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Creating Smarter Training Programs Part 2

sandbag exercises


Hopefully after my first blog about programming (you can read it HERE) you are looking at programming not as a chore, but something to genuinely get excited about getting better at and using more so. After all, it is very difficult to help people achieve goals when we don’t have a plan to make them better. 

Teaching people how to properly use sets and repetitions can be a whole project in itself. Hopefully you have taken time to read when I wrote in the first installment. Like anything, it takes practice to get good at such things. When many coaches ask me how to get good at writing programs, I tell them, some of it is understanding the science, the other is simply doing it time and time again!

Understanding sets, reps, and loading isn’t really an exclusive DVRT concept, it is just good training. Where we go from here does stand to be more DVRT related. In speaking with Alwyn Cosgrove, he spoke about how much he likes to work increasing range of motion (ROM) once we spend the first month’s block of training focusing on load and repetitions. 

sandbag training

Changing ROM won’t work for every exercise, or sometimes it will require us to think a bit about how to extend a movements ROM. Why would we focus on such a concept? It can depend on the lifter and goal, but overall, extending ROM accomplishes a few goals. 

One of the primary things that increasing ROM does is makes us realize that being “strong” is somewhat relative. While there is carryover of foundational strength concepts that we build from the first phase of working in very stable environments, there is also the realization that we are also building a somewhat specific type of strength. 

What surprises so many people that attend our DVRT courses that have experience in different styles of training is that we force them to move in such ways they are not familiar with in their training. They quickly find out how specific their strength has gotten and how we need to broaden how we think of training for true functional strength. As Alwyn said to me, “at some point just adding weight is math, not training.” 

You may wonder what he meant, but he is referring to a term called “optimal strength”. This common textbook term is often missed in our industry and means that increasing strength in a specific lift does not improve performance. Typically this term is observed in the development of athletes. For example, taking an athlete from a 300 to 400 pound squat may not improve their performance in their chosen sport. That another form of “strength” will actually lead to better performance improvements. 

That is why the idea of “just stick with the basics” makes a great meme, but doesn’t really work. So, how could we use the idea? Here are a few ways….

**During a deadlift, start with a inch mat underneath you and very slowly each week increase the height at which you pull from. 

**Lunges you can increase the height of the front foot or rear leg.

**Push-ups can be done from a platform that allows you to go deeper into position.

Now, these ARE advanced versions that require you to have a good foundation of strength and very good mobility. If you are struggling with either you won’t want to apply increased ROM in this manner until you build greater proficiency. Increasing ROM does apply more stress to the body in a unique way and if your body can not move well in these extended positions this can be a risky move. You might be better off with some of the other variable we will bring. 

sandbag exercises

We can also simply look at ROM as means to progress people that are building up their foundations to higher levels. For example, many people can’t deadlift a weight from the ground, squat deep, performa full push-up, or lunge all the way. Decreasing ROM and meeting people where they are at and allowing them to build strength and stability that will allow them to get deeper into these positions. 

A simple example of using this concept is the following…

Week 1: Front Loaded Squat on an 18 inch box

Week 2: Front Loaded Squat on an 12 inch box

Week 3: Front Loaded Squat on an 18 inch box with heavier load

Week 4: Front Loaded Squat on a 12 inch box with heavier load

You can do a similar thing with push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, you get the idea. This allows you to build greater mobility and stability during these progressions and help people feel better moving. Since lack of mobility can be a stability and strength issue, this is a great way to build better movement, but still train! 

I’m always disappointed that people miss the great benefits and solutions working with ROM allows for in their training. What I didn’t mention was that ROM is also a great way to make the SAME weight feel heavier or lighter depending upon how we use it. We have so many great ways to build solutions to training other than JUST adding weight, we need to use them to make more effective programs!

Find out how DVRT workouts can be such as solution for making the complex ideas seem simple. Save 25% on our DVRT workouts HERE or get deeper with our online DVRT education HERE with coupon code “fall”

sandbag training