The DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. One of the great ways that our program has evolved is the amazing coaches that help growing our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training system. Steve Di Tomaso is definitely one of those amazing fitness professionals! He might NOT be who usually is into strength training. With a strong background in endurance sports, find out how strength has become a secret to not only his success, but his clients’ amazing results!
Q: Steve, how did you get into fitness and make that leap into coaching?
A: I grew up thinking that my dad was the strongest person around. At age of 16, he took me to his private fitness club for the fist time. I’m pretty sure he was set on teaching me a lesson in strength but I ended up teaching him that an inexperienced scrawny adolescent could lift some heavy weight. At 5′ 8″ and 147 lbs I held my own with his routine. Not really knowing what to think, I decided to learn more about strength training which eventually lead me to the pursuit of a university degree in exercise science. I began coaching to gain some relative experience in the field during my junior year and didn’t look back. Never being satisfied with my knowledge base I have sought out the best in the strength and conditioning industry to learn from. That is how I came to learn the DVRT system.
Q: You seem to really love endurance training which often has the preconception of not training in the gym. What do you think are some of the most common myths of endurance athlete training?
A: My love for endurance training stems from my 15 year background in competitive swimming. At 5′ 8″ I was small for a swimmer. My success was largely due to resilience, strength, and power. I needed to be more efficient in every way if I was going to compete with the big boys.
Probably the biggest myth about endurance athletes is that they should train endurance in the gym. Endurance athletes already train endurance, they don’t need more endurance! Most are lacking strength and power. If you break down a running race you are looking at several thousand single leg bounds, that is power. Why isn’t it being trained? If we can make an athlete strong and powerful they will be more efficient in their sport. More power and less energy used equals faster speeds. Endurance sport is not about who can go the longest after getting to the line, it’s about how fast you can get there.
Q: What aspects of the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training system do you think specifically help address some of these issues and what types of results are your clients seeing?
A: One of the biggest issues we see with endurance athletes is that they are chronically injured. Most of them are just not durable. This is due to a deficit of both strength and stability. With DVRT we are able to build strength and stability for endurance athletes in the off-season, and maintain during their in-season.
The DVRT system combines training for stability, strength, and power seamlessly. At Envision Fitness we able to use these concepts during the off-season to improve athlete resilience and performance. Exercises using the Ultimate Sandbag can address several weaknesses at one time. By improving just one weak link we can get a performance boost and improve efficiency without even touching strength or power. The versatility of DVRT allows us to easily shift the focus of an exercise depending on what an athlete needs. For example by applying the concepts of DVRT to the Ultimate Sandbag we can take a relatively light load and make an exercise very beneficial and challenging from adjusting body position, load position, stability of the load, and tempo. Suddenly we have a great way to maintain an in-season endurance athletes off-season strength gains, which is always a problem.
DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training has helped to bulletproof our clients and has given us a big hand in their successes. We have taken injured and injury prone triathletes in the offseason to unscathed finishes and best ever performances at Ironman. We have had endurance runners train with us starting as late as eight weeks out of competition and take off several minutes from previous performances. We have several recreational runners come to us with injury concern that no longer run in pain. Our successes have been many, and DVRT has been a key component in them.
What would possibly be your top 5 exercises for endurance athletes and why do you like these drills?
1. Rotational Lunge – One of the most powerful exercises in the toolbox. It encompasses hip, core and scapular stability, as well as single leg hip extension in one move. That is running in a nutshell!
2. Staggered Squat – A great exercise for single leg strength and addressing lateral hip stability and at the same time (especially when manipulating load position).
3. USB Iso Pull – A great rotational stability building exercise that helps correct over-rotating problems with the running stride and build awareness.
4. USB Power Clean – A great building block for power generation. A great standalone power exercise but we can modify several exercises to finish with a power clean eg. staggered stance deadlift, rotational lunge, and lateral lunge.
5. Shoulder Carry – This deceiving exercise can be very challenging are one of my favorite exercises for addressing dynamic lateral hip stability! When done proficiently all of these exercises may look easy but shoulder carries take the cake. Don’t be fooled, shoulder carries pack huge benefit.
I am co-owner of Envision Fitness; a hybrid training center located in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. You can reach us over email at: firstname.lastname@example.org /* */ and over phone by: (604) 457-4243
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