There is little to really argue if squats are good for us, but I want to talk about something different. Are all squats really equal? I can’t tell you how many times I see people post videos of different types of squats. That’s great, but are we too assume all these various squat exercises are the same and we are just doing whichever one we want because we just want to?
Think about that, most are taught to think that if the movement is the same then all variations of the exercise are the same. On some level I get that, but then how do we choose which squat to use or when to use them?
It is admirable that some of have attempted to create such standards but they always fall back to one simple variable….the weight. Sure, it might make sense that we start with a smaller weight and then move to a heavier one, but the reality is that isn’t the full story.
For example, if I take 100 pounds and ask you to hold it in front of you, on your shoulder, or on your back and squat, that 100 pounds is going to feel different in every position. I bring this up because most of us know inherently that the same weight can seem extremely different depending upon how it is applied to our body.
That is why I want to discuss one of our favorite DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Squat variation, the Bear Hug Ultimate Sandbag Squat. I think it is one of the most amazing, powerful, and of course, underrated not just Ultimate Sandbag Squat variations, but squats overall.
Firefighter Captain, Jordan Ponder, shows how Bear Hug Squats can be applicable to so many fitness goals.
Why? Holding the weight in the Bear Hug position does a few crazy things. One of the most obvious is that you get feedback from the weight so interestingly enough, people get WAY better at squatting and take pressure off their low backs and knees because of this simple idea. Not only do they perform this Ultimate Sandbag Squat better and feel better, but they do so with often minimal coaching (which we do want to still coach people up!)
While that might appear enough in of itself, it isn’t exhaust what the Bear Hug Squat does. More subtle is the huge upper body and core activation that actively trying to “rip” the Ultimate Sandbag creates. Like many times we talk about HOW we hold the weight, the Bear Hug position requires us to be very “active” and drive our elbows into our ribs while putting tension against the Ultimate Sandbag.
This allows us to tie in our natural kinetic chains, feel more stable, take pressure off our back, and build full body strength. In fact, Cincinnati Bengals Strength Coach, Chip Morton, has said THIS Ultimate Sandbag Squat builds “Anaconda Strength”. The type that builds whole body strength and resiliency.
Talk about a “bang for your buck” exercise that builds whole body strength, flexibility, conditioning, core, glutes, and resiliency like few others there is one more point!
Coach Morton has an athlete demonstrate the whole body strength that the Bear Hug position creates making it a squat like few others!
Bear Hug Ultimate Sandbag Squat gives us a different weight distribution than let’s say our Front Loaded position or even let’s say a kettlebell Goblet. That different dimension and weight placement (due to the size of the Ultimate Sandbag) actually helps pull us into the right squat position and by making us more vertical allows us to develop incredible lower body strength. Unlike most other weights, when he Ultimate Sandbag gets bigger the movement actually becomes easier to perform!
So, try this Ultimate Sandbag Squat workout that shows you how simple things done REALLY well can be some of the best training you can perform!
Ladder of 5/4/3/2/1 alternating back and forth for 2-4 rounds
Clean and Press
Bear Hug Squat
Check out the power of DVRT at some of our upcoming DVRT educational events with New York coming next HERE