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

Athletic Based Ultimate Sandbag Training

Wow! That’s a lot of “stuff” to fit into your workouts. Don’t worry, you will be able to cover several of these patterns at once. For example, a Shoulder Squat is a Squat, but it is also anti-rotation; and a Clean and Press is a hip hinge, anti-extension/flexion of trunk and vertical pushing/pulling.

That’s why it’s important to select exercises that give us the biggest “bang for our buck” and minimize working the body in isolation. Also, you will not perform all these movements in each workout, but instead alternate them from workout to workout. The great thing is that this allows us a ton of variety, but more importantly purposeful progression within each section.

Typically, we select 4-6 exercises that cover as many of the patterns as possible. The more patterns an exercise covers, the fewer exercises we perform. That is why bodybuilder programs have so many exercises—because they address things individually rather than how the body naturally functions.

How Heavy Should I Go?

This might be the biggest question I receive during 10 years of teaching the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training program. It is a good and rather obvious one. After all, we typically think in terms of how much weight we are moving. Unfortunately, this is where things get slightly complicated.

Ultimate Sandbags have not only load but dimension. Therefore, we need to think not only how heavy, but how large a sandbag to use. That is one of the major issues creating the Ultimate Sandbag solved for programs: how do you standardize something that can be so variable?

There is also the issue that we are not going to change the weight all that much. Due to the time it would take from set to set, we will generally have some sandbags at standard loads, which are based on the experience of working with thousands of people from different backgrounds. Although you can alter these loads for yourself, I highly recommend starting with these recommendations.

ultimate sandbag training

Besides nice looking colors the changing dimensions give a different way of progressing your DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

You will notice that we use a stoplight system created by DVRT Master Chief Instructors Steve Di Tomaso and Kari Negraiff of Envision Fitness in Maple Ridge, BC. The goal of the stoplight system is to make what seems complex very easy. Instead of trying to get your sandbag to 52.5 pounds, you know if you are using a Yellow Strength sandbag, you are using a weight that is right for you.

Green typically refers to a lighter load for a beginner or more complex movement. Yellow, more intermediate, and Red, of course, more advanced.

Color/ Size of Ultimate Sandbag Core Power Strength Burly
Green 10 pounds 20 pounds 40 pounds 80 pounds
Yellow 15 pounds 30 pounds 50 pounds 100 pounds
Red 20 pounds 40 pounds 60 pounds 120 pounds

I understand this is more complicated than aiming for that 225-pound Bench Press or 405-pound Deadlift. However, it really isn’t complex, just new to most athletes. Once you become familiar with the concepts, you will pull a Homer Simpson “doh!” and see how singularly focused your training has  become. DVRT is a more holistic view of building strength. Getting used to it takes time, but can be well worth it.

Putting the Puzzle Together

Training variables such as exercises, loads, sandbag dimension, reps, rest intervals, etc. are all pieces of the puzzle. The sandbag workout is the puzzle thoughtfully put together. Just like a puzzle, if you put the right pieces together, you get something really special. On the other hand, trying to jam misshaped pieces into a puzzle gets you a giant mess.

Let’s go over how we can construct some sandbag workouts and then build layers to them for more advanced programming.

Workout A

Exercise Size Weight Sets Reps Rest Interval
A1. Shoulder Lunge M: StrengthW: Power M:Yellow (50#)W:Yellow (30#) 3-4 6-8 per side 45 seconds
A2. Clean and Press M: BurlyW: Strength M: Green (80#)W:Yellow (50#) 3-4 4-6 45 seconds
B1. Bear Hug Squat M: BurlyW: Strength M:Green (80#)W:Yellow (50#) 2-3 10-12 30 seconds
B2. Lateral Drag M: PowerW: Power M:Yellow (30#)W:Green (20#) 2-3 4-6 per side 30 seconds
B3. Around the World M: PowerW: Power M:Yellow (30#)W:Green (20#) 2-3 12-15 per side 30 seconds

Workout B

Exercise Size Weight Sets Reps Rest Interval
A1. Front Loaded Rear Step Good Mornings M: StrengthW: Power M: Yellow (50 #)W:Yellow (30#) 3-4 5-6 per side 45 seconds
A2. Chin-Ups Body weight or added load 3-4 4-6 45 seconds
B1. Shoulder Staggered Squats M: BurlyW: Strength M: Green (80#)W:Yellow (50#) 2-3 5-6 per side 30 seconds
B2. Shoveling M: PowerW: Power M: Yellow (30#)W: Green (20 #) 2-3 10-12 per side 30 seconds
B3. Half Kneeling Arc Press M: StrengthW: Power M:Yellow (50 #)W:Green (20#) 2-3 6-8 per side 30 seconds

