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Better Thoracic Mobility with Ultimate Sandbag Exercises

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator of DVRT Restoration, DVRT Pelvic Control, DVRT Shoulder Course)

Flexibility is something my patients always strived for when they came to me with various orthopedic issues. I believe that the mainstream usually think two things represent a big difference in one’s fitness and health. When it comes to being “fit” most still define it as one’s ability to run long distances and when it comes to movement it is someone who is super flexible. I use to be not so different until I saw a different perspective with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises.

People are told all the time even by health professionals…”you really need to get more flexible here.” While there might be some truth to the recommendation, it is often how we go about approaching this concept that makes the big difference in the results we get. A perfect example is so many of the issues that people experience with shoulder range of motion, or more appropriately lack of it!

While most are told to stretch the pecs, roll the lats (yes, some of this can help, but are we getting to the real root of the problem?) We really want to think about are the shoulders the issue, or do we really have thoracic spine issues? That is where we can work some “magic” with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises.

I love this quote by Dr. Greg Rose even if he is referring to more low back issues. One reason is that what he shares largely applies to the shoulders as well! If we understand that the shoulders require a stable platform and the core to move effectively then we realize that helping the shoulders means understanding how to create proper core training. It also requires us to understand that the shoulders and hips are connected because of how we walk in opposites as we walk, run, and perform fundamental human movements.

sandbag exercises

Recently Josh and I were invited to come and work with Dr. Roddy McGee’s great team at Total Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. Dr. McGee is a very well respected orthopedic doctor here in Las Vegas and has worked with top athletes including many from the UFC. His goal was to help his group of therapists gain a better understanding of what functional training means because we all throw the term around without really having a strong definition. Well, the team was blown away by how we made better connections with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises that made instant improvements in how they felt and moved. It wasn’t magic, but going back to the simple ideas that I mentioned above.

What was even better was to see their excitement as they started to realize that helping shoulders were many of the same strategies that we use to help low backs and even knees. That is because the chains of the body impact the entire body. So, while much of the industry has gotten away from isolating muscles in strength training, we haven’t done the same in improving mobility. Looking at many recommendations for thoracic mobility still are trying to isolate the spine rather looking at how integration causes faster results!

Ultimate Sandbag exercises like DVRT Master UK, Greg Perlaki, demonstrates may seem like a very odd way to improve thoracic mobility. However, understanding the connection of grip, lats, core, glutes, and feet makes so much sense in creating better core stability that allows us to create better thoracic mobility. Most people realize that there are limitations in thoracic mobility, but they don’t think of what is causing the impeded motion. What we try do accomplish with these Ultimate Sandbag exercises is to answer that question!

When we make connections in the body we solve so many of the same issues that cause the shoulders, low backs, and knees to be problematic. That is not just saying that the core is weak, or the glutes are “off”, but having a better understanding how these muscles work together to create movement. When one area is not working how this impacts the entire chain! That is why we use these Ultimate Sandbag exercises, not because we want to be “sandbag masters.”


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 So, when people see me perform Ultimate Sandbag exercises like the one above, the could be wondering “what the heck is she doing?” The one that really understands functional training sees that pulling the Ultimate Sandbag tightly to my body creates tension through the lats and core. The bands around the knees help create tension in the pelvis while the lower bands help me engage my feet to a higher degree. Doing this all dynamically forces these connections to be made through the body and frees up by movement while getting stronger!

You see most people don’t understand that mobility without reinforced with strength won’t last. That is why when we can combine both we get something so much more powerful. There is a reason that our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises typically look so different than that of most gym movements. In DVRT we look to follow how the body moves, not how muscles can be trained. I think this quote by movement expert, Gray Cook, sums up things really well!

Want to learn how we change movement in powerful ways? Don’t miss our NEW DVRT Dynamic Warm-up program with 3 FREE gifts HERE now!