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Best Way to Build Healthy & Strong Shoulders

Ultimate Sandbag fitness equipment

Cory Cripe, DVRT Master (Creator DVRT Dynamic Strength & Movement Strength)

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I read Josh’s recent post on how functional training can actually provide a great arm workout (HERE), and at first I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the years I have been involved with DVRT I had never heard Josh even MENTION arm workouts, but when I read it, I got it;)  The funny thing though was how his discussion brought me back to one DVRT drill in particular: Around the Worlds (ATW).

Back in the day when my training was focused on bodybuilding principles (what Weider principle was I on;), the one thing I desired was to build and develop my shoulders – you know, boulders for shoulders? I did all the shoulder presses, flys, & raises I could so I could see the striations in the anterior, medial, and posterior heads of the shoulders (gotta make sure you hit all 3 heads of the shoulder right;)

When we are all younger men, the ONLY thing that matters is becoming a bigger beefcake;)

For all of the sets and reps I did nothing ever really came from all work I put into these isolated exercises…not a good return on investment on my part. I couldn’t blame the work I put in so what was my scape goat? Genetics. These long arms of mine just can’t hold any kind of muscle mass.

And the other thing I would notice with these shoulder-intensive workouts was how achy my shoulders would feel and how stiff my neck would be. Even though I knew the aches and stiffness were a direct result of working my shoulders, in my mind it was worth it as I continued to pursue these amazing shoulders that never arrived. Most of us start to put health at the back burner for better “fitness”.

Before you claim I never trained hard, growing up with football I was training with solid weights!

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put myself out there as some fitness model – far from it! But a crazy thing has occurred over the last few years of using DVRT as my exclusive way of training – the ol’ shoulders have finally come around! And the best part is…my shoulders and neck feel better than they ever have! Crazy, right!?!?

sandbag fitness

My priorities have also gone from being super buff to being super dad. However, I don’t THINK we have to choose either one?

I think about all of those isolated, bodybuilding exercises and how I tried to hit every angle of my shoulder using barbells & dumbbells with all these different exercise and how there was very little to show for my hard work. Now this very simple – yet very effective – DVRT exercise can basically hit all of these shoulder angles PLUS all the different ways the shoulder moves. And the best part … wait for it … is not isolating, but integrating. More importantly integrating through the core muscles (yup all 35+ of ‘em) for a total body workout!

Now think of this: multiple angles of the shoulders being worked, multiple shoulder movements being trained, the whole body included, and only one exercise (which means less time)! Sounds like a smart ROI to me…who’s with me? When we add in the hip mobility and core stability we achieve through this DVRT movement we get shoulders that are strong AND mobile!

Around the Worlds can be used for multiple training goals. They can be awesome ways to teach reactive core strength and rotation like I show when you scroll through…

The DVRT drills above we have rotational around the worlds up top and RESISTING rotation below (yes, these were filmed BEFORE the virus!)

Right when you thought this deal couldn’t get any sweeter – BAM! You can add the ATWs with so many other exercises for an additional metabolic, total body (maybe out of body) experience! What do I mean? Take for instance the DVRT MAX lunge; all ready a drill that will make your heart rate jump through the roof. Once you become proficient at this lunge progression throw the ol’ ATW into the mix and watch out & don’t fall over! Being able to resist rotation at the bottom of the lunge, as well, as the top now – game changer! Don’t be surprised to see that heart rate of yours find a few more higher peaks on your HR monitor!

If you are new to these DVRT drills don’t start with heavier Ultimate Sandbags!!!

What about exploring a different plane of motion? Could you imagine moving side to side while doing the ATW avoiding rotation? Well, you can make that dream a reality sooner than you think! What about changing course and instead of focusing so much on anti-rotation with the ATW we turn it inside out and make it a full onslaught of rotation. ‘Where do I sign up?’ is what you might be asking right now and I don’t blame you!

You can add so many layers to the around the world you might just feel like Dr Frankenstein where you have created a monster! But no matter the layers and complexity – don’t forget the principles of this PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation – say that five times as fast as you can) beast. However, the truth is if you miss the deep meaning of the around the world drill, adding it on top of additional movements will be counterproductive and only cause you heart ache (and maybe some other pains) down the road. 

We can even use around the worlds to make our loaded carries that MUCH smarter and more effective. 

So, whether you’re new to the whole around the world craze, or an around the world champion, return back to starting point (I’d like to suggest that is in the tall kneeling position) and give these a whirl – literally & metaphorically! Then continue to build success on top of success and tell your folks I says ‘Hi!’

Check out Josh break down key concepts in performing our Around the World’s with rotation. You can see how we program such exercises in our DVRT Workout programs like Cory’s 30% off with code “save30now”. You can save on our DVRT workouts, Online Education, and best selling Ultimate Sandbags HERE