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Fitness More Than Up and Down!

Fitness More Than Up and Down-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

We know that good functional training looks at movement in many different ways. One of the ways that we can progress our workouts is by changing the plane of motion. While weight, reps, density, and even speed get a lot of attention in discussing how to change the intensity of exercises, planes of motion rarely get the same level of importance.

It isn’t that most fitness professionals wouldn’t agree working in different planes of motion, but the challenge that comes to most is how to progress. We already know that working the various planes of motions change how different muscles are emphasized as well as causing different muscles to go from stabilizers to prime movers.

What is the solution? In Dynamic Various Resistance Training (DVRT™) we look at how and when to use different planes of motions to create progressive overload. Instead of haphazardly applying the planes of motion, caution and thought should be applied in the same manner as load, volume, and other training variables.

That is why establishing good movement patterns in the sagittal plane are so important. The sagittal plane is our most stable plane of motion and allows us to teach and gain proficiency in many of the foundational functional movement patterns. However, once we do achieve good movement we can look to progressing our movement skills. That would lead us to the introduction of frontal plane movements.

In past Metabolic Stability instructional posts we have shared the we both need to learn to resist the frontal plane as well as move in the frontal plane. What are good drills to learn to resist frontal plane movement?

• Lunge variations
• One arm kettlebell swings
• Ultimate Sandbag arc presses
• Alternating rows
• One arm kettlebell presses
• Ultimate Sandbag shoulder squats
• Side plank variations
• Half kneeling variations

These are just a few of MANY possible drills that challenge our body’s ability to resist the frontal plane. So, once we have established good movement in the sagittal plane, spent time teaching how to resist the frontal plane, then we can actually start moving in the frontal plane. The frontal plane is more stable than the transverse plane so learning to move in a new plane is extremely beneficial and important in layering more progressions.

Hinge vs. Lunge

When we look at how we teach most of the foundational movement patterns in the sagittal plane the same thought process should be used in other planes of motion. For example, many times we will teach the hip hinge prior to the squat for a multitude of reasons. Less mobility demands, strengthening typically weaker areas of the body, learning how to pick up weight from the ground are just a few of the many reasons. Well, if this is good enough for the sagittal plane ti should also work in the frontal plane progressions.

Too many coaches actually make frontal plane training too difficult for their clients by first teaching lunging rather than the frontal plane hinging. The hinge has less mobility demands, teaches people how to load the posterior chain, and demonstrates how to integrate the entire body into the movements. Like all our Metabolic Stability series we have some great progressions.

Ultimate Sandbag Shucking

ultimate sandbag training


Created by DVRT Master Instructor, Troy Anderson, Ultimate Sandbag Shucking is just one of those drills that LOOKS easy, but is much more difficult than its appearance. Ultimate Sandbag Shucking teaches good core strength/endurance, how to load the hip in the frontal plane, and how to keep proper tension in the upper body that helps the lower back. We use Ultimate Sandbag Shucking early in frontal plane training because instead of trying to move the body as one unit and learning to step and decelerate we start in a stable base that focuses on simple transfer of weight .

Ultimate Sandbag Frontal Plane Deadlift and Row

After we establish good fundamentals in the frontal plane with Shucking we can progress by having the body take that lateral step. This teaches us how to decelerate and resist rotation of the torso. We have to also create more acceleration to come back from the lateral step. Adding the row not only allows us to strengthen the upper back and create a unique row, but allows us to emphasize proper positioning and alignment.

Kettlebell One-arm Frontal Plane Deadlift to Tactical Lunge

In many fitness programs coaches will create workouts that help reinforce the differences between hip hinging and squatting. With a bit of creativity we can do the same thing with hip hinging in the frontal plane and lunging. Not only can we teach hip hinge versus lunge, but once again place more emphasis on the frontal plane. By using one-arm with the kettlebell we not only allow frontal plane forces to be worked, but also introduce greater anti-rotational forces and start building more towards transverse plane movement. The transition to the tactical lunge gives us a drill that resists frontal plane forces. So, now we have both elements of frontal plane training.

Ultimate Sandbag Bucket Lateral Squats

ultimate sandbag training

Once the hip hinge in the frontal plane has been established, working other movements like squats will allow greater progression and variation. The term “lateral squat” is used instead of lunging because we are not stepping. A simple tool like a Valslide allows us to add another incremental level of progression. Like in the hip hinge, sliding in the lateral squat is easier than stepping in the frontal plane and lunging. The bucket position with the Ultimate Sandbag not only allows us to apply load, but helps with mobility as it “pulls” people into a good squat position which can be difficult in a new plane of motion.

Kettlebell Rack Lateral Squats

As we move the weight up the body, the intensity increases. We don’t always need big weights because altering leverage will give the perception of greater load, but we can also challenge stability at the same time. The kettlebell rack position allows a simple transition up the chain from the bucket position, but also provides an asymmetrical load. Having both an asymmetrical load and body position is a great way to build more sophisticated movements. By switching the arm the kettlebell is held in we can also stress cross patterning or other asymmetrical positions which provides a greater neurological stress.

Ultimate Sandbag Shoulder Lateral Squat to Arc Press

The eventual goal in any of our programs is to eventually teach people how to make transitions from one movement pattern to another. We use many such examples all the time in exercises like Thrusters (squat and press). There is no reason we can’t use this idea in other planes of motions. The Ultimate Sandbag Shoulder Lateral Squat to Arc Press takes the idea of the Thruster to another level. Now we build a frontal plane movement for the squat and frontal plane press (we have resisting frontal plane by the trunk). The great thing is any time we use the Shoulder position of the Ultimate Sandbag we have a side plank we are using in the core. A very powerful movement.

Try using these progressions and see how seamless you can progress your clients to smarter and more beneficial functional movements while also giving them a TON of meaningful variety.