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The Smartest Core Exercise?
Over our ten years of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training we have given you a TON of unique and effective core exercises. Giving you more isn’t always our goal though, giving you BETTER is!
I have been really reminded of this idea as I progress my physical therapy from my three back surgeries. How humbling, how challenging, and how progressive foundational concepts can really be for all of us.
Reminding myself it is a marathon and not a sprint can be a daily challenge.
I don’t have a lot of energy, my body can’t handle a lot right now, so I HAVE to focus on the “biggest bang for your buck” exercises. That is why I have been researching like crazy for just that, the exercises that should be taking the MOST of my time.
Here is the trick though, I had a giant slap to the forehead moment because I hadn’t listen to our own DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training system to even realize what those drills are for all of us.
There are few people that are as strong of experts of the core as Dr. Stuart McGill. You may have heard of him, you may have not, but he generally is “the man” when it comes to spinal training and health. You might guess I been delving into his material a bit.
Dr. McGill has a series of exercises he calls his “Big 3”. A curl-up, a side plank, and then a……bird dog? Oh, not that ridiculously boring exercise we have all seen that face it, you do with half hearted effort anyways. Yea, you do it too, you kinda go through the motions so you can get to the cool stuff right? Don’t worry, I’ve been there too!
What is so special about what seems such a common place lift? For one, it is the foundation for many of our more complex DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills like MAX Lunge, Shoulder Squats, and many others.
One of the most trendy ways to train the core nowadays is via crawling patterns, guess what the crawling patterns are based upon? I’ll give you one guess!
It is that crazy cross patterning thing that makes us human. You know, like when you walk? When one arm swings with the opposite leg? That stuff is really important and honestly is going to be more important to your health that what you best deadlift, squat, press, or whatever is.
You might also care about one more thing. You ever do that deadlift, clean, run, sprint, jump, and hurt kinda bad afterwards? Well, probably the reason isn’t one particular muscle is weak or off, but your “pattern” is off. In other words, how your body coordinates motion is not right. The bird dog series can go a long ways in correcting that and people are often surprised how hard it really is!
How does the bird dog compare to other common “corrective exercises” (I hate this term because this IS strengthening!!) When you compare it to a superman over an exercise ball you get TWICE the compressive forces on the spine and not the same amount of muscle activity. Two strikes equals no good!
Of course the challenge becomes both how we progress the bird dog, correct it, and help people understand what they are suppose to “feel”. The hard part about doing a bird dog right is that there really is a lot going on, well beyond lifting an arm and opposite leg.
Most people don’t pay attention to the stance arm and leg, what we are trying to resist as much as we are trying to move. Once you understand these concepts you will find that the bird dog doesn’t become that nasty broccoli you have to eat to get to the steak, but becomes something that makes you feel powerful and strong.
So, why bring in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training to the equation? Well, for one, we IMMEDIATELY can identify core weaknesses and coordination issues of the core. Where sometimes bands can be hit and miss, the Ultimate Sandbag Training specific drags ALWAYS get people to engage their core and never encourages extra movement in the low back.
Secondly, we can create diagonal patterns in multiple directions. In other words, it makes our brain and our movement smarter. Therapists have been using PNF (which consists of a lot of diagonal patterns) as a means to restore movement. We get to do that with these multiple Ultimate Sandbag Training movements as well.
Lastly, you will see how our progressions can lead you to awesome exercises like single leg deadlifts much more successfully.
Try these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training variations and see what I mean!
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