the Front Loaded Good Morning carries over to, like kettlebell swings!

#5 Ultimate Sandbag Ground to Shoulder Squat:  It’s doesn’t get more primal than ripping a weight to you shoulder then squatting back down with.  There’s some technical nuisance to this beauty; but end of the day you need have strength and power.   We are going to go classic programming every minute on the minute, EMOM.  Start with 10:00 at 5 reps a minute, then go 15:00 at 5 reps a minute, 15:00 at 7 reps a minute and then 10:00 at 10 reps per minute.


Real world strength in action at the renown, Gym Jones, training center 

I don’t if I’ll convince anyone from either of the two groups above to join the Tough Minority.   But if you are interested in filling your ‘toughness cup’ and being just a little more prepared for the ‘sucker punches’ that life is bound to throw your way.  I invite you to try using one or more of the toughness 5 during your next month of workouts.  If this article can help just one person, be just one minute tougher then I’ll have done my job.  

Love hearing about how to build honest, real world strength? Then don’t miss our LAST DVRT program of the year at the renown Results Fitness HERE