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Beyond the Six Pack, Smarter Core Training

sandbag training

If we look at the landscape of fitness right now, people should be getting BETTER results than ever! I remember as a teenager I couldn’t wait to get the new muscle magazine as that was the only resource I knew of to get “serious” training information. Then in college, when the internet was just really starting (man I’m old!), once a week the best fitness website would drop their new articles. Every Friday I would wait for 3 p.m. to roll around so that I could read the new article and try the ideas presented. 

Beyond the Six Pack, Smarter Core Training

Nowadays though, you can just wake up and find an overwhelming amount of free training information on the internet, social media, etc. You don’t have to wait, you don’t have to put much work in tracking down information. Of course, not all information is good information. No better example of this exists than when it comes to core training. 

In most simple terms, the core is designed to stabilize our spine so our arms and legs can produce great force and work together to make complex movement appear simple. I know, we often say as fitness professionals that core has little to do with a six pack, yet, when I look around the internet that is what I still see even from professionals. 

Beyond the Six Pack, Smarter Core Training

Helping people understand six packs are about levels of body fat and not strength of the core is key because it helps us focus on better exercises. I get it, when I ran my facility people really thought having their abs burn was the sign that they were on their way to achieving their six pack. So, selling people that core training didn’t always make their abs want to explode was challenging at first. 

That isn’t to say we don’t feel anything when we do proper core training. In fact, the reason I think so many coaches come to fall in love with how we teach core training in DVRT is that it both works FAST and people can buy into the movements because they do feel the connections we talk about come to life, yes, even the “ab burn”. 

core training

With all the variations of different core exercises out there why is that we keep touting what we do with DVRT not just as “more” core training, but way better ways? It has to do with the intent of the movements. Let’s take the example of a dead bug which is a tremendous foundational core training exercise. 

The goal of the dead bug is to remove a lot of the elements of gravity so we can work on developing these base connections of the body. The goal being if we can connect the chains of the body we can keep our pelvis stable. That leads us to HOW we do so as DVRT Master, Cory Cripe explains. 

Once you understand what we are trying to achieve through our core training movements, then when you see the progressions (not just variations) that DVRT UK master Greg Perlaki gives you see how that is reinforced. Simple things like bending the arms, breaking that vertical plane with the thigh, and more are ways we LOSE those connections and we may have a tough exercise but not a better one. 

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The dead bug has made a strong comeback and rightfully so! It is a tremendous exercise on teaching pelvic control, brings in elements of gait that also makes us better humans. It isn’t about how many different dead bug variations you can do though. Not all dead bug exercises are equal. @dvrtfitness_uk shows how we use our #DVRT system to build progression to build a foundation that will allow us to transform the dead bug into more sophisticated strength. …… 💡 As Greg writes…..Good #coretraining goes way beyond just #abs and feeling the burn. Two main principles are worth following when it comes to training the core (and not just the abs). ⁠⠀ Firstly, we want all the 35 core muscles to brace and work together. Secondly, we need to make connections in the body to get that synergistic effect. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ These dead bug provide both bracing and connecting the chains of the body. The same chains what all of us use for running and walking ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ➡️ Heel Touch: pulling the handles of the #ultimatesandbag apart helps to create tension and stabilize the core with the lats. The shorter range of motion with the legs allows introducing these concepts to beginners and still have great results.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ➡️ Leg Extensions w mini bands: the mini bands help to engage the glutes and hip flexors and take the same push/pull action further than our first progression.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ➡️ Single Arm Load: holding the sandbag in one hand introduces asymmetrical loading so the lifter needs to stay stable regardless of the load.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ➡️ Single Leg Banded: it's great way to increase that tension and work on the glutes and hip flexors even more while the rest of the body remains stable. The anterior slings are coming alive!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠

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The same goes for the plank. We don’t want to just hang out in our planks, we want to create tension into the ground through our forearms and balls of feet to connect everything from head to toe! That means no more. “squeezing the glutes”, no just hanging out in the plank for hour after hour. The plank has to be realized to be a specific skill that we build from the ground to dynamic actions. 

