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

Best Ways to Use Our Core Ultimate Sandbag

I’ll be honest, I NEVER thought in a million years when I started with that old army duffel bag in my garage that I would be talking so much about sandbag training. I often think of the old Allen Iverson line of “practice, we talking about practice?!” In our world I often think fitness pros and strength coaches are first like “sandbags, we talking about sandbags?!” Which if I have learned anything over the last 15 years of teaching our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag program is that people really have no idea how to use them!

ultimate sandbag training

Yes, I had a duffel bag AND hair, which one is more shocking?!

That is because what you see largely with “sandbag training” is what I created all those years ago. While I am not going to claim I invented the idea of sandbags for exercise, HOW you see people using them is based off what we have done with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. I know this because like many I began using sandbags as just as a cheap way to replace barbell work. Sometimes I would be training groups or teams back in the day and having that many barbells didn’t make sense (put yourself in a time machine to about 2002). Making some inexpensive sandbags made more sense and that is what I did!

ultimate sandbag

I’ve been writing about sandbag training for a long time. One of my more popular articles showed up on the popular EliteFTS website in 2006!

However, as I have talked about many times on podcasts and the like, eventually that became problematic. Dirty, uncomfortable, lack of progression or purpose made me start to really sour and even dislike using sandbags for our training. As I was getting ready to leave them is when my buddy Nick got me to consider writing the “rules” of sandbag training. I say rules lightly because it was more about giving people guidance, a thought process, a way to actually optimize what this unique tool could offer in training. No one had done that before and even the tool of a fitness sandbag wasn’t standardized or thought about.

That is one of the biggest challenges of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, we don’t have complicated concepts and ideas to our system, we just do it differently. However, as I have said many times over, it IS how most of our strength training tools operate as the barbell is the ONLY one that really changes its physical load. You just have MORE dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, medicine balls, etc.

What I am trying to say is that optimizing DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training means being willing to think a bit differently. For example, not all our sizes are used in the same way. We don’t just have a load component, but a dimensional one with the Ultimate Sandbag. Such a variable makes a HUGE difference in our training. In order to help better break down what this means, I thought I would write a blog about the various sizes of Ultimate Sandbags we have and the BEST ways to optimize them.

For today, I wanted to start with the mighty but small Core Ultimate Sandbag!

ultimate sandbag

Funny story about this Ultimate Sandbag was when I had the idea in creating this size, Jessica HATED it! She couldn’t see how it was a solution to better training (as that is our motivation with everything we do!) and I said, “you watch”. Fast forward to today and it is one of her two favorite sizes to use!

So, what is the thought with the Core Ultimate Sandbag. Loading between 10-20 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot so how do we get strong? Here are a few key drills that are highlighted through the Core Ultimate Sandbag.

Press Outs

Physical Therapist, Jessica Bento, breaks down how to do press outs right and how it isn’t just about using the Ultimate Sandbag for counter balance. Rather, the tension and core stability we get allows us to unlock the mobility and movement that our body actually possesses if we use the right stimulus.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve seen more and more people ask for help for problematic knees. I see it all the time as a physical therapist how pain stops people from exercising faster than anything else! “Bad” knees are high on the list! .. So it might seem odd to see me perform these #DVRT progressions where many people would think this wound hurt their knees! Well I’ve put these progressions from most to least complex but let me explain why they work! For one many knee problems are related to not knowing how and having bad #corestrength . Not being able to stabilize the pelvis with core and #glutes can cause the knees to experience excessive stress! Second, most people lack lateral strength of the entire body which is more of a cause for an issue of the knees than just up and down movement. Lastly, we need to teach people to integrate their #core and feet to actually stabilize the knee. .. When you understand #functionaltraining you begin to see how these Ultimate #Sandbag exercises teach all these qualities. That we do t perform random #strengthtraining but work from foundations up! Building connections through the body to create better results and feel our best! So start actually at the end and move to the beginning to see if you have the #functionalfitness that makes you strong and resilient in and out of the gym!

A post shared by Jessica Bento (@jessbento_physiotherapist) on

You see how we can manipulate the press out with the Core Ultimate Sandbag to build more complex patterns. We can change how we hold the weight, attaching a strap to it (through our Core Strap HERE), and moving it in different patterns.


