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The MOST Serious Form Of Strength Training?!

sandbag fitness equipment

Most people may not think it’s based on how DVRT is presented, but I LOVE training heavy!!!! Which can be funny coming from the guy that when he started lifting at 14 got pinned by the barbell on the bench press as his older brother laughed hysterically at him. It was the fact that with hard work and persistence in strength training seemed to really reward those that were willing to put in the work!

It is what got me into competitive Olympic lifting and Strongman for a time. Even when I got into kettlebells it wasn’t long till I was doing my “conditioning” with 32 kg (70 pound) kettlebells for complexes and circuits. So when people think DVRT is JUST about conditioning or some correctives I laugh!

strength training

12 years ago I was snatching 124 pound kettlebells before they really became a “thing”;)

While we try to get people to think outside of ONLY going heavier, we do love to go heavier! In fact, it was the classic John Jesse book, “Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopedia”, that inspired me to create something pretty unique! In the book, Mr. Jesse writes, “Forms of progressive resistance exercises used by old-time Indian wrestlers were heavy sandbags weighing 40 to 120 pounds…” (p.82)

Not my preferred use of using sandbags, but seeing the famous Saxon brothers training with them was really interesting!

While we recommend most people start with our Power and Strength Ultimate Sandbags (that hit that sweet spot from 30-80 pounds), we do want to progress and a progression IS going heavier!

Now I get it, 30-80 pounds doesn’t sound that heavy and 80-120 pounds doesn’t seem like anything special. However, that is where our strength training with the Ultimate Sandbag is SO different! People inherently know that going out and trying to lift a 100 pound bag of anything is horrible! It isn’t like using a trap bar, it isn’t like using a barbell. The awkwardness, unstable nature, and the dimension of the load makes it something so very different! As fitness expert, Alwyn Cosgrove describes, 100 pound Ultimate Sandbag can humble just about anyone!

strength training

“Let me explain “Alive” – let’s say you can deadlift 100lbs. Now try to pick up a 100lb child who doesn’t want to be picked up! It’s an entirely different type of strength – one that grapplers and mixed martial artists can attest to.
I can remember my brother coming to visit and squatting over 200lbs very easily. I gave him a 100lb DVRT Ultimate Sandbag and asked him to clean it and front squat it. He couldn’t do it. The Ultimate Sandbag moves around too much.”

I think we have established that a 80-120 pound Ultimate Sandbag is pretty tough to lift, but why should you just make yourself work hard? Where are the benefits? Well, let’s just look at a few!

“Farm Boy” Strength

The idea of “farm boy” strength goes back to the idea of ever having competed against people that had this odd form of strength. They weren’t big into lifting, they lived in rural areas and did manual work, but holy cow, they had a strength that was pretty much impossible to overcome!

I’ve seen this twice in my life. First when I was in high school and our basketball team played in a summer league tournament. Growing up in the Chicago area we had played some really great teams, even beating some teams that had future NBA players on it! In this tournament though we played some small country high school from Southern Illinois.

We wanted to laugh them off as we never heard of the city they were even from! Guess what? It was the WORST beating I probably EVER took in my basketball career. We could barely get the ball across half court and they just manhandled us in every way you could think. That was my first exposure to “farm boy” strength! You have to remember we had what we thought were pretty sophisticated strength training programs at the time too.

The other was my good friend Troy Anderson. Some of you may know Troy as he has supported us from basically the beginning. Troy grew up on a farm in Wyoming and I have never, and I mean never seen someone (who wasn’t on drugs) that had the combination of strength and endurance he possessed. He came SUPER close to passing our Clean and Press test with a 130 pound Ultimate Sandbag even though he weighed 190 pounds! I’ve seen Troy dominate at Strongman and as well as Australian Rules Football. Yea, this “farm boy” strength is a real thing!

sandbag cleans

Troy showing the power one can build without expensive equipment or even a gym!

In talking with Troy he would often laugh at how training on the farm was romanticized by the fitness industry. He would often tell me it is A LOT less sexy than people would think and it isn’t a lot of maximal effort training. A great example he gave was moving bails of hay. Loading bails of hay for hours wasn’t the same as doing burpees and jumping jacks. The bails could vary in weight from 50-120 pounds. Imagine moving these weights over and over again. Laying pipe, building fences—none of it was just one “bad whoopin’” on the body, but consistent work over time.

This simple, but NOT easy, ladder workout Troy gives helps us show the value of heavier Ultimate Sandbags in building total body strength.

Okay, you don’t live on a farm and you don’t have plans or time to do hours and hours of manual labor. What do you do?! Part of the reason that I created the Burly Ultimate Sandbag was to really train these qualities and to bring awareness to people how sterile most of our gym training really is in compared to real life!

In took some time playing with sizing, but what I love about the Burly is what the name reminds us, it is pretty “burly” when you try to lift it! Now, we also didn’t want to make it a feat of strength, but something you could actually use!

Below you can see Jessica actually doing whole complex with a 60 pound Burly. Why not use a 60 pound Strength USB? The different dimension makes a WHOLE new challenge to these DVRT Movements.

What I wanted to emphasize is about using heavier loads to create and achieve specific goals. We aren’t lifting heavier to just lift heavier, we are doing so to teach the body more about how to create better movement. Tomorrow we will really delve into the great ways that you can use heavier Ultimate Sandbags to not just challenge your strength, but the quality of your movement! If you want a fun little complex to start with your Burly, this is one of my personal favorites!

Troy helps me show how we can introduce heavier and BIGGER Ultimate Sandbags into workouts that really make you appreciate what heavy DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training can deliver in functional strength and make your “heavy” training so much more effective. 

Discover more with our DVRT workouts that are 30% off HERE as well as save 30% on our  Ultimate Sandbags with code “holiday2020” HERE