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The plank is more than about hanging out in a position for minutes on end. It is about learning how to brace your core and connect the chains of the core to work synergistically. This all sounds good, but HOW do we teach this and what does it really mean? ________________________ 🏋️‍♂️ One of my favorite drills is a suspended plank. It is easy to scale to one’s strength level and we can connect the whole body together easily. Driving into the balls of the feet connects our core from the ground up. Pushing through the straps and pulling the Ultimate #Sandbag apart connects our hands, lats, and core. Pressing the weight out keeping this tension is actually a better way to teach how to go overhead. It teaches all the principles of good pressing. _______________________ 🏋️‍♂️ Slider fall outs are a popular way to teach how to brace and resist movement at the same time. However, many people make some common errors in the movement. The BIGGEST one is they release the feet. The core is directly related to the actions of our feet because in standing and locomotion, there is a chain reaction up from our feet. Keeping the balls of our feet driving into the ground are key in getting MORE out of this exercise. _______________________ 🏋️‍♂️ The Bird Dog is one of spine expert, Dr. Stuart McGill’s “Big 3” due to the fact we learn how to keep our plank while resisting movement in different directions. Plus, with the opposite arm and leg we are building our core to work in gait patterns, something we often miss in functional training. Why use the Ultimate Sandbag? Most people don’t know how to create tension in the core during the Bird Dog. Grabbing the handle first we begin to connect lats, core, and glutes. Dragging the weight VERY slowly as we extend the leg creates friction on the ground and that raises tension in the chain and helps us learn how to brace our core correctly. ______________________ These strategies help us understand the difference of functional training and how understanding how the body works allows us to create better solutions. Using an exercise isn’t about just “working” the body, but teaching our body how to move correctly.

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Each one of these DVRT “planks’ above teach us something about keeping the connections of our core training under different environments. It isn’t about doing different types of planks, but focusing on specific goals. For example, the first plank with the suspension trainer I am driving DOWN into the straps while pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart. This is a great way to improve shoulder mobility and teach people how to press with the body and NOT just their shoulders.

The whole goal is to take core training into more complex environments where we are forcing our body to keep its posture while moving. Keeping those kinetic chain connections allow us to build strength, but not only that, it allows us to solve so many issues at once. Everything from knees, low backs, and shoulders can often be traced back to people not understanding what core training is really about and how to teach their body true stability.

core training

One of the father’s of functional training, physical therapist Gary Gray sums it up well. 

This doesn’t mean just start doing “stuff” but being mindful of all that we have talked about as DVRT Coach Robin Paget shows. It isn’t about just doing a core training exercise that is difficult or going to “bust your gut”. It is thinking about how we are holding and moving the Ultimate Sandbag to make the connection in the body better so we develop the true stability we are all wanting to accomplish. Core training isn’t a fancy word for abs, it can and is a game changer to your training!

Find out more with our DVRT online education programs that break down our system of DVRT to give you better and faster results. Save 35% on these programs, our Ultimate Sandbags, and DVRT workout programs for THIS week only with code “holiday35” HERE

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What is the best ways to think about core and stability work? I like to say it is about connecting the chains of the body. The what?! ……. 💡 The great work of people like Thomas Myers, Diane Lee, and many more shows that our body NEVER works through isolation but chains of muscles. It isn’t the strength of one muscle that matters but how these muscles work together to make complex motions appear seamless. ….. 💡 Great, but how do we accomplish this? @rdpaget does a great job showing some advanced strategies by employing a #TRX with our Ultimate #Sandbag drills. By using the TRX we have to posses a greater ability to connect and it starts with how we use our hands and feet. ……. 💡 “Grabbing the ground” with our feet, driving our forearms into the straps, pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart, these types of cues not just so we can perform these exercises better but they are key in developing true stability and #corestrength . …. 💡 There is so much more, but check our our FREE blog at DVRTFitness.com and awesome job Robin!

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