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Not All Squats Are Equal!

sandbag workouts

I have worked out since I was 14, that’s almost 30 years of doing tons of different programs, variations of movements, training tools, and just about everything there is to do with working out. Trust me, there have been more mistakes than I can probably even remember, but I try to learn from each and every experience. That is why it can be hard to convey to people what we teach in DVRT. We don’t teach “sandbags”, I try to bring those 30 years of lessons to you!

One of the big ones is about re-thinking the most classic of exercises. Being 6’4, having a pretty bad spine disease, not being particularly athletically gifted, often made it difficult for me to excel at what some would say are the “basics”. In fact, when I recently did a training for an Equinox the manager and I got to talking. She was in great shape and I asked her what she liked to do. Bodybuilding use to be what she enjoyed doing, during that time she suffered a bad low back injury herself. Her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t be able to accomplish her goals because of this injury. 

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Sometimes we make training harder than it has to be. Sometimes we forget that good #functionaltraining concepts that apply to one aspect of the body, apply to all parts! An example is when people speak about ankle restrictions really impairing the #squat . Sure, having more mobile ankles is great, but we don’t have to isolate the ankle/foot to achieve this! I’m a great example….after ten years of basketball my feet are RUINED! I have not only torn up my right ankle, I played on fractures causing bones to fuse. Neuropathy from my low back injury causes neurological issues in my feet as well. So, you would think #squatting would be almost impossible, add in being 6’4 you wouldn’t think good squats would be possible without MASSIVE work! …. Well, we often forget how important #core activation and learning to connect the chains of the body can be in producing movement we wouldn’t think possible. Here I show a body weight squat with no warm-up, nothing to write home about and doesn’t look so great. After a few Ultimate #Sandbag Press Out and Bear Hug squats you see how fast we can improve squat mechanics. …. This isn’t magic or just counter balance. Creating deliberate tension and bracing of the core and lats helps us use the PNF concept of “proximal stability for distal mobility.” This doesn’t just apply to my core and hips though. Grabbing the ground with the feet can help create stability in the lower body that when combined with the core work all of sudden transforms my movement. I share this because we can change people drastically quickly without boring, isolated, and overwhelmingly complicated training. The goal of #functionalfitness is to teach us how our body works so we can create great solutions fast! People won’t believe how much you can transform them when you honor how our body works and teach the body HOW to move correctly! #personaltrainer #corestrength #mensfitness #fitnessjourney #movementculture #ultimatesandbag #kettlebell #fms #fitnessgoals #sandbags #flexibility #mobilitywod #fitnesscoach #fitover40 #physicaltherapy #performbetter #strengthtraining #sandbagworkout #crossfit #sandbagtraining #strengthandconditioning @perform_better

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Specifically, she told me she was worried because she couldn’t back squat anymore. It was a good lesson for her to realize that she didn’t have to back squat to build muscle and get strong legs. Even cooler was she didn’t jump into machine training like many would probably feel compelled. She realized there were many ways to manipulate a movement to stress her body without hurting. 

I think both of our situations and experiences bring to light the different between a movement and an exercise. We focus a lot more on movements than exercises because if you understand the role of movement in training you can have literally thousands of exercises. However, if you have an understanding of only a handful of exercises you quickly become really limited in the results you can achieve. 

sandbag squats

That’s why in DVRT we have so many different exercises of a movement like squats. While most would chalk squats to just being an exercise to “work the legs” the reality is that we can can see the squats so much more if we look a bit deeper. After all, there are many ways to “work the legs” like Jessica wrote earlier this week (you can read HERE). 

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Nothing is better than showing people there is so much more to an exercise than they first might believe. I chose this anatomy pic of the #squat because it actually does a better job than most of showing that #squats aren’t really just a leg exercise. A BIG reason people struggle with squats is because they don’t engage the #core and entire body! —- A great example is @jessicabentopt . When we met, even though she was a physical therapist, she was fighting having herniated 5 discs in her back from having lifted a very debilitated patient. Body weight squats almost brought to her tears. Fast forward to today, using our #DVRT principles and using our Ultimate #Sandbag NOT as a means of just loading her body but creating a killer squat! Now she can not just squat without pain but can out lift many guys! ——- This is the power of #functionaltraining . This is the power on not just focusing on muscles but how our body creates movement. It doesn’t have to be rocket science but it’s still science. Check out my ➡️BIO for link to tons of FREE training concepts like this! #strengthtraining #functionalfitness #ultimatesandbag #womensfitness #movementculture #sandbags #kettlebell #glutes #womenwholift #sandbagworkout #fitforlife #fitnessgoals #corestrength #sandbagtraining #personaltrainer #physicaltherapy #fitnesscoach #crossfit #fitover40

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Squats are a movement pattern first and foremost and that means we want to think about how the body moves, not just what we lift. Our goal in DVRT is to get as deep as possible and our strategies often allow us to accomplish just this! But why do we want to do this?

