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Building Smarter Fat Loss Workouts

Ultimate Sandbag Training Complexes, Combos For Fat Loss

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By Ryan Ketchum

Vertex Performance Systems


Conditioning is often talked about in the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag community, but discussions about fat loss programming are less frequent. I had the pleasure of spending a little bit of time with Josh at the Elite Fitness and Performance Summit talking about utilizing the Ultimate Sandbag for transformation programming. Sharing programming ideas with Josh got the wheels turning on how useful the Ultimate Sandbag is for fat loss programming, not only in it’s effectiveness but in it’s versatility and ease of use.

When we get right down to it most trainers and coaches out there are dealing with a population that wants to look better. They may not know exactly how to tell you what they want but in many cases is it improvement in movement, improved performance and improved looks. Usually in the reverse order listed.

Let’s face it, many of your clients will be looking to improve their physical appearance, especially if you work in the private sector of fitness as a facility owner, personal trainer, etc. Unfortunately, due to the state of fitness right now in most people that means losing a considerable amount of excess body fat.

I will be the first to tell you that many times improving movement and performance will naturally help a client lose fat, add some lean muscle mass and have them looking better. However, I think many trainers now are forgetting that we must focus on the goal of fat loss while also improving those other aspects.

Using the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training in your fat loss program gives you several advantages over other tools.

Facilities like the 168 Fitness in Pasadena, California has been using DVRT to work with a wide array of people helping them change their lives with positive fitness. 

Clients do not automatically associate an Ultimate Sandbag with being heavy or building muscle. This is particularly important when working with clients that may not want to get bulky from a strength training programs. While we, as fitness pros, know that it is tough to build muscle mass with any program it is critical that you get your client to trust you with your programming.

Because clients are unfamiliar with the tool it is easy to program movements that many clients would typically avoid due to their fear of a barbell or dumbbell. Many times this unfamiliarity also makes the training more fun for the client.

The ability to progress a client slowly with slight adjustments to their movements without increase only the load of the sandbag or implement or the volume of the training in terms of sets and reps is a huge benefit in transformation programs.

Our goal in transformation programming or fat loss program is to create inefficiency. This inefficiency, when programmed correctly, leads to a higher metabolic demand from the programming which should lead to more fat loss and body composition changes.

Time is not on your side when it comes to transformation programming. Clients want results and they want them fast. Making consistent, small, progressive changes to the program for a client could be the difference between them hitting a plateau at week 3 or at week 6. Simple changes such as moving the implement from the front-loaded position to a shouldered position or even staggering their stance in the squat pattern will lead to a more challenging and inefficient movement. Those changes = better results.

You can easily combine movements with the Ultimate Sandbag Training to create complexes and combinations that are metabolically challenging for clients. The versatility of the Ultimate Sandbag makes it a great tool for designing complexes and combinations for even the beginner client. 

With many other implements the limiting factor with these complexes or combinations is the clients ability to perform the movements and also their ability to use a weight that is challenging for them on many movements while still considering the limiting factor exercises (the one that they can lift the least amount of weight on such as a military press vs a deadlift).

The Ultimate Sandbag allows you to transition between movement patterns, variations of movements, and grips quickly to keep the client moving through a complex quickly without inhibiting them from getting the most out of it.

Twogunz Training in Erie, PA realizes all the different options of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training can fit any individual

Even if a client is weak in the overhead press movement pattern we can still use a light sandbag that creates a challenge in that pattern while adjusting to single leg deadlift variations, rotational lunge variations, clean or snatch variations and rowing variations to create a challenging complex for the client. 

The goal of any transformation program should be to create the biggest metabolic demand possible while working within the client’s ability and skill level. The best way to do this is by utilizing combos, complexes and carries into your programs.

While these tactics are a great way to create metabolic demand they do not have to be the only programming strategy. It is also important to focus on developing strength and improving movement. However, you can use these combos, complexes and carries as a start to, finisher for or as the entire workout in a transformation program.

A movement combo variation that I love to use is a squat or hinge pattern combined with a push up progression. The amount of muscle mass used in the squat and hinge combined with the movement of the body from the standing position to the ground and back up creates a big metabolic demand. This is also a simple combo that you can use with almost any level of client.

Beginner- Bear Hug Squats or Squat Press Outs to Push Up or Push Up Plank

Intermediate – Front Loaded Squat or RDL to Push Up, Single Leg Push Up or Close Grip Push Ups

Advanced- Shouldered Squat, Front Loaded Hinge, Overhead Squat to Plyo Push Up, Side to Side Push up or Band Resisted Push Ups

Standard Complex
Clean x5 / Front Loaded Squat x 5 / Press x 5 / Rotational Lunge x 3 each side / Row x 5 /

Many complexes leave out unilateral training. This is a heavy complex that can be done with moderate weight and includes a lunge movement for an added challenge.

The following complex is a challenging variation for most trainees:

Shouldering x 6 — > Left Side Shouldered Squat x 3 — > Arc Press x 5 — > Right Side Shouldered Squat x 3 — > Bent Over Side to Side Row