The Ultimate Sandbag Deadlift Challenge


Extreme Training, Foundational Programs, Moderate Training, Strenuous Training, Uncategorized.

A few years ago I was approached by a coach at a conference. Like many, he had a question, but he wasn’t exactly sure how to ask it. He pulled me off to the side and said, “Josh, I love what you are doing with DVRT but I just don’t get how you address the deadlift?” In all honesty, at first I wasn’t sure what he meant. Then it became apparent when he went on to say, “why would I deadlift with an Ultimate Sandbag when a barbell goes so much heaver?” Ah, I get it now!

One of the big differences we have in DVRT is that we see a movement, not a singular exercise. That means that a deadlift is a hip hinge movement, but a hip hinge doesn’t have to be a deadlift. So, we have lots of different types of deadlift exercises, but we have a definitive way to progress through changing our holding position, body position, and plane of motion.

That isn’t what this DVRT is about though. We have talked about progressing the deadlift in lots of other posts (like this post HERE). Instead, I thought about discussing how we use the foundational Ultimate Sandbag deadlift to build some much needed baseline strength. Far too often people see something cool and new and want to jump tot THAT, but in many cases spending time building some really good strength at foundational movements can go a long ways!

The Ultimate Sandbag deadlift looks easy, well, it is technically not that difficult but that doesn’t make it easy. The fact that people can pick up on the technique quickly means we spend more time training rather than trying to figure out some overly complicated technique.

One of the best ways of using the Ultimate Sandbag deadlift came to me after speaking with DVRT Master, Travis Johnson. In talking some shop, Travis told me how he gets people ready for our clean and press test by first getting use to bent over rowing for two sets of 25 the same weight they would use in their clean and press. That helps build the core endurance, learn the tension techniques, understand how to push into the ground with the feet, and build up upper back strength and stability.

That made so much sense, it gave me the idea that much of the same can be said of our Ultimate Sandbag deadlift foundations. Most people think that a 100, 120, or even 150 pound Ultimate Sandbag can’t be that hard compared to that of a barbell, but anyone who has grabbed onto those weights knows they are VERY different! When I spoke at a conference in Costa Rica the hosts asked, “Josh what do you guys even DO with a 150 pound Ultimate Sandbag?” I jokingly said, “not a lot” which is not totally a joke. They agreed as a 150 pound Ultimate Sandbag feels like a TON! That is SO hard for people to understand when a 150 pound barbell is nothing to really write home about.

It goes to dimension, handles being far from the center of mass, and a lot of other boring things that make a big difference! The important part is that 100 pound plus Ultimate Sandbags are ROUGH and give us a great opportunity to build some rugged strength.

What I have started to do even myself is ending each session with 100 (as many continuous as possible) Ultimate Sandbag deadlifts with as heavy of an Ultimate Sandbag as possible.

YOU can’t do that, the deadlift police may say! However, people do hundreds of reps of kettlebell swings rather regularly. They are both hip hinges, but the kettlebell swing has a long lever arm that can be rough on many people trying to build foundational strength. When your form goes, it gets obvious fast and we can build up over time.

What does doing this do for you?

-Better work capacity

-Build core strength/endurance

-Creates upper back integrity and tolerance to eccentric forces of cleans and other power moves.

-Real glute and core training like you have never experienced

-Do some SERIOUS work in a short amount of time!

Try not just surviving this standard, but paying attention to your body and technique on every rep. Give you an extra push we are going to give you 25% on any Strength or Burly Ultimate Sandbag HERE with coupon code “save25” to get you to see the difference of Ultimate Sandbags for serious strength! 

sandbag deadlift