One of the best core movements that people really don’t understand, because it doesn’t make your abs blow up with soreness, are lifts/chops. The idea of a lift/chop is from the physical therapy system of PNF where we know the body loves diagonal patterns and these movements tap into just that!

View this post on Instagram

It is still hard to convince even those that believe in #functionaltraining that the best way to improve how our shoulders or #glutes function isn’t through isolated training. A great example is the power of diagonal patterns like lifts/chops provide. Here are 3 #DVRT examples of how we take lift/chops through more dynamic #strengthtraining patterns. The connection of the glutes, #core , and lats allows us to train the chains of the body that really improves stability, mobility, and strength. …. These Ultimate #Sandbag lifts/chops are unique because of the grip that we can achieve that allows us to create tension. It is tension in this grip position that allows us to tap into the kinetic chains of the body more effectively. Understanding how our body is connected allows us to build superior fitness results. See what #functionalfitness is suppose to represent in fitness that is designed to meet how our body is suppose to function. #coreworkout #movementculture #womensfitness #physicaltherapy #sandbagworkout #kettlebell #corestrength #womenwholift #sandbagtraining #personaltrainer #flexibility #mobilitywod #fitnesscoach #fitforlife #ultimatesandbag #strongnotskinny #fitmom #fitnessgoal #conditioning @perform_better

A post shared by Jessica Bento (@jessbento_physiotherapist) on

Jessica shows how we can use lifts/chops in very dynamic ways, but we often start people half kneeling like DVRT Master, Sean Lettero shows…

View this post on Instagram

During this time it can be hard to think smart about our workouts. After all, they aren’t that important compared to so much going on. However, they can be a welcomed escape and help us focus on something positive for ourselves. That means also being smart as the last thing we want to do while we are stressed is cause injury to ourselves. Mobility training can be a great solution for many and can be a workout for those that are feeling overwhelmed by all that is going on. ___________ Our goal has always been to give people a better understanding of why some methods work better than others. Now when we have limited resources and energy (let’s face it, it is easier to say forget it than it is to get us to train for many) we need to really focus on the things that gives us the BIGGEST bang for our buck! ___________ What #DVRT Master, @seanlettero shows are some great ways we can use these drills as part of a workout, warm-up, or just to move. The key is the connections we make and how we use the Ultimate Sandbag and these other functional training tools to create the “magic” that we are known for in DVRT. The key is to focus upon concepts that Sean makes looks so easy, but you need to be aware of, that is what made me want to write today’s blog post about mobility where we give you 10 awesome mobility drills. More importantly, we help break down 3 keys of the science of mobility in really practical ways. ➡️Check out the link in my BIO for the full article where I break it all down but give you so many great ideas of how to keep training smart during this challenging time!

A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt) on

Robin Paget shows how we apply lifts/chops to drills like hip bridges to get better core and glute training. you will also see how she uses these concepts to build better core stability in other movement patterns.

View this post on Instagram

#ultimatesandbag Integrated Warm-up for Hip and Shoulder Mobility The following series of movements uses a #sandbag to integrate the lower and upper body and improve mobility and functioning. I am not using the bag as load-rather it is assisting me in generating proper tension through grip. A powerful grip and tearing the handles apart will integrate the lat muscles and help you connect the upper and lower body. Adequate tension and stability in the core will often unlock mobility in hips and shoulders! Use as a warmup or mobility workout: 1. USB hip bridge with chop 2. USB shinbox extension with press-out to OH chop 3. USB lateral step around the world 4. USB press-out squat 5. USB front loaded single leg deadlift to reverse lunge 6. USB press-out Cossack squat #hipmobility #shouldermobility #dvrt #functionaltraining #mobility

A post shared by Robin Paget (@rdpaget) on

Check out some keys in getting MORE out of these DVRT drills. When I am upright I will grab the USB itself, when I am in a dead bug or hip bridge, we recommend the outside handles.


If I wasn’t already bald, THIS might be the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise watching others do that make me so mad! People often don’t realize the goal isn’t just to move the weight back and forth. Using the Ultimate Sandbag creates friction and resistance, so if we lift, toss, or move the weight too quickly, we lose HUGE benefits to the movement.

