For years I was frustrated. It was almost to the point where you come to terms with the fact that things aren’t going to look THAT good! I am talking about the challenge that faced me every day as a fitness professional trying to get people to squat well.
For awhile I was mistaken in the idea of proverbial, trying to fit a squat peg in a round hole. Usually it was two different traps. The first being the idea that you don’t load anyone in the squat until they can squat perfectly with their body weight. Makes sense, seems right, why would you put weight on anyone until they can “own” how their own body moves.
We stretched, we did mobility drills, we foam rolled, in other words, you name it, we did it! Yet, my clients didn’t improve all that much. I knew there was something wrong, I just didn’t know WHAT?! Over time it became more clear to me. People didn’t know how to move their body through space. You could possess good flexibility, but that didn’t necessarily mean you knew how to move your own body.
This led to a great portion of my frustration. I saw the problem, I knew the problem, but I didn’t know how to FIX the problem. Inevitably I make the mistake that probably a lot of people do when they fall into the gap. The gap of seeing a problem, making progress, but not enough to get them to where you really wanted. I loaded them.
Maybe it was what some of fitness professionals say, “you just gotta get stronger!” Yea! The reason they aren’t moving well is that they just aren’t strong enough. This sounded good to, after all, every fitness professional wants to get to the point where they can challenge their clients. This gave me the green light to put weight on people without feeling guilty about it.
I don’t think I could really ever feel comfortable loading this woman without fixing her squat FIRST!
Unfortunately, it became very evident quickly that this was not the answer either. As soon as I put weight on my clients back they seemed to fold like a chair. It didn’t take much weight, just the application of some weight upon their back just made things worse, MUCH worse.
Okay, we can fix this, I thought. We will just move the weight to the front position and perform Front Squats. Yes! That is the answer. Better, but unfortunately not much. Even though the weight was in a safer position it just didn’t make them move that much better either. How was I suppose to get them stronger if I couldn’t get them to perform a squat well?
Yes, It Is That Easy
Fast forward ten years and I have what I think is this holy grail of teaching people how to squat. Before I explain, I wanted to share with you how sometimes as teachers we are our own worse enemy.
As I shared with you above, I went through YEARS of frustration in figuring out how to teach people how to squat. Sometimes the answer is in front of us, but we think it has to be something more elaborate, more complicated, maybe more sophisticated looking.
A few years ago I was speaking at a major fitness conference when I got to talk to Chad Skrederstu of the 168 Approach of Fitness. Chad expressed to me how he couldn’t believe how our simple DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills fixed his clients’ squats immediately. It wasn’t the fact that these drills did work that Chad thought was so shocking, but the fact that it was really simple to do! I’ve been there, we sometimes believe the more complex the proposed solution the move valuable it is to our training. Sorry, that is not always the case!
The DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Solution
Why do these two DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training squatting drills work so well? They do a few things really well.
-Counterbalance: Placing the weight in front of the body is a step in the right direction, but that is not the whole story. The weight being in front of the body gives feedback to our body on how to move. We learn what segments need to move in what sequence to balance ourselves from the load being dispersed in front of our body. By the weight of the Ultimate Sandbag showing us where to go, our body starts to learn how and what a good squat feels like.
-Core Work: Specifically we are talking about the front of the “core”. No not the strength the comes from crunches, but a more sophisticated type of plank. We are learning how to brace the torso so that we can move more freely and strongly in the lower body.
-Knees Out: There has been some debate about knees going out, but I think there is no debate. Having taught this strategy to hundreds of fitness professional, it works way to well not to share. Most people think they have to “sit back” first in the squat. However, this usually causes people to bend too far forward especially in their low back. The position of the Ultimate Sandbag makes people want to move their knees outwards which gives them a stronger base to work from in performing the squat.
-Better Upper Body: If you ask people what the squat works, they will tell you the lower body. They aren’t wrong, however, the lower body is only part of the story. The upper body action actually serves as a base in which the lower body will move from. Just try it, slouch your shoulders and try to perform a great squat, very difficult right?! Now hold your shoulders down and back and see the difference.
Are These DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Really Any Different?
Okay, you buy into all these ideas, but you see exercises like kettlebell or dumbbell Goblet Squats and wonder, “what’s the difference?” There are two things that really stand out to me.
Comparing the Ultimate Sandbag Bear Hug Squat to the kettlebell goblet squat as you can read about in our DVRT Book HERE
Dimension: The fact that the Ultimate Sandbag runs a greater distance along the body gives a “pull” that allows the body to find the squat in an even more upright position.
Part of the Body: Just as we spoke about, making the upper body more important in the movement actually results in a better squat. As dumbbells and kettlebells become heavier it becomes more difficult to make the load part of the body. The Ultimate Sandbag is the opposite. As the Ultimate Sandbag becomes heavier, it becomes easier to make it part of the body.
Check out this picture and you can see a rather dramatic difference in back position.
Don’t let your skepticism be your worse enemy. Try these two awesome DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training squatting drills to see if you get better squats INSTANTLY!