account My cart 0
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Ultimate Sandbag Exercises Improve Your Low Back

sandbag training

THOSE Ultimate Sandbag exercises are going to KILL your low back! Such a statement t is obviously to be sarcastic. However, it is how people really do react to many of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. This seems to be REALLY ironic considering I’ve had 4 spinal surgeries and spent most of my life dealing and managing chronic back pain as well as the fact I’m married to a physical therapist. You would THINK at least ONE of us would be more broken by our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises if this were the case. 

The fact that I have made such huge strides in my health and Jessica has as well (with her FIVE disc herniations) is strong evidence that our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises do the exact opposite. However, what is sad is that people do believe this when they see several of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises so let’s explain how it is quite the opposite!


I’m often disheartened how many professionals don’t understand rotation even though it is one of the seven primal movement patterns of human movement. When people see us performing our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises with rotation being involved they quickly freak out! I understand, they may not understand what is actually happening. 

Now, if you look at how a lot of people perform rotation, that IS a good way to hurt your low back! How do I mean? Most people don’t create rotation through the hips and they place most of the movement through the lumbar spine. Why is that a problem? Well, the hips are designed to have A LOT of rotation while the lumbar spine has very little. I believe the hips have somewhere around 60 degrees of movement to them where the lumbar spine has 6-12 (depending upon segment and source of the information). We can debate exact numbers, but the point is the hips obviously have a lot more than the lumbar spine. 

Research has shown that actions like flexion and rotation of the spine (at the same time) is one of the easiest ways to hurt the low back. 

That means we need the movement to come from the hips, not the low back. How do we do so? Teaching proper foot movement is key and it is foreign to most in the gym. Before we start throwing medicine balls are doing any crazy explosive rotational exercises, we have to teach the simple footwork that changes rotation from either being a powerful functional exercise or the easiest way to hurt yourself! 

sandbag exercises

What makes an exercise a rotational movement is what the feet do, moving through the hips and not the low back. Most people misunderstand anti-rotational exercises as rotation. 

A big part of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises is teaching people how to be mobile in hips and lower body while being stable in the trunk. The great thing about rotation done correctly is that we have largely a moving plank. This is REALLY important to teach, but how do we do so? DVRT Master, Sean Lettero gives a great example of a way we use DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises with our Core Strap and bands to teach people how to brace as we teach proper rotation. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sean Lettero (@seanlettero) on

As we continue to build this pattern through the progressions of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises, we eventually get to the drill that makes many people crazy….Around the Worlds. People think we are going to break their backs and shoulders at the same time! Well, first if you can’t move your shoulders in internal and external rotation we have a health problem, not a fitness problem. 

Having said that, this DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise is SOOO badly understood. It is very different from other drills that look similar like kettlebell halos or mace 360’s. Those are both anti-rotational drills for one, but they also lack the range of motion and the footwork that Around the Worlds require. So what?

Having the larger range of motion (starting at hour hips and not the chest) we have more of a lift/chop motion which is a PNF therapeutic pattern for developing deeper core strength. The muscles that really are responsible for stabilizing the spine. This same pattern is responsible for largely connecting the shoulders and hips to the core which makes them stronger and more mobile. 

PNF is a very extensive therapeutic system of using diagonal patterns to restore movement, not just contract-relax stretching. 

Giving people a wider grip is also a way to give more freedom of movement to the shoulders which compared to the other two drills mentioned is much wider and therefore easier upon the shoulders. Lastly, we don’t move the weight with our shoulders or our low back, we move the weight with the force we create from the ground that goes up through our hips and core. 

The arms actually just direct the movement during this Ultimate Sandbag Training exercise so done correctly you don’t feel the shoulders at all. In reality, this is one of the best shoulder drills you can do. Not only do you get internal/external rotation of the shoulders, not only do you develop a more stable core, but we know that the shoulders are connected to the opposing hips (read our article about the lats yesterday to really understand why) so by mobilizing and strengthening the hips we actually make a very positive influence over the shoulders. 

You are quickly seeing, what may appear to be “dangerous” DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises are actually ways you can make your body better as long as you do one thing…..work through progressions! The sad part about social media and our world is that people may only see ten seconds of your work and make judgement without more information. That is the way it is, but most people miss we are trying to get them into what our DVRT system is and understanding ALL Ultimate Sandbag exercises are progressions from somewhere else!

When you start to realize what goes into an exercise from the technique to the intent, your whole perspective and value of the movement can change dramatically! That’s why we look for reasons to make our DVRT system more available to you! Get either on our DVRT Online programs HERE or DVRT workout programs HERE for 25% off with coupon code “fall” for a limited time and learn what real functional fitness is all about!

Learning the Around the World and proper rotation opens a much bigger world of functional training!