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Stronger Knees Through Better Exercises

sandbag exercises

Seems to be the common “chicken or the egg” situation. So many people struggle with knees, yet, when you explain people to how lunges can be such a powerful solution to their knee problems they look at you like you are nuts! How can lunges create stronger knees with an exercise that is so problematic for those with “bad knees.”

Well, before we go down too far the rabbit hole (really an animal based blog), we have to understand that A LOT (not all) knee issues aren’t really a factor of bad knees. Going back to the concept that Mike Boyle and Gray Cook popularized in the “Joint by Joint Approach”, we see that the knee is usually a victim to what is above and below the joint.

stronger knees

Building stronger knees is really a function of getting people to use their feet and build greater pelvic and core strength. The feet, toes, ankles, and lower leg set the foundation for stronger knees. You can see by the diagram above that if any of those areas are compromised how the issues are going to go right up the chain!

Same thing happens when going down the body that if the pelvis can’t stabilize, it changes the knee angles and puts excessive stress on the knees. An easier way of thinking about the knees is that the more simple the joint, the more they are often a byproduct of other parts of the body working.

Knees are largely just a hinge joint, so they are truly a result of the more complex joints that are above and below the area. That is why our DVRT lunges are so key in developing stronger knees. Not just because we are going to strengthen these muscles that are above and below the area, but we use progressions that force the feet, hips, and core to be strong in all three planes of motion.

Teaching the body to be reactive in our DVRT lunges we MUST grab the ground with our feet, we MUST create stability through the core/pelvis. In fact, many of these progressions are what Gray Cook calls, “self-limiting” exercises.

What the term means is that inappropriate performance of the exercise causes it to be impossible to lift the weight. That the actual nature of the movement prohibits bad form, the weight can not make the end point of the exercise if the drill is done badly.

sandbag exercises

Now, that is an awesome idea and I would say it is LARGELY true, especially with the DVRT drills we are talking about. However, over 20 years of coaching have also showed me that people can do some pretty incredible things when it comes to doing movements incorrectly!

That’s why progression is always been at the heart of what we do with DVRT programs and when people ask, “how do I get better at that exercise?!” the answer is usually, “do the one the came before.” In this case, DVRT drills like Jessica shows here gives a strong foundation for where we want to go ultimately in our venture of building stronger knees!

Building a good foundation of body awareness, positioning, and alignment gets us to our goal of building greater resiliency and real world strength through some of these DVRT progressions that DVRT Masters, Cory Cripe and Sean Lettero break down!

At first glance these movements may seem the OPPOSITE of building stronger knees. However, if you think about the lessons of movement and our body’s design that I discussed earlier, if you think about the progressions I just laid forth, it should be obvious that this is EXACTLY our training needs to go! Of course, look at the progressions and foundations, don’t think of these as individual exercises with no connection.

Of course, Cory had to tell me too how he had been enjoying using our DVRT Water Bags for many of these drills. They provide even MORE feedback and reactivity to the training. According to Cory….“Substituting sand for the greater instability of the DVRT Water Bags is a perfect way for me to increase the intensity of any fundamental DVRT drill and hone in my movement strength. I have discovered the constant movement of water forces my body to be more precise in movement, creating more awareness of my feet’s engagement with the ground to better react to the tidal waves occurring in the Ultimate Sandbag.” 

Helping people learn how to make their bodies better AND train in really fun and dynamic ways is what inspires us to keep pushing forward with DVRT! Check out these DVRT progressions and don’t forget you can still save 25% on our DVRT Water Bags (you get the sand fillers for FREE) when you use coupon code “summersale” HERE. Don’t miss also the great chances to learn more about the body through our DVRT Restoration Course HERE