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The “Leveling Up” Fitness Challenge

sandbag workouts

At the time it was one of the most controversial ideas we’ve ever had. Almost ten years ago we introduced our DVRT Clean and Press test for our DVRT certifications. Of course it was first just seen as some random fitness challenge but the reality was we had MUCH more meaningful goals around this standard than just being a fitness challenge that made people tired. Like everything we do in DVRT there was a lot of thought that went into setting this standard.

sandbag workouts

The idea of a fitness challenge like the Clean and Press test stemmed from a lot of places. I had seen and gone through the fitness challenge of many different organizations and programs but I wanted ours to be very different. For the most part those other standards were more about just toughness and fitness. While that was fine for them, I wanted to give a bit more meaning behind what we were doing with DVRT. That is why our fitness challenge started with thinking about what were the components we believed to be a great coach. We came up with ideas like…

-Being able to create a program to achieve a specific goal.

-Problem solving both movement limitations one had, as well as improving fitness levels for a specific activity.

-Being technically proficient themselves in base movement patterns.

While we could identify more qualities that make for a great coach, these seemed to be a solid start so that when someone became DVRT certified it meant more and reflected the ideas of being a good coach. Ultimately, we thought the Clean and Press was a good measure for these qualities as well as being an exercise that had multiple movement patterns involved with also requiring a balance of stability, mobility, strength, and power. If any of those qualities weren’t trained well, passing our fitness challenge of the Clean and Press would be very difficult. Plus, our version of the Clean and Press in DVRT adds in the need for great movement accuracy due to the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag. So, just coming in and trying to muscle your way through the drill wasn’t going to be possible, you had to possess great movement skills as well as strength and conditioning.

fitness challenge

The standard was also created around the idea of power-endurance. I’ve never been a big fan of just one repetition maximums unless you are a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter. Most people want/need to be able to reproduce strength and endurance more than once, so it made sense to make the fitness challenge set around this idea, but also not be too crazy where only elite people could even pass it.

Over the years we have had hundreds of people with all sorts of backgrounds go through the Clean and Press test (yes, it is really a push press, but that gets wordy) and we’ve had the great stories of people not passing it their first try and then working through the process to ultimately achieve the goal. Through that journey they learned far more than just passing some fitness challenge, they learned about programming, problem solving, and how the details of a movement are so important to the outcomes we want from an exercise. Like the old saying goes, the journey was the more important aspect of the Clean and Press fitness challenge.

fitness challenge

Not everyone liked the test, many people who couldn’t pass it their first time out wanted to say it was “stupid”. They were missing the point of the standard not being about your current fitness level, but how good of a coach you are and what you have learned about going through the course to be able to help both yourself and others to a higher level. If people didn’t have the current upper body mobility, how would you go about solving it? If you didn’t have the fitness for it at the time, what type of program would you create to do so? You get the point wasn’t the actual fitness challenge, but how you addressed your needs so that we could evaluate the coaching skills you acquired from our DVRT courses. What is so shocking to so many people about our DVRT education is that it isn’t “how to use a sandbag” but truly a coaching course with the intent of building diverse skills of a coach.

With all that said, recently we were speaking to DVRT Master, Steve Holiner, after he taught a DVRT Level 1 & 2 certification in Boston and we thought that we could have a “fun” time with our DVRT community in giving a new fitness challenge. Since our DVRT Clean and Press test has been around for many years now and many people are looking for something to train for, we thought we would give a “leveling up” challenge to our DVRT Clean and Press test. What does that mean?

If you aren’t familiar with our DVRT Clean and Press Standards they are listed below for both gender and weight classes (we haven’t had much of a need for age one’s yet in case you want to ask).


-Under 150 pounds: 40 pound USB Strength x 50 repetitions

-Over 150 pounds: 60 pound USB Strength x 40 repetitions


-Under 170 pounds: 60 pound USB Strength x 50 repetitions

-170-210 pounds: 80 pound USB Burly x 40 repetitions

-Over 210: 100 pound USB Burly x 40 repetitions

These are five minute tests and yes the size of Ultimate Sandbag plays a big part so it has to be the correct size as well. If you have never tried and trained our Clean and Press fitness challenge I recommend you just start with the above standards. However, what Steve was suggesting was that people try to go a level up. So, if you are a man between 170-210 pounds you would try to a 100 pound Burly for 40 reps, so just a level up (clever name right?).

If you are on the top end of the men and women standards what should you do? We would suggest for women to start working with a 60 pound Burly (loading all 3 fillers to 20 pounds) and men a 120 pound Burly (it is a MUCH bigger difference). What’s in it for you in doing so? Well, our biggest hope is that you would gain the benefits we hope that coaches do that come to our courses and discover how to be a better coach. If that isn’t so motivating to you, we have a special gift for those that send us video of them passing the fitness challenge.

For the next 30 days (so April 15th) we are hoping you will take on the challenge and try to either achieve your standard if you have never tried or accomplished the goal or level up! If you send your video to info@ultimatesandbagtraining.com with you passing the standard (we need the whole five minutes and the quality of the movement is key!) we will send you that special gift. Even with a good prize for accomplishing the goal, we hope the bigger reward is what you learn in the process. Over the course of the next month, we will have blog posts to help coach you through different aspects as well as problem solving your programming.

You can get a jump start with this FREE Clean and Press manual with video links to help you get a good jump start on this great goal HERE

We are also giving another great opportunity to get a jump start on working smarter towards your fitness goals. For a limited time you can get invest in one of our great DVRT Workout programs and get a second of equal or lesser cost for 50% off with code “bogo ” HERE and you can build up to your DVRT gym with 25% off Ultimate Sandbags with code “save25” HERE