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How To Get WAY More Strength & Conditioning

ultimate sandbag training equipment

When I began my coaching career 25 years ago, strength training was done with weights (both free weights and machines) and “conditioning” was what you did on cardio equipment. Then we started to realize we were missing a great opportunity to build strength and conditioning by thinking about smarter exercises that both made us stronger and improved our conditioning at the same time. This also led to better programming that also helped emphasize these qualities (like our MRT) program.

While these have been good evolutions of fitness, they have come with a downside. Now I see a lot of the industry throwing people into big power based movements like cleans, swings, med ball slams, and sprints. People that largely have a hard time squatting well, don’t have great upper body mobility, don’t have much of a foundation of strength training and their fitness levels aren’t elite. The industry has tried to help people be more efficient with their workouts by combining strength and conditioning but the exercise selection and the programming in many cases has gone beyond the health of many people.

What can we do instead?

Over the years I have become more and more of a fan of using stability training to enhance health, mobility, strength, and yes, conditioning. Not stability in the sense of being very wobbly (either from unstable surfaces or big implements that shake around crazy). I am speaking about the instability that using implements like kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, and of course, Ultimate Sandbags can provide in more subtle but effective means.

We often take for granted the difference in pressing a barbell versus dumbbells for example. As you can see from the slide below though, pressing dumbbells actually activates more muscles at a LIGHTER weight than a heavier barbell. Why is that? Dumbbells aren’t magical, they are a bit unstable and the body has to work harder to lift them so some of that muscle activity is being dedicated to stabilizing the upper body and core. More muscles being used means we have an opportunity to build better strength and conditioning. This is a very simple example, but a powerful one in seeing how we can use the better stability principles we teach in DVRT to achieve better movement, mobility, along with strength and conditioning.

strength and conditioning

You may be thinking that “cool that is dumbbells versus barbells, but no way single arm/leg exercises can match the strength of big lifts like deadlifts, bench press, and squats so we should prioritize those!” Well, that isn’t what the research shows in this great study comparing a back squat and rear foot elevated split squat…

strength and conditioning

Sooooo now we have evidence from research that instability used the right way can absolutely improve the amount of muscles we use AND can offer the same strength benefits as heavier lifts that we THOUGHT were superior. That should point us in the direction that strength and conditioning along with our movement skills can be hugely improved through these ideas. Which this all begs the question, “why don’t more people do just that?” There are a few reasons, the most common is simply people actually don’t know the science and go off what they have always done and the trick that heavier loads (without full context of the exercise) are always superior. Now that we know that isn’t true, what else could be holding people back?

Not having proper progressions and understanding of how to use stability correctly impedes people from seeing it as a viable way to improve strength and conditioning. Here are some ways from our DVRT system that help you see how possible it is to use functional stability concepts to make anyone better!

Half Kneeling Positions

One of the easiest ways to build stability training into any program is using half kneeling positions. The very nature of half kneeling is asymmetrically loading the whole body so to produce force the body must learn to create stability. We have a lot of options in this position and can challenge the body in a lot of ways that still allows us to use appreciable load. Physical therapist, Jessica Bento, offers some great ideas below, make sure to scroll through all of them….

If being half kneeling is too unstable or uncomfortable for someone we can use split stance positions as Jessica shows combined with half kneeling ideas.

Sprinter Stances and Progressions

Another great way to use instability is using our Sprinter Stance. A lot of people have tried to hijack our concept of using the Sprinter Stance and called it so many other names, how do we know? Because where you go with this form of training tells us a lot about your understanding of it. For example, Jessica shows some great ways we can use the Sprinter Stance to introduce stability training to a lot of our strength and conditioning movements.

I break down how we can use the Sprinter Stance to also introduce more locomotive skills. These types of exercises cross so many fitness goals off at once, but because people are often stuck in understanding how we move they never even realize such exercises are possibilities.

Sprinter stances introduce instability through body position, but we can also have instability through how we load the body. Our DVRT Shoulder position is a great example that many people tend to overlook as a great option.

DVRT Master, Cory Cripe shows how we can use the DVRT Shoulder position on exercises like step-ups, but the concept can be applied to so many other movements that give us that strength and conditioning at the same time as we also build stability and mobility.

One of the big goals of ideas like the Sprinter Stance is to build into longer steps in the pattern or moving to different planes of motion. You will see two great examples of how we apply these concepts of DVRT functional stability training to achieve more in less time. Cari Satre shows us a great example below…

Then Enrique Ceniceros shows how can use kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags to combine these ideas. The point is that we have SO many better, not just more, options in building success in people’s workouts. Stability training isn’t some whacky exercise we come up with to see if people can survive performing it. Rather, good stability training will improve all aspects of one’s fitness including being a powerful tool for strength and conditioning. Think about how we load the body, the stance we use, the plane of motion we move through and/or resist. These simple, but such effective methods will give you a huge edge in your training!

This week only we are not only giving 20% ALL throughout our DVRT site, but when you invest in any of our Ultimate Sandbags (excluding kick starters) we will give you our water fillers for FREE that go with each size. That will give you the great option to use sand or water with your Ultimate Sandbags. Don’t miss huge savings on great training tools with code “summer” HERE