I would rarely ever say such a thing, I think it is just dishonest to pump up any one singular exercise. Usually there is a hole, there is something really missing from making the exercise as complete as people try to promote.
Look at kettlebell swings, I love that exercise, but is far from a complete movement. The range of motion is short, the upper body is taxed to a very small degree, and not much work to the front of the lower body. People like it because it can get their heart rate up fast and it is relatively easy to learn to some safe level.
We can see something similar as in burpees. Sure you can add a push-up into them to make burpees more full body, but there are still several issues. For one, most people don’t have the mobility in their hips to do them right and the majority of fitness programs ever provide any proper regressions.
Burpees jack up the heart rate too, but you are seeing a theme hopefully. A lot of movement can get the heart rate up, so now it is about what creates the best response and smart movement of the body. Since most people are tight in the hips and shoulders we have to really wonder if burpees are the smartest exercise for most fitness programs. Add in the fact that they are progressed predominately with speed (one of the hardest variables to progress to), even burpees don’t top my list of perfect exercises.
At first I really didn’t want to like this exercise, but after using them more and more and thinking of how to build proper progressions to the movement, we may have the perfect exercise. What is it? Many of you know it is as the Thruster.
For those that are not familiar with the Thruster, it is commonly seen as a squat and press. Crossfit may have really popularized this lift in the modern fitness scene, but the drill has been around for quite some time.
Why may it be the perfect exercise? The great amount of distance the body moves weight both stimulates a tremendous amount of energy and caloric burn as well as hitting almost every muscle in the body. What I love just as much about the Thruster is that we can view this drill as one with many ways to adjust to either make it more challenging or easier.
Altering the range of motion, load, speed, stability, are but a few ways we can adjust the Thruster to make it a power packed exercise capable of being performed by a wide array of fitness levels.
Even more interesting is the fact that Senior DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training instructor, Troy Anderson, recently studied the effects of just 4 minutes, three times a week of using Thrusters at Arizona State University. The results? The harder that people worked in the Thruster movement the greater the potential for lean muscle gain.
You might say “duh”, but remember in only four minutes three times a week these people were improving their body composition. They weren’t training 3 hours a week, 6 hours a week, 10 hours a week, 12 minutes a week!
Now, I am not suggesting you adopt this program only for your fitness goals, but it does show you the potential of this relatively simple exercise.
Since you can perform Thrusters with a host of different strength implements why would Ultimate Sandbag Training seem to make the MOST sense?
If you have an unstable implement like the Ultimate Sandbag and perform Thrusters, instantly you are increasing the demand of the exercise. While many can perform barbell Thrusters with 95 pounds, an Ultimate Sandbag of the same weight is far more humbling!
The Ultimate Sandbag gives us A LOT of options that we can use for the Thrusters beyond the standard squat and press. This means we can either make the Thruster rather simplistic or take it to complex movement patterns. We can do that just go heavier or faster to make the Thruster a much more powerful drill.
Check out some of these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Thruster variations in your next training session. Try five rounds of thirty seconds of work, with thirty seconds of rest. Don’t aim for going fast, but really grooving the movement and finding the right weight to be working with in your own training.Then see if you can hit 50 reps! Guys try with a 70 pound Ultimate Sandbag eventually aiming for a 80 pound Burly and ladies start with 40 pound Strength and aim for a 60 pound strength!