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Is Your Strength Training Making You Weak?!

I thought I was pretty bad ass! I deadlifted in the mid 500’s, I could squat well over 400 pounds. I even could put 300 pounds overhead with a thick bar! Yea, I had this functional training thing down pretty well, at least I thought I did!!!

What I thought was the best way to get real world strong was causing me more and more problems. The little progress I would make in training would be matched with more time trying to take care of an ailing hip, an increasingly more painful low back, and tight shoulders. Sure, I rationalized everything as saying I was being, “hardcore”, or thinking that serious strength training couldn’t come without some aches and pains.



The truth is though that the more I kept down this road the greater and greater my problems became. What was especially interesting was that I kept also justifying that my weaknesses weren’t that. That the exercises and movements I wasn’t good at weren’t important, they weren’t REALLY about strength!!

Eventually I caved, getting up out of bed was painful, I felt so stiff and tight so often I knew that something had to change. My biggest fear wasn’t what was happening to my body, but rather, could I still get strong? I loved the feel of getting stronger, lifting challenging weights, and pushing myself. Could I accomplish such goals if I wasn’t training the way that so many said was right?!


Everything Changed!

You know, as much as I was going down a rough path myself that was NOT what made me REALLY change my philosophy. I had a wonderful client, he trained hard, he was inspired, he wanted to push himself. In many ways he was a dream client so I pushed him like I thought “serious” people would need and want. So, one day we were training and during our workout he dropped to the ground!!!

I was freaked out, I didn’t know what happened!! His back had gone out on him and watching him rive in pain I couldn’t believe that I had let him down. I was responsible for his well being, his health and well being, and I lost what was important! Fortunately, he was fine and just had a spasm, but I was so disappointed with myself that I knew I had to find a better way.

THAT is what led me to really think about DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. It wasn’t that I wanted to use our Ultimate Sandbag more, to be honest, at that time it wasn’t much of a business. I just knew I had tried so many different training tools, methods, and programs that maybe I had to think REALLY different!

There wasn’t much to look up in regards to “sandbag training”, about 40 pages in all the books I could possibly get my hands on. I made a decision, we weren’t going to play by the “rules” of fitness. Rather, we were going to really look at how people moved and performed. That simple idea led to the development of a very elaborate system.


Does Great Strength Have to Hurt or Make You Weak?

The title of this DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training blog was from the reminder of how I began to realize that the “strength” training that I was doing with clients was building a specific strength that seem to leave with tons of functional training weaknesses. I thought the typical form of strength would fix everything, but it really wasn’t.

So, my BIG quest for DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training wasn’t to popularize sandbag exercises, but to build a system where people could feel strong AND feel good! Sounds impossible, but is it?!

It became clear that the way I wanted DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training to be was a system where you could lift challenging weights WHILE learning to move and function better. How can we do this?


Above is a GREAT example! DVRT Australian Master, Cam Ward, has his client doing 130 pound Burly Up Downs. If you never felt 130 pounds it feels like a bloody ton. I wish I could tell you a free weight measure, but the loading is so unique that it is hard to compare to anything. I can tell you that most mortals can’t hold the weight, forget about moving with a combination of stability, mobility, and strength like is done here. That is pretty amazing strength!

As we worked with more and more people from all the world I began to understand a few important things…

1. People really wanted this! I always say we don’t teach “sandbags”, we don’t! We offer people a solution to getting strong and feeling great doing it!

2. Strength means something different for each person. Don’t let others tell you what strength is, find out what is important to you and use strength to make you better.

3. REAL people are the best!!! Of course helping anyone to their fitness goal is great, but athletes are usually gifted, some even say “just don’t screw them up!” I know we can make athletes better and it means something to them, but it just isn’t the same. When you have seen that person that has just struggled and struggled with their fitness, seeing them progress and be successful is just something special. Kinda what I felt watching DVRT Master, Daniel Jackowicz wrote about below…

The REAL moral of this DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training blog is that strength is something personal. It is important but it should NEVER compromise how you feel and what is REALLY meaningful to you. Don’t let others dictate what YOU should be doing, find how strength can speak to you and make your life so much better!