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How Simple DVRT Exercises Are MOST Powerful

Scott Corso, Physical Therapist, DVRT Master Instructor

I thought I had blown it!  I try to get some form of exercise each day. Post fifty years old, exercise keeps my body going and it also keeps me sane!  More times than not, I find myself using DVRT for the great majority of my training.  Unfortunately, I had just arrived home and all my equipment was at work. That would usually get most to say “forget it”, but exercise is really my best stress and health medication.

I was taking my family to the airport the next morning, so had very little time and and no equipment (can you relate?).  Then I remembered the Power Ultimate Sandbag I had in the back of my car and the water fillers in my closet.  DVRT to the rescue!  Now the only question was what to program? 

Since my time was limited,  I broke my session up into three parts.  First a warm up/ activation with some  ground work from the DVRT Restoration program.  This was followed by two exercises that emphasized stability, balance and time under tension.  Then I finished with two exercises that were more ballistic and metabolically challenging. The best programs are not those that are the most complicated, but those that allow us to achieve the most and that is why I keep using DVRT.

In our DVRT world of training, we emphasize movement patterns as well as working in all three planes of motion.  The fundamental movement patterns are:


-Hip hinge



-Push (horizontal and vertical)

-Pull (horizontal and vertical)

-Rotation/ anti-rotation

-Trunk Flexion/ extension

-Trunk anti-flexion / anti- extension

-Single leg stance/ Balance

The three planes of motion are: the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes:


When I am building a workout, I like it to be a full body program, so I go through a process I call “checking the boxes.”  I want to be sure I address all of the fundamental movement patterns or their regressions, as well as all three planes of motion. What about making sure I hit all the “right” muscles? Well, if we focus on movement, we will hit “those” muscles and so many more! 

Many times when people are limited with equipment, their workout becomes equally limited. However, the progressions of DVRT give me a unique advantage in not having to sacrifice my workout just because I didn’t have tons of equipment.  Since I only had one bag to work with, I also needed to ask the question, “How can I make a relatively light DVRT water bag feel heavy?”  The water bag ended up weighing 40 pounds (get our DVRT Sand AND Water Fillers when you invest in any of our DVRT Water packages for 30% off with coupon “summersale” HERE)

Here is the routine I came up with:

Warm up/ core and gluteal activation:

A1: Dead bug with mini band

A2: Single leg bridge with cross patterning

B1: Bird dog with mini band

B2: Tall kneeling around the world

2 sets each of 5 reps per side/ direction

Stability/ balance round with emphasis on time under tension:

C1: Single leg dead lift with contralateral single arm row

C2: Shoulder hold rear step lunge to arc press

3 sets of 6 reps per side

Ballistic/ metabolic round

D1: Lateral step snatch

D2: MAX lunge

20 seconds work/ 40 seconds rest for four rounds each

This routine brought me to right around 30 minutes.  Mission accomplished thanks to DVRT!  Now let me break it down because when we program with DVRT it is important to ask not just what and how but also why.  Hopefully this will paint a picture of just how much can be accomplished with one tool, a few exercises and some sound principles.

Warm up for core/ gluteal activation

I love using DVRT and Ultimate Sandbags for my warm up.  I find the way it provides engagement of the sling systems of the body really prepares me for the more strenuous exercises ahead.  I keep the reps and sets low, usually a couple sets of around 5 reps since I am not looking to smoke my core but get things ready for what’s to come.

A1: Chest press dead bug with mini band

This is a great exercise for activating the anterior chain of the body.  Adding a mini band and rotating the bag increase the challenge while tapping into aspects of the anterior oblique system. The movement pattern is preparatory for the shoulder hold rear step lunge and the MAX lunge that are coming in the next round.



-Make sure to pull the bag apart for engagement of the latissimus dorsi.  

-Try to maintain the 90 – 90 degree position of the stationary leg.

A2:  Single leg bridge

This exercise is a nice compliment to the dead bug as it emphasizes the posterior chain.  It is important to pull the bag apart to engage the latissimus dorsi as it works together with the gluteus maximus as part of the posterior oblique system.



-Extend elbows and pull bag apart throughout the movement.

-Focus on foot engagement into the ground, use the foot drive to move the hips

-Avoid arching the back especially at the top of the movement

B1: Lateral iso-pull bird dog

This exercise is a nice variation on one of Dr. Stuart McGill’s big three exercises for creating spinal stabilization.  I love the increased spinal stabilization that is generated as the lateral pull on the bag activates the latissimus dorsi and in turn the thoracolumbar l fascia.

B2: Around the World

This is an amazing exercise for addressing anti-rotation.  I also like to include it in my warm-up/ movement prep portion whenever I plan to go overhead in the main portion of my routine (in this case the snatch).  It is great for improving shoulder as well as thoracic mobility and stability.

Feeling warmed up and activated, it was time to move into the stability portion of the routine.  I put these exercises first to work on balance while the nervous system was relatively fresh.

C1: Single leg deadlift with single arm row.

This exercise was helpful for engaging the deep longitudinal system.  The row also created an even greater anti-rotation challenge



-Focus on stance foot engagement while pressing the heel of the moving leg backward

-Maintain a level pelvis as the load on the contralateral side will create a tendency to want to open the hips.

-Pause at the top of the row

C2: Shoulder hold rear step lunge to arc press

This exercise works the lunge and press patterns.  The shoulder hold position on the rear step lunge in conjunction with the arc press really activates the lateral sling system. 



-Really grip the bag strongly (this was a bit challenging given the amount of water I had in the bag)

-Press the bag up with the whole body, driving from the ground.  It is not just a shoulder pressing exercise

-Pull the bag down to the opposite side shoulder

-To make it more challenging, perform the arc press in a march position

Next, I moved into the ballistic/ metabolic phase.  These two exercises also gave the benefit of addressing deceleration.  See this blog by Jessica Bento PT on the benefits of deceleration training for injury prevention: https://ultimatesandbagtraining.com/being-able-to-put-on-the-brakes-prevention-of-deceleration-injuries/

D1: Lateral step snatch

This is a great exercise for getting the heart rate up while addressing deceleration in the frontal plane as well as into anti-extension at the top of the movement.  It also has the bonus of building reactive core training which is the ability to create tension, relax, and then create the tension again.  This is at the root of power development.


-Use the snatch grip handles of the ultimate sandbag

-Pull vertically and avoid an increased lumbar lordosis in the top position


D2:  MAX Lunge

This is one of the big six exercises within the DVRT system and for good reason.  It challenges deceleration in all three planes of motion. The lunge pattern is addressed along with anti-rotation.


-Keep the chest tall

-Avoid rotating past the side of the front knee, this is an anti-rotation exercise.

This post started as a way of demonstrating the convenience of the water bag.  But I think it is really about the benefits of having a solid system that enables you to build a well balanced routine.  Life comes at us from all directions, so a system designed to address real world strength should do the same.  Ten fundamental patterns, fours sling systems, three planes of motion, one bag, and thirty minutes; so much can be accomplished with one powerful system!

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