It can be confusing, when you try to change how something is done there is a lot of questions that come with it and that is truly understandable. Very often it can feel like people are changing the “rules” and if you are kinda doing so then we better do a really good job of explaining why these are better ways to develop both movement and muscle building workouts at the same time!
I thought a great way to explain how we are going to accomplish the goals of creating better movement, strength, and muscle building workouts, I would use a real question we got the other day.
I just came across your website. Thank you for sharing your insights on this subject of Sandbag Training. I am TRYING to embrace Sandbag Training, but am having a difficult time. My background is amateur competitive body builder well as a post collegiate football player. I mention those things just to give you a bit of background regarding my fitness level.
Weight Training has been my life. However, this Sandbag journey is new territory for me. As excited as I am to journey down this path, I haven’t noticed much info on how Sandbag Training can help increase muscle mass (gains). I’m definitely aware of the power and strength benefits, as well as the functional fitness and athletic performance benefits. Although all of those benefits are welcomed, what about the (muscular) gains? As we know, getting stronger doesn’t equal getting bigger.
I have a Sandbag that can hold a little over 100 pounds. I’m really interested in figuring out how I can use these sandbags instead of using dumbbells, as you mentioned in your article. I want to build muscle, along with the aforementioned benefits. I’ve already tried a few Sandbag Training sessions and unfortunately, I felt like throwing my bags away!! 😄 But I want this to work!
Any suggestions, feedback, or comments would be GREATLY appreciated.”
Great question and I am sure one that many people have in how we are going to use DVRT to not only develop better movement skills, but muscle building workouts as well. In order to answer the question well let’s cover some important concepts that will have to be used so that you don’t toss those awesome Ultimate Sandbags away.
Isolation Is Inefficient
It would be completely unfair to say that isolated muscle building workouts don’t build muscle, they do! However, there are over 600 muscles in the human body and if we were to try to isolate each one that would take more than a few workouts. I get that there are about 550 muscles that people really don’t think about when they are developing their muscle building workouts, but every muscle is important one way or another. For example, when you do a simple biceps curl (assuming you are doing it standing) there are muscles in the hands, forearms, shoulders, upper body, and core that all become active as well. So, while you think you are isolating you are using way more muscles that you may think!
Of course I’ve seen people try to take out many of these muscles when they lay down on the ground and that is REALLY inefficient because there are a lot of muscles that make up the shoulders, upper body, and core so why not train them as well? If your core or huge muscles like the lats are fatigued before your biceps we have some other important issues to address in your training.
Many of the drills we perform in DVRT in the various rowing and pressing movements are great at building great strength and muscle building workouts. If your goal is largely building muscle, or functional strength for that matter, I would recommend that you use isolated exercises as a small part of your training. Typically when I worked with clients that had all these functional fitness goals and wanted to feel like they trained their arms, for example, we would use the last exercise in our workout to do some targeted arm work.
DVRT Master, Cory Cripe shows a few progressions of our body position where we can make the same weight of Ultimate Sandbag feel more challenging as well as increase the amount of muscles we use! When you combine that with the fact we can grip the Ultimate Sandbag for rows in at least 5 different ways, one size can still be used many different ways to increase the challenge and create better muscle building workouts.
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DVRT UK Master, Greg Perlaki shows how we can use overhead pressing to build a very strong and muscular upper body as pressing overhead requires the WHOLE body to be used and brings in almost all the muscles of the body into play. Manipulating our body position or planes of motion as Greg shows are highly effective ways of making the same weight feel more challenging and train specific goals of functional fitness.
In DVRT though we have some great opportunities to make the Ultimate Sandbag be a powerful tool even for such goals. For example, when you curl the Ultimate Sandbag in the ways we show below you actually get BETTER training of the biceps for a few different reasons.
The most obvious curl is a supinated curl with the snatch grip handles. This obviously looks very familiar for most muscle building workouts. However, due to the fact that the grip is far away from the center of mass, the biceps are trained through the entire range of motion whereas with dumbbells, because you grip at the center of mass (same as with a barbell) you only train your biceps fully through part of the range of motion.
With a dumbbell, when you pass about parallel to the ground the stress on the biceps actually decreases. This doesn’t happen with the Ultimate Sandbag.
One of the great things about the Ultimate Sandbag is that we can make it feel heavier or lighter simply by how we grip and use the USB. A favorite biceps curl in our program are grip curls. We can grip right onto the Ultimate Sandbag and because we are not holding handles we have to use our hands more. Our grip actually increases the amount of our biceps we use, you can feel this by just squeezing your hand into a tight fist. If we grip higher to the top or more by the middle also is a way to make the same weight feel easier.
There are also most subtle but extremely effective ways of using our DVRT concepts to make familiar muscle building workouts seem very new, but also better as coach Troy Anderson helps me show.
We can use these concepts to challenge the triceps as well, but hopefully you see the point. However, if you are looking to use the Ultimate Sandbag to perform lateral raises, chest flies, etc. a single 100 pound Ultimate Sandbag isn’t going to be your solution. That isn’t an indictment of the Ultimate Sandbag as much as it is that such a thing wouldn’t work for any tool. If I gave you a pair of 80 pound dumbbells and that’s it or a barbell of 300 pounds (without being able to change weight) there would be a good number of exercises you wouldn’t be able to use.
There are certain exercises that I will be honest like bench press that the Ultimate Sandbag just doesn’t work well for, there are simply better options when it comes to such movements. However, we do follow more the old time bodybuilding ideas when pressing overhead was far more common.
Don’t Focus A Lot On Power
If the primary goal of training is to use muscle building workouts, you probably aren’t going to focus as much on power based movements like high pulls, cleans, snatches, shoveling, etc. It isn’t to say that these DVRT movements can’t put on muscle, but the very brief time under tension makes them not as ideal (the exception would be using a clean and press type of movement).
Slowing things down and using exercises that have more time under tension like squats, front loaded good mornings, lunges, etc. in the lower body and rowing and pressing in the upper body, gives us muscle building workouts that also help us move and feel better. The beauty of using the Ultimate Sandbag is the fact that the USB itself activates a lot of muscles in even familiar movements. We were one of the first to show in a University study that holding dumbbells of equal weight in the same position while performing lunges wasn’t equal. The research showed that the Ultimate Sandbag activated more muscles and expended more calories.
Coaches Greg Perlaki and Cory Cripe show some of the ways in DVRT we make squats more challenging and great for muscle building by changing where we hold the weight and/or the stance we take when we squat.
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Drills like Greg shows below are highly effective ways of building muscle in the lower body even though the weights don’t seem like they would be typically as heavy, but that is because how we are using the weight isn’t the same!
If we look at the physiques of Weightlifters, it is hard to say that power training can not be a part of good muscle building workouts!
This isn’t to say that power movements can’t be part of muscle building workouts, exercises like Shouldering, Cleans, etc. train TONS of muscle and were a part of old time bodybuilding programs, but when machines came along and the idea of really emphasizing isolation movements became popular we lost the idea we can be strong, muscular, and mobile. If you use the Ultimate Sandbag with the intent that the DVRT system provides then there really isn’t any fitness goal you can’t achieve. You can tweak things to fit your fitness level and aspirations.
Check out Greg’s video below that definitely is a muscle building workout, but also does so much more! Don’t miss saving 25% on our Ultimate Sandbags, Workouts, & DVRT Online Certifications/Courses with code ” 25off” HERE
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