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Is Weight Always The Answer? The DVRT Solution

sandbag training

Cory Cripe, DVRT Master (Creator or DVRT Movement Strength Programs)

Before I was a DVRT certified instructor I made the mistake of thinking that increasing the size of The Ultimate Sandbag (moving from a Power USB to a Strength USB) was always about the weight, but hold on to your snatch-grip handles – there’s more to it than that!

It only makes sense, right? If I want to increase the intensity of a given exercise, making the implement larger is going to do the trick – can I get an AMEN! Think about those dumbbell racks from left to right, they go itty bitty to so freaking huge that they won’t fit in the racks and have to lie on the floor!

However, if I am doing DVRT MAX Lunges, going from a smaller USB to a larger one may not do what I think it will do. As you see in the video below both USBs weigh 40 pounds, but the compactness of the Power USB allows for more speed and a higher trajectory creating an insane level of intensity; whereas the larger dimensions of the Strength USB creates more instability, slows down the same movement, and inhibits the trajectory – still challenging and intense, but a whole different meaning nonetheless!

So moral of the story – when you want to increase the intensity, use a smaller USB? Of course not, can you imagine doing front loaded squats with a 20-pound Core USB versus an 80-pound Burly USB. The take home message is there is more variable in DVRT than the holding position and body position while using the Ultimate Sandbag!

When greater speed and a higher trajectory is needed (MAX Lunge, Shoveling, Around the Worlds, etc), I’m reaching for a more compact, stable USB – even if it’s lighter in weight. I will say, however, I do also appreciate MAX Lunges kept to one side with a larger, more unstable USB for grind-it-out-strength … again so much more variable to our training than just weight!

Now on the flip side, I will actually use a USB with larger dimensions over a compact one for some DVRT drills. Even if this means moving to a heavier weight because, believe it or not, this will actually make things “easier.” What on Earth could I be talking about?

It may seem like I’m contradicting myself, but wait for it: sometimes a USB with a larger dimension is more stable than a compact USB. Anytime an exercise calls for the USB on the fists, I’ll choose one with more surface area and not so compact. This time around compactness creates an unstable implement and will make some DVRT drills more challenging than they need to be! 

I find clients using a 40-pound compact Power USB are more focused on not letting it fall off their fists and struggle to press overhead than if they use a 50-pound Strength USB. Isn’t that just crazy?!?! The heavier USB proves to be less challenging to press overhead than the lighter USB … it’s not the weight that is the marker of intensity here – it’s the load!

Changing the dimensions of the USB, not just increasing or decreasing the weight, is going to take the same exercise and totally change the meaning of it and you can’t get that kind of love from dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells!

Find out more about how to improve your real life strength training with Cory’s great DVRT Movement Strength programs HERE

sandbag exercises