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No One Has Ever Seen THIS!

No One Has Ever Seen THIS!

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I think social media is an interesting microcosm of many things, fitness being one. You can listen to what people say, do, and get a pretty good idea of what is happening out “there”. The other day I was intrigued when a fitness professional claimed that technique was all that was important in getting results and programming didn’t matter that much. I had to say something, that just seemed so strange to me. After all, technique IS so important, but just a part of the overall workout puzzle. How you fit the pieces together is how you form something really special with your fitness programs. 

That is why when we had DVRT Master Chief Instructors, Steve Di Tomaso and Kari Negraiff, presented DVRT programming at this years summit I couldn’t tell you how happy I was! Why? For ten years I have been telling people that DVRT is different, it isn’t barbells, it isn’t dumbbells, or kettlebells, or even bodyweight training. It was its own thing. In fact, if you tried to make DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training anything like these other tools you were just flat missing out. 

Steve and Kari took the concepts of DVRT and took them to an amazing new level. The first time DVRT concepts and principles were laid out in such a comprehensive manner that it truly became our own language! In order to explain WHY this is so important I want you to hear it from them and how they are completely changing how fitness is done by the innovative techniques they have developed with DVRT. 

The Language of DVRT 

Steve Di Tomaso, Co-Owner of Envision Fitness & DVRT Master Chief Instructor 

dvrt ultimate sandbag

How do I perform this exercise? What equipment do I need? How do I hold it? These questions are commonplace in fitness.

It would be great if we could all speak the same language but unfortunately coaches have developed individual dialects when it comes to exercise. Add the layers of the DVRT onto exercise and you now have mass confusion amongst coaches and exercise enthusiasts. It’s no one’s fault really, there hasn’t been a system, at least not until now. DVRT has created the solution: a universal language.

What does it mean when somebody says, “I did squats today”? Before I knew any better I assumed the only way to do a squat was the barbell back squat. As I continued learning I realized that particular squat exercise was only the tip of a very large spear. Understanding that the squat is a foundational movement that can be performed in countless ways for different purposes was a paradigm shift in the way that I thought about exercise.

To explain what I’m talking about let’s take the squat movement pattern and consider the position of the load. Load position is the placement on your body of the implement that you are using to perform an exercise. For example the placement of the load with a barbell back squat would be on your back. In general there are two barbell load positions for squatting; the front and the back of the body. We open up another can of worms when considering the possible load positions of the Ultimate Sandbag for performing a squat. Each load position causes a different demand on the body that can either make a movement easier or harder to perform.

Have you ever had problems yourself or with a client leaning too far forward or lifting their heels off the ground as they descend to the bottom of a squat? Here’s a solution: try putting the Ultimate Sandbag into the bear hug load position. It creates an accommodating resistance that will actually help you squat. A moderate load that is close to the center of gravity in front of the body will allow you to keep weight on the heels making way for a deeper squat with a vertical spine while keeping heel to ground contact. The load of the implement will also challenge you to engage the upper back muscles for stability. You may have been using similar loads with a barbell, or tried to squat unloaded, but introduction of this unique loading pattern tends to improve the squat pattern automatically and instantaneously.


As you can see load position is important, but not the only important consideration. There are several things that need to be communicated when performing exercise, and different reasons for performing each variation. A coach should be familiar with the why’s of an exercise if they are going to program it, but the user just needs to understand WHAT?
Now the question is HOW? That is what drove us to create a robust system of exercise listing and a corresponding nomenclature. This system is tried and true, and now you will have the benefit of using it as well.

DVRT Exercise Listing Structure:

  1. Implement (what am I using for this exercise? e.g. Kettlebell, Ultimate Sandbag)
  2. Load Position (where is this positioned on my body? e.g. Shoulder, Front Load, Suitcase)*see video for DVRT load positions*
  3. Relative Load Position *for asymmetrical loads* (What side of the body is this performed on? e.g. same side load)
  4. Body Position (How is my body positioned? e.g. Staggered, Single Leg, ½ Kneeling)
  5. Movement (What movement is being performed? e.g. Squat, Hinge)

Every exercise that is listed becomes an instruction manual. Not all of these components are necessary for listing every exercise, but this structure does consider everything you need to know to perform the movement. This listing structure is universal and can be used for any exercise.

For example:Barbell Back Squat (Implement, Load Position, Movement)

USB BH Squat (Implement, Load Position, Movement)-Ultimate Sandbag: Bear Hug Squat

Kettlebell SC SSL Reverse Lunge (Implement, Load Position, Relative Load Position, Movement)-Kettlebell: Suitcase: Same Side As Weight: Reverse Lunge

USB FL STG Squat (Implement, Load Position, Body Position, Movement)-Ultimate Sandbag: Front Loaded: Staggered Squat

    One system to rule them all!

    The following table contains our list of terms and abbreviations that DVRT exercises are written in:

    dvrt ultimate sandbag training

    Note: **If the relative load position is not listed for an Offset or Suitcase position it means that the load is on the opposite side of the body relative to the side that is performing the work. (If you want to get technical the contralateral side is assumed if not listed and the ipsilateral load is listed as Same Side Load).

    Communication doesn’t have to be part of the work out, training is hard enough. Since implementing the DVRT system into our programs communication at all levels has become much easier!

    Great! Now we are on common ground for exercise, how do we communicate Ultimate Sandbag dimension and loading? You will be glad to know that DVRT has now standardized loading sizes for all of the different Ultimate Sandbag sizes. Stay tuned…

    Steve Di Tomaso
    DVRT Master Chief Instructor, CSCS, Envision Fitness Director and Endurance Athlete