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The Smarter SQUATober Month of Squats!

ultimate sandbag

Believe it or not, I love to have fun with themes of fitness just like everyone else! I just think it is way MORE fun when your training has great purpose behind it. That is why when everyone is celebrating “squatober”, we couldn’t miss out because I don’t know of another program that has as many different squats than we do in DVRT.

However, unlike many other programs, we have a purpose of each type of squat in our system. As I have mentioned before, when you see posts like “101 different squats” it makes the assumption that all squats are equal. The truth is that you should know when to use each different type of squat to achieve different fitness goals.

This gave me the perfect reason to break down some of our favorite squats and what makes them so much more than JUST another version.

Teaching Better Squats

We can’t go too far down the rabbit hole of squats if we don’t know HOW to squat in the first place. That was the purpose behind our Press Out Squats. So many times, poor squats are really just related to not knowing how to use the feet, hips, and core properly. This results in a squat where we are folding over and not learning how to squat better.

Instead of just shouting the same cues that don’t make the client better or the coach seem any smarter, we use feedback of our Ultimate Sandbag and bands to help teach these concepts. As physical therapist and DVRT Master, Dan Swinscoe explains, it starts from the ground up.

This leads us to how we use the Ultimate Sandbag and many people don’t get the benefit of this squat because they miss the “little things” that make ALL the difference.

Once we have the Press Out Squat grooved and we have started to cement the pattern of the squat we focus on more load. We can combine with patterning of the squat and increasing strength by brining the weight closer in our Bear Hug Squat. People often think this is another goblet squat, but even as strength coach Dan John (who is credited with popularizing the goblet squat said) the Bear Hug squat is even better because we make the weight part of our body. In other words, we aren’t limited by what we can hold. We DO have to consider though that these squats are optimized if we have larger and heavier Ultimate Sandbags as I describe.

Not only does this help us squat better, but improve our hip mobility at the same time. How can you progress it instead of just going heavier? Aim for longer pauses in the bottom position working up to a 5 second count. You will feel a whole new benefit to your squats!

Training Your Squats Hard & Smart

So far we have used the Ultimate Sandbag as a teaching tool as the squat, now we can slowly make it more and more challenging. My moving into the front load position this is where we can still create tension, but the weight is working more against us. As DVRT Master, James Newman explains, there are some techniques that are important to use for these DVRT squats.

Physical therapist, Jessica Bento shows where many go wrong and how you can use specific feedback to help them understand the purpose better!

Two squat variations that doesn’t get ENOUGH attention in DVRT is our fist loaded and off-set squats. The fist load is a small change to our front load, but now we can’t create the same tension to help us and we have more of the weight challenging us.


Travis Moyer shows how this becomes more and more a moving plank. This not only makes our squats more challenging, but helps integrate the core more and takes us to the opportunity to do complexes like squats and presses!

Now we get some anti-rotational and anti-lateral flexion forces that help build us into maybe the most famous, but most difficult of DVRT squats, the Shoulder Squat!

The Multi-Planar Squat

What makes the DVRT Shoulder Squat so great is also what makes it so challenging. Now we are asking you to move up and down as the weight is trying to move you out of position. This is a MUCH better example of stability training because if we remember what Dr. Brandon Marcello has said, stability is “allowing wanted movement while resisting unwanted movement.” So, it isn’t standing on unstable objects or using “bouncy” barbells. Exercises like the Shoulder Squat represent these ideas much better!

The Shoulder bilateral squat can be VERY challenging to most, that is why while they can’t perform actually the bilateral squat, we can introduce these concepts in a more forgiving Sprinter Stance as DVRT Master, Steve Holiner teaches below.

Hopefully breaking down our DVRT squats in this manner solves a few questions. First, how do I progress my DVRT squats when changing the weight by 5 pounds isn’t something we are going to do, you should see that we can change holding position and pauses to help build those progressions. Second, how do we get strong with weights that seem lighter than the barbell? These positions of the Ultimate Sandbag challenge the WHOLE body and makes the squat so much more. You do notice that the one position we don’t use with the USB is the weight on the back. That is because the nature of the USB places too much stress on the neck and low back. These other options give you so much more value and purpose. You don’t have to do every squat, you need to use the RIGHT squat!

Find out more how we use these concepts to build success in our DVRT online educational programs and add to your DVRT gym by getting 30% off both with code “fall” HERE