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The Most Important Core and Upper Body Sandbag Exercise

sandbag exercise

We had a theme for this weeks DVRT posts. We wanted to discuss how to use Ultimate Sandbag exercise concepts to improve two of the most beaten up parts of the body. That is, as many of you may know, shoulders and low backs. Interestingly enough, there is actually a close relationship to improving both. We made several posts this week to show you how a different Ultimate Sandbag exercise could help your shoulder or your low back. The truth is that most of the movements would improve both!


Listen, if you got busted up in the shoulder or fractured something in your back, these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise concepts probably aren’t going to apply to you right now! However, if you are like most people that develop discomfort and pain from random life activities, this probably WILL help you! What is “this”? Several simple ideas….

  1. You need core strength! That may seem obvious, but HOW you use your core is key. Even today many people just assume anything that makes you feel your abs is a great core exercise. What we are aiming for are really a few different things. The first is the bracing of the torso, that is basically learning HOW to make your trunk rigid. This is closely tied into our next point.
  2. Use the ground! One of the easiest ways to teach people how to brace their trunk is to use whatever part of your body is in contact with the ground. Obviously, MOST of the time this is going to mean your feet. So, when you are performing any Ultimate Sandbag exercise you want to focus on really grabbing the ground with your feet. This might mean changing your footwear or even going barefoot. You see, this sends a chain reaction up the body and is essential in creating that brace.
  3. Your scapulae must move! This might seem REALLY weird, but let me explain. It might be easy to understand that if your scapulae do not move well that this would impact your shoulders. In fact, this is where I start with A LOT of people because most either don’t have control of their scapulae, their posture impedes the movement of their scapulae, they have muscle imbalances that impact their scapulae movement, or more than likely most of these things at once! We will get into how to help it, but how does this relate to low backs?

One of the most interesting compensations people have in their movement is the fact they can’t retract their scapulae without also moving through their low back. In other words, they don’t really have a strong brace because the whole point of bracing is to be able to maintain that posture while your extremities move. A LOT of people “dump” their pelvis as soon as they move their scapulae showing that they don’t have a strong brace and often are not using the ground either.

So, how are we going to help this? Ironically a DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise you probably THINK you know, but man, people still don’t use it right. Yes, it is THE exercise you should have down to a science before you perform heavy deadlifts, kettlebell swings, power cleans, and so many other hip hinging movements. What is it? The ULTRA sexy Bent Over Row. Disappointed? You really shouldn’t be!

sandbag exercise

I know, you are probably taking a big sigh right now, even possibly rolling your eyes! “I know how to do a bent row” you maybe even are shouting at me. Sadly, time after time, whether at our DVRT Educational events or just browsing social media I can tell you that the Bent Row is one of the most incorrectly performed exercises out there. Whether it is the lost of the plank, the inability to pull the shoulders back, or how people don’t have the right strength in the hips to help maintain proper back alignment.

Okay, maybe you can start buying in why this is such an important exercise, but why is there anything unique in making it a DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise? The first is that you may notice right up front we aren’t allow you to put a foot or hand on a support. While that isn’t “wrong”, I want to see what type of core strength you really have, I’m not just interested in getting you a back pump! Next we have the fact that ALL the weight of the Ultimate Sandbag is away from the handles. That means you won’t come CLOSE to touching your body if you are not pulling your shoulders back properly. You see this is where people mix up intent and task again. They THINK the goal is to pull the weight up (task), the REAL purpose is to hold perfect alignment as you bring the weight to your body while fully retracting and even pulling your scapulae down. Sounds easy, but just look around your gym and you will notice another story.

There are two other factors that make this an Ultimate Sandbag exercise of choice! That is we have more gripping options than any other strength training tool AND we focus more on manipulating your body position to test your skills in this area where almost no one else even considers such things! What does that look like? Well, check out some of these DVRT variations. Try a few, but ONLY with the right intent of keeping everything in your body still, using the ground, and focusing on your brace.


Don’t miss the opportunity to REALLY change how you train with our upcoming DVRT events HERE