For a lot of people, training at home can seem really tough. After you get through a few workouts, many feel like they run out of ways to build thoughtful, productive, fun, and effective ways to train. To be honest, we see this all the time when people think “sandbag training” as when we look across social media there are some really odd and honestly, just silly ways to use a tool that can be very powerful and offer tons of purposeful variety. That is why instead of just saying, “don’t do that”, we wanted what to do that was better instead!
During a podcast I was asked, “what are some of the ways people misuse sandbags?” It was hard to pick one, but I explained presses were a BIG issue! That was because how a lot of people press sandbags are actually dangerous to their shoulders.
This issue has been going on for years because some companies that make knock offs don’t realize how to even use sandbags correctly and show pressing like you see me do above where they press with the weight on the back of the wrists. As I show, that would be like holding a kettlebell on the wrong side of the hand and press up.
Wait, aren’t kettlebells pressed on the back of the wrists? What’s the difference? When a kettlebell is pressed, it is on the back of the wrist. However, if you look where the hand is in relationship to the shoulder, the hand is close to the body. That is what allows us to safely press by using the lats and core WITH the shoulder. When the Ultimate Sandbag is cleaned to the front load position, it pushes the hands very forward of the body. Now when you press you are over stressing the shoulder joint and putting too much into the shoulder which can cause HUGE issues! Don’t believe me pick up just about any weight and bring it to your shoulders, now move your hands a few inches out from your body and try to press. How does that feel? Lousy right?
As DVRT Master, Steve Di Tomaso shows it takes so much more accuracy to get the weight in place, which is a HUGE benefit of what we do in DVRT and using the Ultimate Sandbag. It is both a combination of strength AND quality movement!
DVRT Masters, Steve Holiner and James Newman show some techniques in how you can get the Ultimate Sandbag in the correct position to press.
Physical therapist, Jessica Bento helps me show how we want to “plank” when we press and the proper trajectory of the weight. Also how we build progression and when we use other types of press when the weight is a bit on the heavy side.
How do you progress your presses though if you don’t have a lot of different types of weight? DVRT coach Travis Moyer shows some of our great progressions if you scroll through the video…
DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki offers an even more progressions we use in our DVRT system to make the same weight feel heavy as well as training more of the body at once.
So, you see there are a lot of ways to use the Ultimate Sandbag in REALLY smart ways that actually save your shoulder and make you stronger. Please, don’t press the other way, we have nothing vested in you doing it our recommended way other than helping you be healthy and strong!
Weird Throwing of the Sandbag
Why did I have to add in “weird” throwing of the sandbag? Well, not only do I think throwing is an odd thing to do with the sandbag, but the manner in which people are throwing is quite something as well. For one, the sandbag isn’t a great implement to throw because it’s instability causes movement as you start to try to do any throw that can transfer the weight from your hips to your low back in an instant! That means instead of building great power, you can have a back injury fast.
Teaching people how to throw correctly shocks many as most throw too much with the arms or low backs and create BIGGER issues.
That is why tools like medicine balls work so much better. In fact, if you look at the load athletes use for medicine ball throws they are MUCH lower than you would see in most sandbags because great weight in throwing usually results in a lot of muscling and hurting joints and doesn’t fit the necessary requirements of power.
Above I explain where people even go wrong in teaching foundational medicine ball throws, you could imagine what happens when it comes to sandbags?!
The point is there are WAY better ways to optimize what the sandbag has to offer. For one, if you want a more challenging power movement, DVRT Master, Cory Cripe breaks down how Shouldering could be the answer!
Not to mention, there is WAY more power in learning how to produce power and decelerate than there is in just throwing a weight by itself. A lot of research has shown that lack of ability to decelerate is where most injuries occur in athletes, so the work that Greg shows gives us a WAY better overall training effect!
If you really want to learn the power of throwing more, you are better to optimize some of our rotational drills like Shoveling, which is a kettlebell swing that just went 3D!
Even higher level of drills of using complexes like DVRT Japan master, Taizo Omuro, shows in dynamic snatch work that has much better carry over to sport and life! Plus, it gives us everything from power to stability training at once!
The point is that there are much better uses of sandbags than throwing. They will save your body and see so much more value out of what we REALLY do!
Just Drag “Stuff”
One of the most popular drills that we have ever created where lateral drags. However, because most people are taught that a “tool is just a tool” and don’t ever appreciate how different strength training tools function, it becomes just drag pretty much anything. The fact is they are missing the actual point of the movement. Let me explain…
The Ultimate Sandbag has certain attributes that no other tool has. For example, dimension, why does that matter? It is the size of the USB that creates friction on the ground and gives us important resistance and connection to our body as Cory breaks down.
That positioning, dimension, and friction make up a big part of the results we get from this core drill. The other part is the fact that the handle and USB are not all one piece, we can create pre-tension on it that allows us to make the important connection in the Posterior and Anterior Oblique Slings of the body which is really the goal of this exercise.
That is why what Lina Midla shows is so essential. How we grab the handles and where the USB is placed. We create a lot of tension before the weight even starts moving!
If you don’t have an Ultimate Sandbag you are better doing other anti-rotational drills, but just realize they are different! Just don’t drag stuff, but be purposeful in what you are doing!!!
If we were looking for progression it would be in theory be the USB drag, kettlebell renegade row, and lastly hand to chest touch because it has the least amount of feedback to the body! However, if you do have an Ultimate Sandbag (which hopefully if you are following us you do!) how can you build better movements? Don’t just try to go heavier and heavier, here are some great progressions that keep the essence of the movement!
Scroll through to see some awesome progressions by Greg!
Strength Coach, Joel Gunterman shows another great progression of our lateral drag, but the concepts never change! That really is the point of this post. Sure there is “stuff” you can do, some of it is just not very effective in achieving anything, while other stuff is flat out dangerous. If our goal was JUST to sell you a “sandbag” we wouldn’t care what you do with it. That isn’t what we want, rather, we want you to really have something special to improve how you move, feel, perform, and look. You can only do so though when you understand WHY you are doing something. I hope posts like this really help giving you purpose and plenty of awesome things to do with limited space and equipment!
Don’t forget, you can get 3 awesome new DVRT programs for FREE HERE and we will continue to offer 30% ALL throughout DVRT HERE. Not just our best selling Ultimate Sandbags, but our powerful online education too HERE!
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