It was about 5 years ago, I was at a pretty big industry national conference. I overheard two coaches talking and one was almost lecturing the other! “If you do arm exercises then you don’t do functional training and you don’t know how to train people!” Wow! That was pretty rough to listen to especially the tone. The fitness industry isn’t one that tends to do well without extremes. When you have been coaching as long as I have in 25 years, you learn to temper some of these ideas a bit and find a much more middle ground. I’ll admit, I haven’t talked a lot about arm workouts when it comes to Ultimate Sandbag Training and DVRT system.
That isn’t because I am way too smart or I’ve never wanted to train my arms (I am a guy after all, c’mon!). Trust me, in my early training years I would devote a whole day of training to my arms. My “split” was, Day 1: chest/back, Day 2: Legs, Day off, Day 3: Arms. Sound a bit familiar? Here was the thing, I never got monster arms and I trained hard! That style of training also left me feeling very unrewarded and bored to be honest. That is one of the things that drew me to more functional training based ideas.
This doesn’t mean I am against arm workouts, what I learned is that I could build good arms still focusing on functional training because if we trained the whole body at once then we could train the arms hard and actually more frequently than most people think! If we devote an “arm day” to training then that means we need recovery because the amount of work on the arms is quite high. That not only means we can train the arms more frequently, but it also means this can mean our other pushing and pulling exercises for the upper body (tired arms don’t help for better pull-ups or push-ups for example).
However, if we do more movement pattern training that we speak about in DVRT, we get arm training almost every time we workout. You notice that every time we train we have a push and a pull in our workouts. That is arm training and means our arm workouts can be 3-4 times a week. So, your arms are getting a REALLY good amount of work! Plus there is something else unique about DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training miss!
Ok, I’m not winning any bodybuilding shows any time soon but I impressed Presley at least;)
Many of the holding positions and tension we create against the Ultimate Sandbag requires a good amount of arm strength. We get indirect arm workouts from a lot of even our squats and other movements. With all that said, am I STILL against the idea of giving a bit more focus on arm workouts?
For the majority of real people and those that aren’t on pharmaceuticals, devoting an arm workout to your training doesn’t make a lot of sense. Your time can be spent better by integrating more of the body. That doesn’t mean we can’t throw in some arm exercises at the end of your workout though or do so with a bit greater purpose. So, why do these Ultimate Sandbag arm exercises outside of justing wanting bigger “guns”?
Can Be Good Core Training
Good technique is ALWAYS assumed right? None of this swinging of the weight or rounding of the shoulders, but if we do arm workouts smart, we can get some great additional core training. Of course we go against the gain where most people are trying to take their core OUT of their arm workouts which makes little sense. In the case of curls we can get some great plank work as a strong core and bracing is needed to keep the body stable and perform the exercise correctly.
Taking your core out of your arm workouts is the perfect example of having just “show muscles”
We talk A LOT about grip training in DVRT because it really is important. From healthier rotator cuffs to better mortality rates, grip has a great deal of carry over to our every day life. The fact we can emphasize grip through a host of different ways of using the Ultimate Sandbag means a great way to build up that grip that will help us in many different ways.
On the larger USBs the reason for the flaps are to be rolled in to develop a thick grip and really engage the grip and arms more!
Going to our one arm versions of lifts can make for ver strong arm workouts without knowing it!
Grip curls are awesome way to develop strong grip and have great arm workouts through better grip engagement. Actively trying to pull the bag apart really helps bring everything together.
Even more core based drills becomes great arm workouts like Press Outs when we use the right intent like Cory Cripe explains!
Better Full Range Training
While the goal of developing the Ultimate Sandbag wasn’t necessarily to find great ways to do arm workouts (it really shines with many more aspects of the DVRT system) if there is an opportunity to give people more, we should take it! What do I mean? If we look at the issue with typical biceps curl for example…
In a typical biceps curl, because we are often using a barbell or dumbbell, the tension starts to be lost as we break about 90 degrees (might be a bit more). That is because the design of the weight causes a decrease tension as the angles of the arm changes. However, because the center of mass is away from the handles on an Ultimate Sandbag, it actually gives the biceps far more work through a greater range of motion!
That means the weight feels heavier than you would typically use on a dumbbell or barbell and you get more biceps work through a greater range of motion!
Plus, we can take this leverage and kill two birds with one stone. For example, we can use it for triceps extension as we bridge. No, this isn’t one of those pointless, “because we can we will” exercises. Of course the triceps extension would be typical of many arm workouts, but the moving weight changes the stress on the bridge so we get to challenge the core and glutes at the same time.
Don’t worry, if you think we are getting bored or thinking about getting ready for the next Mr. Olympia, NEITHER is happening! I would say that the majority of your training (95% or more) should be the BIG movements from DVRT we show. However, if you want to add 1-2 exercises for 2-3 sets of some of these direct arm drills (the rows go in the big movement category) then you shouldn’t feel bad in doing so. There are great opportunities to still build functional strength and make our bodies smarter!
Check out these excises we show in our FREE workouts HERE, don’t forget we have our DVRT online workshop for 50% off for a limited time (it is already discounted) so use code “save30” HERE or to save 30% ALL throughout DVRT HERE!