I just got home from a great weekend presenting at the National Strength & Conditioning Association Personal Trainer conference. Every time I present I think about what are one or two things I really want people to come away with from the presentation. Maybe interestingly enough I never really concentrate with people learning a new exercise. Rather, I want them to understand what our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises provide them. The intent of the movement rather than the exercise itself.
Grateful for the great turn out during my talk on how DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises train glutes and core in natural ways!
That’s why if I have to think about those DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises that get abused in the mainstream I can really think of a great top three list. Sure, there are more than three DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises we could discuss, but if you start changing how you think about these three, I am convinced how you see training overall will change significantly!
#1 Lateral Drag
I know I have talked about this drill many times, however, it is one of the most famous and infamous of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Possibly for no other reason than people think the whole purpose of this movement is to transfer the weight from one side of the body to the other.
This is where I try to change how people think, instead of the task (i.e. moving the weight from side to side) think about the intent of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises (how is our body moving the weight). The benefits of all our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises comes from the intent, not the task. Believe it or not that is a HUGE mind shift in fitness.
So, why can’t you just use whatever for the lateral drag? For one, we are using the resistance of the Ultimate Sandbag to challenge your connection to the ground. A major part of the Lateral Drag is how your stance arm and feet stay engaged with the ground. Learning how to RESIST force and maintain alignment while something try to pull you off balance is key in building true functional fitness.
Once you understand that concept you can see that what the Ultimate Sandbag brings is two unique features. The more subtle one is that we can create tension in the handle before we start moving. That allows us to engage the body to teach it how we are going to resist the movement. Trying to tell people to not move isn’t the way to achieve the outcomes of these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises.
The second is that the dimension of the Ultimate Sandbag provides friction on the ground which provides resistance throughout the range of motion. Trying to use a kettlebell or dumbbell has very small points of contact and you don’t get anything NEAR the same resistance or “drag” that you do with the Ultimate Sandbag.
You can tell most coaches really don’t know the purpose of these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises in the way they describe an exercise. Fortunately, we have some awesome DVRT coaches that really nail these concepts. Check out how DVRT Master, Elizabeth Andrews, breaks down the RIGHT way to benefit from the Lateral Drag.
#2 Clean and Press
Yes, of all our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises I am often surprised how people miss the whole point because it is a standard in our DVRT Certifications. People often grab the wrong handles (they grab snatch grip versus clean grip) and that immediately causes issues. Why? The reason we have the clean grip handles (neutral grip) is because you can pull apart the handles to create tension in the lats and core. This sets your body up to move better and deal with the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag. It also reduces the “flip” people use on Ultimate Sandbag exercises like Cleans where they miss the power of the vertical pulling actions.
Using the clean grip handles also allows us to practice our movement accuracy. That is a really big missed concept of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Yes, we are training strength, power, and endurance, but the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag also challenges how accurately we are moving, you can’t just outmuscle these exercises.
There are a few other common mistakes, but check out the awesome coaching of with DVRT Master, Troy Anderson on the Clean and Press
#3 Front Loaded Position
Yes, I know Front Loaded position is not any one of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises, but covers many different ones. However, because it is so important I thought we would cover how it impacts exercises like squats, lunges, good mornings, etc.
Again, most coaches look at such a movement as just holding the weight in front of their body rather than the true task of these Ultimate Sandbag exercises in creating tension and stability. The Front Loaded position is our moving plank and like the plank we want to maintain tension during the exercise. When people flare their elbows out or drop the placement of the Ultimate Sandbag it changes the exercise completely!
In many of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises we discuss creating tension against the Ultimate Sandbag to engage the right muscles and not only get a better result, but to take pressure off the low back as well. In order to really illustrate this idea check out the great video by Physical Therapist, Jessica Bento.
The shift in results and mindset people have when they use DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises this way makes the biggest light bulbs go off. They feel better, they move better, and they get better results. That is why the goal of DVRT is not to give you new exercises, but smarter ways to teach your body to move and perform.