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Is It The Tool Or The System?

Is It The Tool Or The System-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
DVRT Master Chief, Senior RKC, OS Instructor and MFF Metal Head

Being injured sucks. It takes a level of patience to let things heal. With the nickname of Fury, it probably won’t surprise you to know that patience is skill I often don’t possess. Well, we all have our burdens to bear. After participating in a 3 day certification (no, it wasn’t DVRT;), I’ve been dealing with a slightly torn supinator in my left forearm and some pain in my left shoulder. The tear has had a pretty severe effect on my ability to grip and the shoulder hasn’t been feeling stable or sturdy. After two weeks of chilling the hell out, I was dying to move. Dying to move, but super cautious not to create any setbacks.

Fury s tear large - Is It The Tool Or The System?

Here’s what I did:

Kettlebell Swings x20: Light weight to keep pressure of the left arm.
Pistol Squats to box x5 per side: These were just to parallel using my fire escape as a box.
Incline Push-ups x15: Again, these were to fire escape to keep undo pressure off of the shoulder and forearm.

*As little rest as needed for 5 rounds

I focused on quality of movement and everything felt great. I decided to try loading my pistol squats, but was super concerned about how my arm and shoulder would feel. I came up with two options to try. I ended up giving Pistols a shot with a 12kg kettlebell and a 20 pound Core Ultimate Sandbag. The results were interesting but not entirely surprising. The kettlebell demanded more grip but less shoulder stability. Neither was awesome in my current state. Darn it though if your desire to stay on track doesn’t make you work through some discomfort. 

ultimate sandbag training

The Ultimate Sandbag was the clear winner!

The outer handles allowed me to pull the Core apart the whole time demanding less crush grip force and truly activating my lats the entire time to keep the shoulder feeling packed, happy and healthy. Another benefit was the wider distance between hands allowed me to use less counter weight to get the same sense of stability on the way down.

The simple idea of manipulating the way the load was held allowed me to actually train. If I were more healthy I could have held the Ultimate Sandbag differently to focus more grip. However, the goal was to get me to train and not feel the pain that has driven me crazy! 

Most people just grab a weight and they don’t think about the simple, but important nuance of things like how they hold a weight. With just a simple alteration to what I was doing, I was able to both train and keep some of my sanity and joy in training. 

Now the important point I’m trying to make here isn’t which tool is better. This piece isn’t a kettlebell versus Ultimate Sandbag battle.

What this piece IS about, is the DVRT System that provided me the coaching fundamentals to take a look at a problem, devise some options and create a safe plan of action. In other words…

F&#k yeah DVRT!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again, and again… infinity), Dynamic Variable Resistance Training is a fully realized strength training and coaching system. Given my current situation, I was able to figure out the best possible holding and body positions to accomplish the task at hand. There will be times when the kettlebell would win in a comparison. Regardless, I would still be using it through a DVRT lens.

I hope this concept makes sense. When you are training or going through a workshop or cert, are you learning how to use a tool? Or are you learning how to train/coach people with a deep and growing system. Systems equal success regardless of implement. A tool is just a tool. Don’t be a tool.

Check out a DVRT certification or workshop near you HERE.

Yours in strength and fury!

-Fury out

Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury’s a DVRT Master Chief Instructor, Senior RKC, and an Original Strength. He is available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. He also has availability for private training at Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. Check out www.coachfury.comfacebook.com/coachfury IG @furynyc and Twitter @coachfury for more info.