IMG 4878 1 - Best Ways to Use Our Core Ultimate Sandbag

DVRT Coach, Lina Midla, shows the perfect positioning and movement we want to see in lateral drags. That is because all the elements above play a big role, but so does the way we grip and apply tension as I explain in this great starting point of a bird dog.

When we look to progress our drags, we don’t necessarily look to go heavier. We instill slower drags (5-6 seconds to go one side to another is really intense), patterns we drag, and positions we can be in to drag from as our great DVRT coaches show below…

View this post on Instagram

Say core stability to most people and a host of “ab exercises” come into mind. However, ab training and core exercises aren’t necessarily the same thing. As world renown spinal expert, Dr. Stuart McGill writes, “the spine is a flexible rod yet it must be able to bear compressive loads. It will buckle without a very robust guy wire system formed by the many muscles. Furthermore, when all muscles contract together they create a “superstiffness” that is higher than the sum of the stiffnesses of the individual muscles. Consider the architecture of the abdominal wall. Stability comes from a symmetric stiffness developed by the muscles around the spine. Activating just one abdominal muscle would create just one source of stiffness but would also result in an interruption of the force linkage.” ___________ Our Ultimate Sandbag drags are a great example of creating the linkage and “stiffness” Dr. McGill refers to in the quote above. Most people think the act is JUST dragging a weight back and forth, that isn’t the goal. How we connect the lats to the core and the friction the Ultimate Sandbag creates makes it a very unique and effective drill. Our awesome #DVRT coaches of physical therapist @jessbento_physiotherapist , @thestrongdna , @joelgun10 , @corymcripe, and fitness expert @rachcosgrove show some great foundations and progressions of these movements. There is some important technique involved too! __________ ➡️That is why today’s post is devoted to understanding the why and how of these core stability drills. Check out our blog so you can see the power of understanding what core training is really suppose to be about, read it by going to our BIO for the 🔗

A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt) on

Arc Presses

I wrote the other day HERE about why Arc Presses are way more powerful drills, especially for helping mobility in the upper body and core strength than most people realize. However, it is about doing it well and being super intentional. Part of that is being able to “pull the Ultimate Sandbag apart” with the hands that integrates more of the rotator cuff, lats, and core.

View this post on Instagram

If there are two things I love in fitness they are showing people how to build easy solutions to common problems and how to think the concepts of #functionalfitness in much bigger ways. An example we love to give in #DVRT is how we take a concept like lateral #strengthtraining we build in common exercises like a #sideplank and build it to achieve so much more! ___________________ 💡There are people that struggle to use side planks and there are others that think of frontal plane strength as ONLY side planks. DVRT drills like our Arc Press is a strong frontal plane exercise that has potential to teach so many concepts of functional strength because we engage so much more of the body. Being upright we learn the value of using both our hands and feet in creating core tension and stability of the body. Since the #glutes and the core work together with the lats, it is important to connect these chains in our exercises. __________________ 💡 “Ripping” apart our Ultimate #Sandbag as we resist the movement of the @perform_better band while trying to maintain these stances helps us build better movement and real world strength. The goal is to drive the body down as we resist the forces wanting to pull our body to the side. Using different stances and even movements like the classic lateral band walk allows us to see how the real chains of the body impact the way we perform. The best part of having these variations is they allow us to create different levels to address the various needs of the individual and have ways to challenge the body more than just going heavier. __________________ 💡 When we focus on how the body functions, we tend to get faster and better results from our training. The fact that this is done while teaching the body how to use their bodies’ smarter makes these exercises even better!

A post shared by Jessica Bento (@jessbento_physiotherapist) on

You can see how we increase the intensity of the Arc Press by incorporating lateral band resistance which amplifies the need for core and grip strength. However, you also see how we use these concepts to create very dynamic movements.

The crew at Fitness Lying Down shows some ways we progress the Arc Press to challenge more overall strength and stability training!

