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The Most Essential Types Of Core Training

sandbag exercise equipment

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, Knees Over Toes Course, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

core training

We want to do one thing, make people move better. I know what you might say…”what about looking better”, “what about being stronger”, “what about being more powerful?”

The truth is that good movement is a main part of all of that! If you move better you can stimulate the right muscles. If you move well you can use your body more efficiently and be stronger. Moving well is essential for creating a strong and stable platform for you to be powerful. After all, how hard can you train if you don’t move well and have pain with movement?

Good movement doesn’t mean you aren’t training your muscles or other fitness qualities. It does mean that you do all of this so much better! When you understand movement then all of this makes so much sense. The reason we focus on movement is that we train so many MORE muscles at one time. After all, why try to isolate one muscle like the bicep femoris of the hamstrings versus just training all the hamstring muscles?

core training

What a waste to try to isolate various hamstring muscles and is it even possible as you see above?!

Especially when we look at the movement pattern that most people never talk about, but we do the most…..walking! You never hear anyone go to the gym and say it is time to train their walking, but maybe you should!

More than any other movement, squatting, hinging, pressing, and anything else we do and see in the gym, walking is what we do most in real life. So, it makes sense if we want our strength to actually transfer beyond the gym then we need to consider this in our training. In fact, I can tell more about issues with a patient I am seeing through how they walk versus any other movement pattern.

That is where we see infamous Dead Bugs and Bird Dogs. I say infamous because it seems like almost out of the blue, they have become all the rage. I’m glad to see it, but I am just not sure people really understand why.

In walking we have the pelvis that needs to be stabilized against the pull of the legs, the cross pattern of our legs and arms working in synergy to create stability and movement, and finally our body working in all three planes of motion. If you think this is easy let me tell you a quick story!

Several months ago Olympic weightlifting coach, Wil Flemming, asked Josh and I to consult with his athlete Mary. Now Mary is crazy strong! She is one of the top weightlifters in the WORLD in her weight class. However, Mary was having some low back issues, in order to help figure out what might be going wrong, Josh and I had her go through some simple movement screens. One of them was the bird dog where Mary had a hard time NOT having her pelvis rotate during the movement. When we correlated this with her gait we began to see a pattern that could be related to her low back issues.

Once we addressed those issues through progressions as we will show, Mary not only didn’t have low back pain anymore, she went on to set an American record of a 359 pound clean and jerk! So, don’t think exercises like bird dogs are too basic for you to get really strong!

core training


People can struggle with teaching bird dogs and even dead bugs because they often miss how they are connected as well as how proper progression works. Often, people still believe that bodyweight versions of these exercises are the best starting points. The issue is, if you don’t ALREADY have good core stability, you have no feedback on how to control your movement. Therefore, bodyweight actually is a very HIGH level of performing these drills because the lack of feedback means you possess good reflexive stability. When people see load in the exercises like I show below, they think we are making the exercise more difficult. That is NOT what we are doing, we are helping people learn HOW to create core stability through the feedback of the load. SO, one of the best ways to accomplish all these big ideas is by starting with simple exercises. In DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training we speak all the time about moving from stable to unstable. When it comes to the development of these skills there is no more stable environment than the ground on our back.


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A post shared by Cory M. Cripe (@corymcripe)

Cory Cripe shows how we teach these concepts (don’t miss Cory’s upcoming teaching of our Restoration Certification HERE

Yes! The Dead Bug helps us introduce these concepts and specifically strengthen the qualities that relate to gait. Today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training video walks you through some Dead Bug progressions building greater strength and stability.

At a certain point, we don’t want to just go heavier or more complex. We need to start to change our challenge to the walking pattern. Enter bird dogs. For most people, they miss that the bird dog is simply a dead bug done from a quadruped position. That means we have to resist more gravity and therefore, we work against MORE forces and develop the skills and strength to improve movement. So, moving from a dead bug to bird dog is a pretty big progression and makes sense why we spend so much time building up the dead bug.

What does the Ultimate Sandbag actually bring to both of these movements? It isn’t just throwing weight on the body and hoping you get stronger.

One of the key concepts for people to understand is that your lats, core, and hips work together (although in opposites). Holding just weight doesn’t do a lot other than apply load to the body, but that isn’t what we are doing with the Ultimate Sandbag.

functional movement

Coaching people to actively pull the outside handles apart or take slack out does some pretty powerful things. In the Dead Bug, pulling the outside handles apart instantly activates the core and lats. That means you work from a much stronger base and train not just the muscles, but the natural chains of the body as well. When you focus on chains rather than muscles, almost something magical happens to people’s movement. It improves in record time!

In the Bird Dog, using various drags allows us to challenge our anti-rotational strength while still integrating the chains. Many people when they perform Bird Dogs immediately drop into extension in their low backs and/or rotate their body. Dragging keeps tension in the body’s chain to prevent these common mistakes. Instead of trying to tell people not to rotate or drop their hips, using proper load application (like the Ultimate Sandbag in this case) we have the exercise to teach people how to move well.

A simple tool that can create very powerful results. The very essence of what we want people to achieve with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training.

These types of exercises are better reflections of real world core strength and layering progression of functional fitness. Every workout you should be using one of these exercises either to prime your body for your training, or make them the centerpiece of core strength training.

Save 30% ALL Throughout Our DVRT with our Ultimate Sandbags/Water Bags, Online Certifications/Courses, & DVRT Workouts with code “labor” HERE