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Better Muscle and Metabolic Training

fitness sandbags

I always like to  share my story of opening my first gym which was around 2003. Like most young people, I was pretty naive to the business aspect of running a gym and as a young coach I thought I had to model my gym after the amazing facilities that I had worked at and seen. This is before social media was really a thing and we were mostly using email newsletter blasts and website chat boards to communicate, can you imagine?!;)

The reason I love to share my experiences is because I made ALL the mistakes and I would like nothing more than to help others avoid my own errors that made running a business so much more challenging. A big part of that was thinking that I had to keep up in the form of equipment and forgot how important having purpose and understanding of training was even MORE than how much equipment you had.

I’ve written several blogs about how I started my gym with basically every piece of equipment you could think of at the time. My start in developing DVRT and the Ultimate Sandbag in 2004 started to change how I was thinking about training my clients and myself. As I focused on the tools that I used the most and allowed me the most options, I actually started trimming my gym and found myself being more productive with the workouts for my clients and yes, myself.

fitness sandbag

Now teaching the best facilities in the world like EXOS how to optimize such tools is a great thrill!

So, you can imagine how it does my heart good right now when so many coaches and lifters are trying to figure out how to make their training awesome when their gyms may seem very different. It isn’t even so much in “making do” but actually learning that it takes far less than we think in terms of equipment to build tremendous workouts. Training that allows us to build lean muscle while even improving our conditioning at the same time.

Are You Really Getting Fit & Strong Though?

I have to say the most interesting thing I have learned in the past 15 years of doing DVRT is that if you aren’t using a barbell most people don’t think you are getting stronger. Yes, I get it, barbells allow you to put big weights up and how does that NOT make you stronger?

What we tend to miss is that weight isn’t equal. How a weight is designed, how we use it, can change our perception of what heavy is and what being strong means. Since barbells are always balanced and loaded on the most stable positions of our body, they give us the impression they are the best ways to get strong. I have nothing against someone using barbells, but I can tell you that I have found other tools like kettlebells, medicine balls, bands, suspension trainers, and of course, Ultimate Sandbags make my training smarter and so much more versatile.

sandbag exercise equipment

Seeing universities adopting these same ideas is pretty’s exciting !

How much do I believe this? Well, Jessica and my home gym has these very tools and no barbell or squat rack. We aren’t trying to be controversial, we just look at what we spend the most time using, what takes up the least space, and what helps us reach our goals the best.

ultimate sandbag exercises

Dwight loves our home gym as much as we do and you can see the tools we focus on the most. 

This post though isn’t about bashing on barbells, but showing you how we can think about fitness smarter and how to use these other tools to produce some amazing results. Let’s look at some great examples by some phenomenal coaches.


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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)

Strength coach, Martin Adame, shows an awesome example of we can use tools like Ultimate Sandbags to have a complete functional training workout in any environment. What I love about what Martin shows is how we don’t overlap too many movement patterns, we mix different planes of motion, we combine power and stability training all at once. The fact Martin shows how practical our Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) protocols are in producing lean muscle and conditioning at once is another reason to love what Martine has designed.


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A post shared by Robin Paget (@rdpaget)

Robin Paget gives us another great example of how tools we often see as “extra” are actually powerful core parts of a good training program. Like Martin, Robin doesn’t just give variety, but purposeful variety of movement patterns and planes of motion. This way we train more muscles at once and accomplish more in the time we train, that’s pretty cool!

DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki gives us another great example of how a few pieces of great functional training tools can make a small space into a powerhouse gym. Like the other two, Greg avoids these common pitfalls….

-Training the same movement pattern over and over. For example, people use multiple hip hinges in the same workout and leave out so many. Like, swing, deadlift, snatch, bent row are actually all hip hinges. With 7 movement patterns available (squat, lunge, hip hinge, push, pull, rotation, and locomotion) there is no need to have exercise redundancy.

-Not just hammering one functional training quality. When people JUST do power, or JUST do stability training they leave out the fact this can be too fatiguing for most. Mixing qualities of stability, strength, power, and endurance allows us to train hard and smart at the same time.

-Optimize the RIGHT tools for the goal. I am not Ultimate Sandbag for everything believe it or not. I do tell people the truth though because when we post some of our DVRT concepts someone will inevitably ask, “can I do that with…” I say no, but it isn’t to get you to use a kettlebell, a band, or an Ultimate Sandbag. It is about getting the desired result BECAUSE of what the tool provides.

So you see that we use different training tools in our programs, but we always have purpose to WHY we use them. That is why I make posts like the one below. I hope you will make time to read it to see how to determine when to use which tool.


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A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt)

The point being is that great workouts are possible but what makes them great isn’t simply how much weight we lift, but how we move with the weight. This isn’t about being different, it is about our continual search for better. Unlike when I opened my gym, there is so much better information out there, it is our duty to do better. I hope sharing workouts like Martin’s below inspires you to think about strength and fitness differently.

Only a few more days to get 30% off any of our Ultimate Sandbags, Online Certifications/Courses, & DVRT Workouts with code “summer” HERE


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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)