More Complex DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Drills

There are a lot of DVRT drills that are sneaky tough! Especially because our coaches are so good at making them LOOK easy that people don’t get how challenging they really are. Here are some great examples…

View this post on Instagram

Building a healthy back and shoulders with DVRT I’ve been experiencing some mid back pain this week. A few days ago I posted some gentle drills to connect up the posterior oblique system. I’m feeling much better now and did some more challenging training today. I included rotation and anti-rotation elements. It felt great! By the way, inactivity and long periods of sitting make my back feel worse. Chances are, if you are in pain and do some smart movement, you will feel better! Motion is lotion, remember? 30:30 USB beast to leg thread (30 sec/side) 2 KB rear step power cleans TRX power pulls 30 sec/side USB MAX RFESS 30 sec/side #ultimatesandbag #prehab #stabilitytraining #healthyshoulders #backpain #midbackpain #shoulderpain #trxtraining #sandbag #sandbagtraining #kettlebell #powerclean #totalbodyworkout #functionaltraining #fitnessjourney #fitnesspro #strongwomen #corestrength #coretraining

A post shared by Robin Paget (@rdpaget) on

In the first video above, Robin shows our beast leg threading drills which keeping tension into pulling the Ultimate Sandbag is not only essential in keeping stability, but using that lateral stress to the body. Think of a moving side plank with the load and movement pattern!

View this post on Instagram

What I love most is seeing how people’s eyes and minds really open when they see what #functionaltraining is all about. When you can teach people how the body works and the results end up shocking people, it helps people really appreciate that #strengthtraining human movement is what helps us lead people to not just looking better, but living better! I came up with this great #DVRT combination. Understanding that our shoulders and #core are really governed by the feet, when we want to improve the connection in our body we need to engage everything in the chain, not just individual muscles. Using the @perform_better band around the ankle we force the feet to work at a higher level, the Ultimate #Sandbag MAX lunge to Around the World combines multi-planar core and training of the #glutes while also using a lift/chop pattern with a #plank . This #core work is how our body wants to perform, so why not feed our body the #workouts it really wants! #functionalfitness #corestrength #womensfitness #physicaltherapy #coreworkout #womenwholift #strongnotskinny #warmup #mobilitywod #sandbags #kettlebell #personaltrainer #sandbagworkout #performbetter #fitmom #crossft #movementculture #fitnessgoals #fitforlife #sandbagtraining #trainingforlife #ultimatesandbag

A post shared by Jessica Bento (@jessbento_physiotherapist) on

Whether half or full around the worlds, people often struggle with being fluid and efficient and not just muscling the weight. Jessica shows that it should be smooth and the smaller dimension can help!

How we use the Ultimate Sandbag to make side planks better is often misunderstood. People think the tool doesn’t matter, but Jessica breaks down not only how to get more out of this type of side plank, but the role the Ultimate Sandbag brings.

Cory Cripe does a great job of showing the details that make all the difference!

Robin does a great job showing how many different ways we can use our Core Ultimate Sandbag (along with the Power here) to really make training so much better. It is awesome to see how when we put the right intent to it, even the most unassuming Ultimate Sandbag can be a huge power house!

Our FREE DVRT workouts HERE have a whole program with JUST our Core Ultimate Sandbag and mini bands. You will find you NEVER outgrow the Core, you can just use it in more sophisticated ways. Don’t forget the Core along with ALL our Ultimate Sandbags are 25% off with code “save25” HERE

View this post on Instagram

With all the craziness going on in the world both @joshhenkindvrt and I want to use our social media platforms to give people smart training and workout information. We realize that so many people are trying to figure out how to help people keep with their training and even their own workouts so we want to help people see that you don’t just have to burpee and air squat people to death. It doesn’t require a ton of equipment or space, but what we can do with one Ultimate Sandbag is pretty great. ___________ Josh and I created the #DVRT system to do A LOT with very little because we were first and foremost wanting to give people a solution, we didn’t really think this would become a business! In this workout I hit most of 7 of our functional movement patterns (hip hinge, squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate, and locomotion). With a 15 pound Core Ultimate Sandbag I was able to do a ton with very little! ___________ You can do this workout for time if you are more proficient with the movements or for reps. The point was to show that we could still create smart and effective workouts even though we are all being challenged by what’s going on in the world! I hope you will check out Josh’s great blog on mobility training today in our blog. ➡️Check out the link in my BIO for the full article where we give you 10 great mobility exercises that takes minimal equipment and space, but gives you HUGE results!

A post shared by Jessica Bento (@jessbento_physiotherapist) on