At first glance, asking such a question may seem almost “silly”. Any form of activity if it is based on any form of concepts and principles can be done incorrectly right? I mean, you can do a push-up wrong, you can throw a medicine ball incorrectly, you can jog in a manner that sets you up for injury. This being so simple makes me wonder why it is so hard for people to understand lots of Ultimate Sandbag exercises could be done wrong.
First, let me put this out there. If all we wanted to do was to sell you “sandbags” we wouldn’t care how you used them right? Heck, we be showing you the sexiest, coolest new thing just to keep your attention right?
Hopefully you have noticed in over a decade of teaching what we want to achieve with Ultimate Sandbag exercises that we aren’t just trying to get you to buy an Ultimate Sandbag, but we want you to get solutions to your training goals. That is why we are so emphatic that not only do Ultimate Sandbag exercises work, but if you do them in the manner we show them you, it will result in a pretty incredible experience and results!
What all inspired this conversation though? I got flooded the other day when a somewhat popular social media fitness guru was using a sandbag. So many people emailed me (some knew why already) because something looked “off” but they just didn’t understand what.
Sadly, it only took me a few seconds of watching the video to really understand what about these sandbag exercises were throwing people off.
Any exercise without good form can be transformed into a bad movement!
I’m not going to post the video, my point is not to embarrass anyone or to get distracted on who the individual was. They were using a rather common series of clean, press, squat, nothing inherently wrong with that right? A complex of Ultimate Sandbag exercises we use all the time.
The first problem was the clean. One of the reasons that I love using Ultimate Sandbag exercises like cleans to teach power is that they are relatively simple to learn. That isn’t to say though you can’t mess them up and there are several ways people do so.
#1: No Hinge-The whole purpose of Ultimate Sandbag exercises like cleans is to teach power from the ground up. Specifically get muscles like the hamstrings and glutes to create high levels of force while the core creates a stable platform. Well, when the weight is really light, a lot of people almost just “toss” the sandbag up and catch it.
Not only does this defeat the purpose of the exercise, but it really serves no purpose overall. I learned a great concept by kettlebell expert, Pavel Tsatsouline, many years ago. Pavel use to talk about treating a light weight and heavy weight the same. As simple as it sounds that is a lot more difficult to be disciplined upon. His point though was about developing good lifting habits that would then transfer as you went heavier and heavier.
Even when I use weight for my Ultimate Sandbag exercises that aren’t maxing me out, I try to be disciplined in adhering to that concept. If people DO NOT do so, then there is an easy solution….make them go heavier.
Not all these Ultimate Sandbag exercises have to start from the ground, but they do have to have a good hip hinge.
One reason that people think Ultimate Sandbag exercises are just for “conditioning” is because they don’t push the load side of the equation. We tell people that Ultimate Sandbag exercises have other options besides JUST load, but man, we like to use as much load as we can with good weight. That right off the bat would have “cleaned up” a lot of flaws.
#2: Bad Rack-This one is a hard one for me to write about. Not for any other reason than I know SOME are going to think I am just being an Ultimate Sandbag bias person. Hear me out though!
When we teach Ultimate Sandbag exercises where we clean the weight to press, we catch the weight largely on the fists (this does vary with Power and Core Ultimate Sandbags where we use outside handles many times). We do so for a few reasons, the first is that it is safer on the shoulder. If you do not catch on the fists, but on the back side of the wrists, it creates a bad lever arm for your shoulder. Secondly, catching the weight on the fists allows for you to actually benefit from the unstable nature of Ultimate Sandbag exercises.
Any good exercise will keep the body in good alignment. See how in Ultimate Sandbag exercises like overhead pressing we want the hands in line with the shoulders NOT inside!
This fitness coach was trying to catch the weight on his fists, but there was an issue, that honestly wasn’t his fault directly. The sandbag he was using had the handles too close together in their design. That meant it was not only very difficult to catch the weight on the fists, but when he did his arms were way to close to actually press safely for his shoulders.
Something we tell people with our Ultimate Sandbag exercises all the time is just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should! Could he press it with his hands too close? He could and even did, but if he did this for a few workouts or went heavier my money would be on him having issues with his shoulders.
One of the most missed things about our Ultimate Sandbag design is how we engineered it to meet the natural biomechanics of people to try to keep them in the safest lifting postures as possible. That honestly is the difference between innovating something and just trying to copy something.
#3: It Isn’t About Just Holding the Weight-Something I have written a lot about with Ultimate Sandbag exercises is that we aren’t just holding the weight in our different positions, but we are always active with the weight.
This is a big reason I call our Front Loaded Squats by such a specific name rather than the more generic Zercher Squat. If you apply the Zercher Squat concepts of a barbell to that of Ultimate Sandbag exercises you will quickly notice that it doesn’t work well. That is because the barbell doesn’t have any real dimension to it so you can create specific tension against it. Ultimate Sandbags obviously do and creating such tension not only makes you stronger, but alleviates what people feel in their low backs and knees during many such Ultimate Sandbag exercises.
Jessica demonstrates and explains why with our Ultimate Sandbag exercises we aren’t just holding the weight, we are creating tension and strength!
Hopefully you are seeing why understanding the purpose and execute of Ultimate Sandbag exercises determines their effectiveness and safety. Check out me doing the same series and watch how these Ultimate Sandbag exercises start to flow and look like good movement. That is our goal!
Find out more about how to maximize the power of our Ultimate Sandbag exercises by learning the knowledge behind them with our online courses HERE and save 25% with coupon code “thanks”.