Workout C

Exercise Size Weight Sets Reps Rest Interval
A1. Rotational Cleans M: BurlyW: Strength M: Green (80#)W:Yellow (50#) 3-4 5-6 per side 45 seconds
A2. Front Loaded Fists Squat to Press M: BurlyW: Strength M:Green (80#)W:Yellow (50#) 3-4 10-12 45 seconds
B1. Rotational Lunge M: PowerW: Power M: Red (40#)W:Green (20#) 2-3 8-10 30 seconds
B2. Kneeling Press Outs M: PowerW: Power M: Yellow (30#)W: Green(20#) 2-3 5-8 30 seconds
B3. Grip Curls M: PowerW: Power M: Red (40#)W:Green (20 #) 2-3 10-12 30 seconds


View this post on Instagram


I didn’t know how to do it, I was really just guessing. Like probably a lot of young coaches, creating programs that I knew were thoughtful, progressive, and effective was something that I didn’t really feel comfortable with when I began my fitness career. Unlike today, back 25 years ago, information wasn’t nearly as abundant. Now, the challenge is finding trustworthy resources to help guide the next generation in doing better than we did when we began. ___________ That is why my passion lies now in teaching those that really want to make a difference how simple, but also thoughtful, good programming can be to create. First, if we just focus on the 7 foundational human movements (squat, hip hinge, lunge, push, pull, rotation, locomotion) we will be ahead of 95% of the industry that still sees much of the body as a mish mash of parts which couldn’t be further from the truth! ___________ Once we embrace the idea that movement patterns do truly the best job of blending the software (our nervous system) with our hardware (joints, muscles, ligaments, etc.) we are well on our way to actually help! From there, we want to think about how do we position the weight on our body and the stance we take. This starts to teach how we can use weight for more than just a way to stress an exercise, but to teach HOW to create better movement. ___________ Creating specific tension against the weight (as I show in the squat, the side plank, and front loaded good morning) that gives me core stability that allows me to express greater strength and better stability. Having these changes to my stance as well as the load position which brings in the 3 planes of motion we often neglect. Why? Because what muscle do we use when we have to resist force? A LOT of them! __________ As you can see in the last slide, our body is not meant to work in isolation. Training in our #DVRT system doesn’t take away from building muscle, in fact, I’d argue we train way MORE muscles creating programs in this manner. Muscles you didn’t even know existed, but are so powerful for how we move, perform, and gain resiliency. _________ Amazing work @thesandmaven !!!

A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt) on

Coach Lina Midla shows us how we can use these concepts into very practical DVRT workout programs. 

Reading the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Workout Program

This program is meant to be done three days a week to introduce you to the movements and the unique loading of the Ultimate Sandbag. As with most new programs, doing more is not always better. Become proficient in your technique first. Because instability will require some learning, getting better is a big thing.

You can use a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, or any three-day schedule that works for you. However, I recommend you don’t perform it on back-to-back days. Since we have alternated priority in movement patterns in the workouts, it would not be the end of the world if this happens, but allowing for recovery is always a good idea.

The letters and numbers by each exercise refer to the order and grouping of exercises. Exercises marked “A” are to be done together. The numbers refer to the order of the movements. To make it easier at first, the workouts are organized so the first series is a superset, the second series a triset. This means you will perform the A1 exercise, rest the recommended amount, then perform A2. You will alternate these until the total number of sets are completed, then move to the “B” series.

Sets and repetitions offer ranges. This gives you another factor besides load to measure progress. If you can perform all the sets and highest number of repetitions, you can go to the next light in the Ultimate Sandbag series (e.g., green to yellow, etc.) or move to another size.

The workouts have been created not only to hit all of the movement patterns and demonstrate the relatively simplicity of DVRT sandbag workouts, but also to expose you to some of the unique variations and loading on the body that these types of workouts offer.

Please use the videos of each workout as a reference. The workouts will be new to many. But I am very confident that as you get to perform these sandbag workouts, you will love the benefits and get a lot of enjoyment from learning how diverse but purposeful your movement can be in training.

After you complete 4-6 weeks of these workouts we you will be ready to enter the next phase of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. Check out how real athletes and strength coaches are using DVRT for their training and don’t miss saving 25% ALL throughout our DVRT site with code “save25” HERE