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How to Build Real World Strength

ultimate sandbag

After physical therapist, Dan Swinscoe’s excellent article yesterday on why we need to teach people to be strong more than up and down (you can read HERE), I thought it would be worth elaborating how in DVRT we use the planes of motion that almost no one else discusses.

If you didn’t catch it, Dan talked about the fact that there are three planes of motion in every day movement. Sagittal is the most familiar up and down motion that most exercises are almost exclusively training. Movements like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and push-ups. While these are all good drills, if we focus on them exclusively, then we miss a bit part about real world strength training.

Should You Train Sagittal Plane?

Many coaches that I see that try to tackle the concept of planes of motion, cause a polarizing feeling. They usually go in saying the sagittal plane is “worthless” because we NEVER move JUST in the sagittal plane in real life. That is not only false, it is missing the difference using strength training that enhances what we do in life and thinking that we have to replicate what we do in life in training (that is NOT functional strength training!).

In DVRT the sagittal plane is very important. It helps us build foundational strength as well as building movement competency in a more stable environment. When learning how to squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, and rotate, we need to have the ability to move very well before we add complexity. That is why we spend time teaching from the sagittal plane first!

DVRT masters, Steve Holiner and James Newman break down the details of learning our sagittal plane movements that are essential for progressing to more complex strength training. 

DVRT Master, Cory Cripe covers how we build proficiency in the squat in the sagittal plane before we move on. 

And Then…..

We often hear, “stick with the basics” because most people don’t know where to go once thy have learned the foundational movements in the sagittal plane. Obviously we can’t keep pounding the sagittal plane movement because we eventually hit a plateau. It could be due to A LOT of reasons, but one that few discuss is teaching our strength training to grow by using the other planes of motion.

Developing the other planes of motion (predominately the frontal and transverse) isn’t just done because we are trying to replicate life movement. These factors are important because when we have weakness in these other planes it limits the force we can produce in the sagittal plane (I broke that down in more detail as far as squats HERE).

Where do we start though? As Dan wrote, learning to resist these planes of motion are key before we go into training into them. Why? If we don’t know how to control our body with postures that are being “pushed” out of alignment by these other forces then we won’t be able to move through them with great proficiency.

Cory shows our favorite way to build the ability to resist the frontal plane in the upper body. 

I break down how to use frontal plane resistance in our hip hinge patterns before we move to greater complexity. 

The point? What most people think of as “balance” is actually being able to move and resist these unwanted forces. They also are essential because they represent what we REALLY mean when it comes to stability training as Dr. Brandon Marcello points out.

shoulder mobility

When we are looking to build real world strength, having a system is so important. When you take a sneak peek into one of our DVRT certifications you can see how Cory has the group go through using these principles in practical ways. Understanding how we create movement and that strength is more than ONE thing, we get purposeful variety and greater intent with our strength training. That means greater solutions and results.

Find out more how we teach these concepts at our last DVRT events of 2019 HERE. Can’t make it to a live event? Check out our DVRT Online education for 30% off with code “fall” HERE