-Mobility: The deeper into squats we can go the more mobility we achieve in the ankles, knees, and hips. These three areas are important for reducing our incidences of low back pain, but thy are also responsible for making us jump high or run fast. Whether you want to feel good or perform at your highest level, it is important to have mobility in these three areas. 

-More Glutes & Safer Knees: Squats still somehow get the reputation of being a “quad exercise”. That’s largely because if we don’t break parallel to the ground then yes, it is actually far less hamstrings and just as importantly glutes! Isn’t that bad for your knees? 

Well, considering most countries where deep squatting is still part of their culture have lower rates of low back pain might be our first sign of no! What about the knee though? Because the deeper we go we get more hamstrings and glutes, this is actually what helps us protect our knees. Don’t feel bad if you fell for this old fitness myth, a lot still do. 

sandbag squats

How do we achieve the goal of using squats to get stronger, more muscle, move better, and perform our best? That’s where I believe our DVRT squats give such great advantages. By using the Ultimate Sandbag in strategic ways we transform squats from a “leg exercise” to a full body one! DVRT squats teach how to create tension, proper movement of the squat, and how to connect our body so even someone who appears to be limited can hit a deep squat from almost day one! No, this is not hyperbole, but what we have seen time and time again. Even this woman who couldn’t squat because her knees hurt so bad. Guess what? We taught some of these ideas and she did her first pain free squats in years! 

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There are few times I feel choked up. You better turn up the 🔈🔈🔈However, this moment at this past weekend’s @perform_better summit was one of them. That’s because watching this awesome lady #squat wasn’t JUST another squat. She told me she was unable to squat because of knee pain. In fact she was going to need a knee replacement her doctor told her! .. This isn’t magic or a gimmick but the power of knowing what #functionalfitness really means. Combining mini bands and the Ultimate #Sandbag in very specific ways we were able to have her use the RIGHT muscles to take pressure off her knee. Best part was the pure excitement she had to know she could get better. THAT’s what a fitness professional can do for people! #functionaltraining #ultimatesandbag #fitnessgoals #fitforlife #womensfitness #sandbags #crossfit #physicaltherapy #kettlebell #personaltrainer #womenwholift #fitmom #absworkout #glutes #sandbagtraining #fitnesscoach #crossfit #squats #corestrength #sandbagworkout #changinglives

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Don’t worry! If you are concerned about not getting strong. Study after study shows that we can get equally strong with the load in front of our body that we do with the weight on our back, but guess this….usually with way less weight! Best of all, we actually connect our core to our legs so the strength we develop in our DVRT squats carries over better because in the real world our leg strength is totally dependent upon how strong our core is to stabilize our pelvis. 

Thanks to thoughtful coaches like Joe Sullivan, you can see how we can use Ultimate Sandbag squats from everything from challenging core stability, building mobility, and yes, creating serious real world strength!

Find out more about how DVRT changes the way you train! Save 30% on ALL DVRT Workout programs with coupon code “thanks” HERE! 

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We all know that #squats play a big role in developing strength that helps us achieve so many different #fitnessgoals. Fat loss, strength, muscular development, functional movement, squats are awesome. However, not one type of #squat does it all and we should look at the different types of squats to achieve different goals in our #strengthtraining . ______ @workwithwhatyougot1 shows these 3 Ultimate #Sandbag squats all for different purposes. The classic Shoulder Squat is a moving side #plank that allows us to make the squat more 3-D in nature learning to resist lateral motion while we squat. This may not seem like a big deal but it is crucial in building a resilient low back and knees. ______ The Pallof Press Out Squat teaches how optimizing our #corestrength actually leads to developing a better squat. Most don’t realize that problems with the squat is often correlated to not knowing how to use one’s core right. Emphasizing the press out motion with the grip really ties in the core with the lats. Watch out for one of the best #coreworkout exercises you can use! ______ Finally, the Bear Hug Squat is one of our favorites. It isn’t just holding the weight in front of the body, but trying to pull apart the Ultimate Sandbag creates tension through the whole body that makes it a better way to develop a deep squat that hits all the legs and #glutes . It makes squatting badly almost impossible. ____ Check out our BIO for the whole article for free on how to use these types of squats to build incredible real world strength and mobility. #functionaltraining #strengthandconditioning #functionalfitness #ultimatesandbag #crossfit #mensfitness #personaltrainer #kettlebell #conditioning #mobility #legworkout #sandbags #fitforlife #absworkout #sandbagworkout #fitfluential #hiitworkout #fitnesssforlife #sandbagtraining #spartanrace #performbetter @perform_better

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