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Getting Results From THESE Popular Core Exercises

Getting Results From THESE Popular Core Exercises

Some people wonder I care so much? Why don’t I just let people do our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises the way they want to do them?! The answer lies in that you want results don’t you? I’m not being mean or a wise guy. The truth is the past 15 years Jessica and I have worked so hard to not develop strategies that help you use sandbag exercises better, but teach you how to use your body smarter!

core exercises

A great example is how people still misunderstand the point, the uniqueness, and the progressions of our lateral drags. The lateral drag came out of the frustration of not being able to teach people how to progress their plank training into more anti-rotational training. Why would we want to do such a thing? 

core exercises

Lina Milda shows perfect positions for the lateral drag from a plank position!

Planking on its own is a very limited exercise. Its only goal is really to teach what we call “bracing” of the core. Bracing is what spinal expert, Dr. Stuart McGill, has found to be the best way to stabilize the spine with the core. What is bracing? Basically getting really tight in the whole body. As I often explain, imagine you are about to get punched in the stomach as hard as someone can hit you. What do you do to take the impact? You would get really tight in the trunk to “brace” for the impact. If that doesn’t really resonate with you don’t worry, I’ll have you feel it shortly;)

The problem with just planking is that we don’t move. The REAL point of learning to brace is so we can use this strategy in more dynamic movement. We also want to be able to brace to resist unwanted movement. I love the definition by Dr. Brandon Marcello on what stability actually means. Since most injuries occur from not being able to resist unwanted movement it is probably something we need to really teach! 

Getting Results From THESE Popular Core Exercises

That is where learning to resist rotation as we move plays a big part! However, most times when we teach people drills to resist rotation we don’t build progressions or connections to teach people HOW to resist the unwanted movement. 

A classic example is a hand to chest touch. This is a great movement, but most can’t perform the drill when they are first exposed to it. They don’t know how to use their body to resist the rotation that acts upon the body by releasing one hand on the ground. This was VERY frustrating for me as a coach because I knew it was good for my clients, but I didn’t know how to make them more successful. 

core exercises

Results Driven shows this exercise done well, but most can’t perform this exercise with the proper form.

We see this too in the popular push-up row. The point of the exercise is to resist rotation, but most people can’t and we don’t have good strategies to build them up! This is where our Ultimate Sandbag exercises like lateral drags came into play. Learning more and more about the body I looked at how our body is connected and things started to make sense. 

core exercises

If you look at the very heart of our movement, our body likes to work in opposites. That is why often when people try to perform any of the above mentioned exercises they notice when they take one arm or row a weight up, they lose tension in the opposing leg. You see below that we have systems that are designed specifically to connect our body in opposites. That’s super important, but so are these other concepts…..

  1. Range of Motion: The reality is in both cases moving the arm up towards the body is a large range of motion. Meaning that keeping the arm from moving as up the body we could actually make the exercise more progressive. 
  2. Grip Is Critical: Tension is what makes lateral drags the great Ultimate Sandbag exercises that they are and EVERYTHING begins with the grip. Having the weight of the Ultimate Sandbag in the right position and the palm being up we can create some pre-tension abasing the Ultimate Sandbag before we start moving. All this means we connect to our lats and core which helps us in using our body to help resist rotation. Not paying attention to all these aspects puts the load in the shoulder and doesn’t do anything for our core!
  3. Feet Are A Must!: The feet are the drivers of the body in all cases. Force always comes from the ground up! In order to “lock” our pelvis into place we must make sure that the balls of our feet are driving into the ground. This stabilizes us by getting more core activation from the bottom up!
  4. Friction Is Key: What makes the Ultimate Sandbag the perfect exercise for these drags (not a dumbbell or kettlebell, or whatever) is the friction on the ground the USB creates. Of all the tools that are available to us, the USB is the one with best dimension to it. So, we don’t want to just toss the weight back and forth or move quickly in the exercise. We lose the tension of the friction is what helps our core brace and learn how to resist rotation properly. 

The next part is to speak about progression. When I began teaching Ultimate Sandbag exercises I didn’t realize how difficult this was for people to put together. Working from a plank position is great, but most people (even fitness professionals) didn’t have the strength to do it from that position. In order to help people benefit from this great drill we started a series of progressions that could be done from the quadruped position. EVERYTHING remains the same, but we know can build layers. 

We don’t have to go that heavy either. When people actually learn the RIGHT way to do these Ultimate Sandbag exercises their weight drops BIG TIME! You will see there really isn’t a need to go up to Strength or Burly USBs when you see the proper way to progress our movements!

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