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The Best Exercise Done Wrong

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It is one of the most important exercises in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, it is one of the drills that people think is REALLY easy and yet they screw it up time and time again! This drill is the linchpin of of the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training system because so much plays off of your ability to do it well. 

What is a linchpin? Sales guru, Seth Godin, uses the term as a means to describe “a linchpin as somebody in an organization who is indispensable.” I got turned onto the idea in fitness by DVRT Master, Troy Anderson. In fitness we have exercises that just are more important than others for a few reasons…

-They are the most effective.

-They allow us to move through more progressions.

-They provide us more options.

In the case of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training the Clean fits our idea of linchpin exercise for all the reasons I just listed. It is a highly effective drill for high intensity and power development. The Clean helps us move to progressions of Shouldering, Snatching, as well as moving through different planes of motion. Lastly, the Clean helps us create endless complexes and DVRT flows that expand what we can do in our training.

Here is the problem, people think that because the Ultimate Sandbag isn’t made out of iron it is way easier than the barbell. That would be great if people didn’t consistently screw it up because they didn’t really understand the differences. 


The most important thing to probably remember is that the Ultimate Sandbag isn’t a barbell and has its own strategies. Nothing makes us realize this idea more than the fact we hold different handles that we do on a barbell. We use what we have cleverly named, “clean grip” handles. Okay, we did this because we REALLY wanted people to understand using the right handles makes all the difference in the world! 


“Oh Josh, why does it matter? I grab the barbell the other way all the time!” One big reason is that a barbell is a solid implement where the Ultimate Sandbag is not. That means when you try to create tension in the handles (as you would with a barbell) you would have the handles fold not creating the strong base you want to have in the upper body and core before you try to perform the Clean. In a barbell, you can try to break apart the bar, but nothing is going to happen. Putting the shoulders in BETTER alignment and trying to pull the handles apart on the Ultimate Sandbag actually creates a stronger and better position for the body to perform. 

Whew, in other words, grab the right handles. No seriously, if our objective was just “sell you a sandbag”, then we really wouldn’t care and just let you go to town. However, we want you to use and benefit from using your Ultimate Sandbag. 

The next part is BIG! That is the direction of the elbows. I see people sometimes posting weird pride in having marks on their arms or chest from letting their Ultimate Sandbag slam into themselves. The reality is this shouldn’t happen and there is a technique issue!

Your elbows need to go up and not out! They don’t get stuck by your ribs, they must move upwards to almost parallel to the ground. This means you have to have FAST arms too. People usually get stuck because they are too slow with their arms and they don’t get them high enough. 


The last part is one of the most subtle ways people miss performing this great drill to a high level. How you catch it! No, not at the top, but at the bottom. So many people are excited and happy they cleaned the Ultimate Sandbag up well, they TOTALLY forget about lowering it well and catch it with their arms. 


This is a great position for the top of your deadlift, but NOT the way to finish your Clean. That is because instead of the load being absorbed by the big muscles of your hips and your legs, it is being transmitted into your elbows, shoulders, and neck. In other words, NOT good!

The beginning and end of your DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean should look the same! Not only do you get amazing power, high intensity training, and fun out of this movement, but you feel good doing it RIGHT!

Hope that makes you a star on your DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Cleans and always hit us up if you have questions!