I believe when you are in any business long enough, you end up seeing how things come full circle. When I began in fitness, there was NO way you didn’t start off every workout without a 10 minute cardio warm-up followed by some static stretching. Then we “evolved” where we didn’t necessarily do the 10 minute warm-up, but now we had “corrective” stretches that often ended up taking us 30-45 minutes, but they were suppose to really make us better! Believe it or not, we swung the pendulum COMPLETELY the other way after that and stretching was BAD!!! No stretching, no serious strength person would stretch at all. Now we are back, and again, probably going a little too far where EXTREME mobility is celebrated. The reality is most people need better mobility, but how we do it is important and can keep us more in the middle. That is the goal of these Ultimate Sandbag exercises.
We have to understand WHY most people have poor flexibility. Most people still think because muscles are “tight”. Well, that might be the end result, but why do these muscles seem to get this way? Lack of activity would be the answer for some, others might cite previous injury. In reality, they are both right, but maybe not for the reasons they would think.
Creating stability with Ultimate Sandbag exercises helps us move better all over the body especially the shoulders and hips.
Our body always has the desire to create stability. Without it we are at risk of experiencing injury and that is something our body is inherently very concerned about. If you think about it, that makes sense. Getting injured even 100 years ago would definitely put our health at serious risk.
Moral of the story, your body will get “tight” in order to protect itself. When we use Ultimate Sandbag exercises they are meant to help teach the body how to create stability in order to release the tension that our body is experiencing. At the very heart of our Ultimate Sandbag exercises is teaching how we create stability through specific engagement of the weight.
A great example below is DVRT Master, Paige Fleischmann, using a Front Loaded position in a shinbox get-up to stabilize the core to allow better movement of the hips. This is the physical therapy concept of “proximal stability for distal mobility”. When our body feels more stable, our muscles get “released”. However, Paige isn’t just holding the Ultimate Sandbag, but pulling the USB apart and creating tension against the weight. Doing this while she uses her feet to press into the ground to engage her glutes and hamstrings stabilizes her from the top and bottom and makes these Ultimate Sandbag exercises so much more valuable!
Using methods and principles opens up a much bigger world of not just Ultimate Sandbag exercises, but functional training overall. Greg Perlaki, of DVRT UK shows how using these concepts of tension, stability, can help us create progressions that continue to lead to long term success. Gripping and pulling apart the Ultimate Sandbag as we go through these patterns and using the feet allows us to bridge the entire body.
These aren’t just “cool” exercises and they don’t just “free up” the shoulders and hips, they allow us to more successfully build to movements like lunges, squats, presses, and so much more. Often we introduce these exercises without building a foundation. The frustration people often encounter in fitness is not because they just aren’t strong, mobile, or many of the ideas we hear, it is because we don’t start with the right foundation.
We don’t have to be about extremes, we SHOULD be about gaining greater understanding of how our bodies work and function. These types of movements make our warm-ups better, more efficient, and actually creating results! Isn’t that what we REALLY want our training to do?