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The Best Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for Posture, Balance, and Power

 

sandbag exercises

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator of DVRT Restoration, Pelvic Control, & Shoulder Course)

Posture, Balance, and Power

It might seem like these three ideas are mutually exclusive, but if you really understand the body and how it works, you will realize they work hand in hand. You can’t have real world strength and power without posture and balance. The best part, there are familiar Ultimate Sandbag exercises that can really help deliver on all three!

Yes, you can lift big weights in the gym, but when it comes to doing things in life, you can’t fake it. That is why when I treat patients and look for how they function in every day life, I look for some different ideas. 

Balance Test

When I worked with a fall prevention clinic, we would examine a lot of qualities of “balance”. Which by the way, is a rather vague term for most. What we really want in balance is to maintain our center of mass over our base of support. Okay, so what does that mean for you and do you have good foundational balance? 

A single leg balance test is a great start. You don’t need a PhD or therapist to do it for you. Simply stand on one leg, can you keep yourself from leaning, rotating, or falling over? Can you hold the posture and position for 30 seconds? If so, you have good baseline balance and stability. Chances are, for many of you or your clients, you will find this to be surprisingly challenging. 

sandbag exercises

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The Most Important Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for Balance

Once you have some information about your balance, we can look at how to make you better with some simple Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Even if you have great balance the following exercise ideas will take your training to another level. I am referring to the step-up. I know Ultimate Sandbag exercises like step-ups don’t sound super “sexy” but when we put more meaning behind it your mind will change!

No, not that horrible cardio class version, but a very focused strength, stability, and postural exercise. That is, when done right!

When people think of functional fitness, they think of what we really call ADL (activities of daily living). That was my job, not to get people to lift a certain amount, but to get them back to doing high level of ADL. I think of Ultimate Sandbag exercises in the same light. 

Stepping up to something is actually a very fundamental part of this. In fact, a stepping test is used for stroke patients and correlated very high to balance and improving ADL. 

Now, most of you probably don’t have such an impairment, so how does the step-up help you? More importantly, how can we use these Ultimate Sandbag exercises to more you thank you might believe possible!

 

-Frontal Plane Stability: Most people are weakest in the frontal plane (side to side) action. That means they reduce their strength, have more likelihood to experience injury, and aren’t efficient with their movement.

-A Single Leg Deadlift: A lot of people miss this subtle similarity of deadlifting and the step-up. Both begin in what we call hip flexion and move into hip extension. These exercises require a moving plank in our core and SHOULD have activation in our upper body. We can quickly see compensation in glute/hamstring strength in the step-up when we see someone leaning forward or to the side in the movement. Even worse is when people “fall” back down and don’t have deceleration strength in their posterior chain. 

-Foot/Lower Leg Strength: With the popularity of barefoot training I am always surprised when people don’t use exercises that actually force their feet to work. Grabbing the ground with the foot (heck, doing this barefoot is even better), helps us create force from the ground up and we can see issues in the foot and lower leg. This is important as it can impact the knee, hip, low back, and even your shoulder!

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We know single leg training is important. We know that single leg exercises can build stability, mobility, and strength all at once. Yet, we also have the dilemma of thinking that true single leg exercises are beyond most people. Sadly, most people overlook not only one of the best single leg exercises, but best lower body drills to build strength in connecting the core and glutes. Yes, the unsexy step-up! ________________________ 💡 The step-up offers us the ability to train single leg strength in a very progressive manner while teaching important concepts like lateral (frontal plane) strength, foot/ankle stability, gait pattern training beyond just carries, and so much practical movement and real world strength training. We can alter how we step-up, the direction we step-up, the height of the step, and loading position of the step-up. _______________________ 💡 Altering load with the step-up allows us to amplify the challenge of the core and glutes because these are muscles that are meant to produce and resist force at the same time. Training them in this manner and in a single leg environment, actually increases the work of these major muscle groups. Using the dynamic movement of the Ultimate #Sandbag allows us to make the step-up more reactive and get better results in the functional strength we build and  allow us to problem solve for our clients. _____________________ 💡 Watch how adding movement to holding and moving the weight in these patterns really brings our strength to life. Physical therapist, @jessicabento_physicaltherapist , helps me demonstrate how these loading patterns can build new strength not just in your lower body, but through you whole body as one piece.

A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt) on

Today’s post, I wanted Josh to show you some Ultimate Sandbag exercises can do so much more if we look what they really mean to our movement. I love using Ultimate Sandbags with patients because we can strategically load different patterns and make even light weights feel very heavy. I wanted Josh to demonstrate because not even a year ago he couldn’t even USE his right leg and I am so proud of the progress he has made. More importantly, I want YOU to see how effective these strategies can be. That means DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is about making you stronger in real life!

Find out why these Ultimate Sandbag exercises are so much more powerful than people realize. Check out our DVRT programs here for 25% off with coupon code “strong” HERE