My legs were shaking….
My abs felt like I had just completed a forever session of planks….
My upper back was more toasted than a hard “back workout”…
I was working hard to calm down my breathing as it felt like I just did a maximal sprint.
Why in the world would anyone want to do such a thing to themselves?
I have found each of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training challenges to teach me something unique about programming, technique, and many other aspects of fitness.
We tend to focus on what we like to do, what we are good at, and not necessarily the things that will actually bring us closer to our goals.
In the case of the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Squat challenge, it was an opportunity again to learn many of these lessons.
As I mentioned in our original post about this DVRT challenge, I don’t think there is a more underused and important type of squat than the Front Loaded Squat.
The Front Loaded Ultimate Sandbag Squat is NOT a front squat, it is NOT a zercher squat, it is unlike anything else. Is it really different? I could speak about the biomechanics, the leverage, the dimension, but let’s just simply look at the real world.
There are a lot of people that can relatively easily front and zercher squat well over 200 pounds. However, give those same people a 130 pound Burly Ultimate Sandbag and you just about bury them! Why? The Ultimate Sandbag in this holding position is not unstable. Therefore, if it was the same as these barbell variations similar loads should be attained.
The difference comes in the dimension of the Ultimate Sandbag that both tries to pull more on the core and upper back as well as the fact it changes the center of gravity of the lifter.
Weakness in the upper back, core, or lower body can all cause failure in the Front Loaded Squat. What? You mean a squat that is truly a full body lift?! Yes! That is exactly how you make the squat not just a little, but way better!
Okay, ready to do the fun stuff, to train? How do you actually prepare yourself for such a lofty challenge (again, click here to see the standards for your body weight and gender).
You can talk about ideas all day, but ultimately you actually have to do it! Get a baseline, know your strengths, know your weaknesses. When you do, then you can attack your training more specifically.
Some of you will feel like the power endurance is a bit challenging, others, the strength. Let’s talk about the one that will surprise most, the conditioning you need to accomplish this challenge.
What I found especially challenging is the pace you must maintain. You can just take your time squatting up and down, you will run out of time! There is a pace, a speed in which each repetition you perform. You need to find this level because not only will you run out of time if you aren’t aware, but will also not have enough rest between sets.
That is why I love using “on the minute” training for such cases. If you are finding conditioning to be the weakness in this challenge you will want to start here. Begin with a weight a bit less than your challenge weight? I would recommend about 15% less.
You are going to hit five sets of ten repetitions for this training session. Set your timer for five minutes counting down. Hit your first set and if you are on the right pace you should have no less than about 35 seconds of rest (this assumes it takes you about 25 seconds to complete the ten repetitions). Try to maintain this pace for the duration of the five minutes.
If you complete this with no problems, the next week you are going to do the same with 12 repetitions and see if you are able to again maintain this for the 5 minutes.
After the five minutes you can work on specific weaknesses or other areas. However, realized you will probably be quite smoked! Don’t do anything overly complicated and where the stress to the body is much more moderate.
Next time we will discuss the strength component. It is often highly underrated as people are missing the beautiful combination of strength and conditioning.
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