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My Real Life Lessons About Functional Strength


Cory Cripe, DVRT Master (Creator of DVRT Dynamic Strength & Movement Encyclopedia)

Mid-January I discovered that middle of the night darkness, stairs, and a cat aren’t really a good thing! What a freak accident to remind me of how mortal I really am as I wound up fracturing my fibula, breaking the tip of my tibia, and enjoying a high ankle sprain because…well, why not?!?!


And I know that it can never really be proven, but I think my trip down the stairs could have been more severe if it wasn’t for how I’ve been training with 100% DVRT in my own personal programs! You might be thinking to yourself, ‘What’s the difference between training with DVRT and hitting the gym and going beast mode with other modalities and principles when it comes to building strength?’

functional strength

Going through this experience wasn’t fun, but taught me important lessons that I will carry with myself to help others moving forward!

Well, I’m glad you asked!

I think back on the days (not too long ago) when I was all about that pump using barbells, dumbbells, and selectorized strength machines. Boy, I could target a certain muscle group and create that muscle building effect just like I read about in those magazines. And we all know that building bigger muscles is the equivalent to being strong, right? Just as a side note, I never really was good at building muscle mass – genetics weren’t on my side!

Besides trying to strength train against the will of my body’s natural, movement design – I was also missing out on reaping more from my strength training sessions than just building bigger muscles. What if just a fraction of the time I spent chasing bodybuilding dreams could have been spent on building better connective tissues?

Best part of my training now is not only what I do myself, but what I get to share with my family!

I believe if this tumble would have happened 5 to 10 years earlier my injury would have been more devastating. Let’s face it, the majority of “traditional” training we see, and what I was accustomed to, is limited only to one plane of motion because that is where we are the strongest, in the sagittal plane – feet are shoulder width apart and everything is up & down, back & forward. When we step outside the comfort zones of our own strengths we become vulnerable, but if we can embrace our vulnerability and allow our weaknesses to be exposed – we then can find a whole new strength.

And let me tell you, learning about my weaknesses was a very humbling experience and brought about with it many embarrassing moments in my training. So many of these DVRT drills that appeared so simple on the surface were quite challenging to me and time after time I was served a good helping of that humble pie! Frequently I would call these exercises dumb & stupid and ready to walk away, but there was a sense of needing to learn more and to become successful and proficient at these movements.

Learning to accelerate and decelerate are key attributes to real world fitness that too many fitness programs don’t discuss!

And I’m glad I stuck with it because learning to move and move with strength under load through all three planes of motion, producing force while resisting force for a favorable and effective movement outcome is the sole reason there wasn’t more damage done to my ankle at the beginning of 2020!

We hear time and time again how athletes, even professional athletes, tear/sprain/strain a muscle/ligament/tendon when they try to decelerate from a fast run. How many weekend warriors do we know who have injured an ankle, knee, or hip when trying to make an athletic move during practice or competition? I’m sure we can think of other non-contact injuries people suffer from whether as an athlete or from the general population category. I’m not saying all these injuries could be prevented and avoided if everyone did 100% DVRT. However, imagine how less severe these injuries might turn out to be if we stopped chasing big muscles in one plane of motion and learned to improve and increase our movement literacy by expanding our training base.

Being able to transition to multiple movement patterns with strength and fluidity are types of strength we should all aim for in our training. 

Not only did having better functioning connective tissue through movement strength training help prevent a more catastrophic result from my feline encounter, but it also provided me with the strong foundation for a quicker recovery and speedy rehab. Due to the appearance of my ankle, its range of motion, and how I felt overall – physical therapy was deemed unnecessary for me and I was able to get on my feet a little earlier than originally scheduled!

Now I’m not going to lie, my ankle isn’t 100% (I’m only 15 week post surgery), but I am certain that having the movement solutions through the DVRT system instead of “traditional” exercises has helped, is helping, and will help as I continue to progress and move forward with an integrative training approach with DVRT instead of isolated, body building methods: think MAX lunge power cleans instead of calf raises…you do the math!

Right now you can save 25% on Cory’s great workout programs HERE with code “save25” along with our Ultimate Sandbags and DVRT Online Education HERE

Having this crew to be strong for is ALL the motivation I need!

ultimate sandbag training