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The Ultimate Sandbag Fitness Challenge

sandbag fitness

Renown Strength Coach, Coach Dos (Creator of Certified Program Design Specialist Program

Several months ago I got inspired by a clean and press challenge that Josh Henkin came up with. Josh’s thinking that led him to create this test, was that he felt that the Ultimate Sandbag fitness instructors that he certified should have a sound level of technique, strength, and endurance. This test would serve as part of all his certifications from now on.

I think the thing that people need to realize about a test like this is that, much like our education, it is a JOURNEY rather than a destination. The training and preparation is as important or even MORE important than the test itself!

I highly recommend that anyone who is a USB enthusiast, instructor, or aspiring Ultimate Sandbag fitness instructor join Josh’s DVRT Fitness Group on Facebook. In this group, there is a great amount of information sharing and some really great training tips geared toward this test.

sandbag fitness

The first time I tried this test I went in COLD….no prior experience cleaning and pressing (from the fist) and I ended with about 35 reps in 5 min…..many of which were NO REPS due to improper technique. My ego was smashed and my first reaction was to say “MAN, there’s NO WAY I’m going to pass this damn test!”. I also called my good friend Josh some pretty inappropriate names =o) Josh recently wrote a great article about how Failure sometimes, is the RIGHT option. This should serve as the mantra for anyone stepping up to this challenge…it should serve as your fuel and your problem solving will become your guide to your programming.

After I recovered, I made it a goal to pass this test….and check my ego at the door. As part of this Journey, I was going to try different protocols, work on my clean and press technique, do speed work with a lighter Ultimate Sandbag, do strength work with a heavier Ultimate Sandbag….basically I was not just in training for this test, I was in PROBLEM SOLVING mode.

The key for me personally was to set my goal at 10 repetitions at the top of each minute….if I was able to get through the 4th minute at this pace, I would have the entire last 60 seconds to complete my last 10. Needless to say, this is MUCH harder than it sounds. My training included laddering down each minute starting with 10 then moving down 1-2 reps each minute to build up my power endurance. It’s also important to have some sort of rest period and to try to keep it away from a negative rest if at all possible (resting for less time time than it took to complete the reps). It’s also VERY important to dial in your technique as a missed rep due to poor technique is BRUTAL not just physically (as you have to essentially do an extra rep) but mentally it can be a deal-breaker.

One of my most successful training protocols was to use a 30:30 (seconds) work:rest interval doing JUST CLEANS for 5 minutes then JUST PRESSES for 5 minutes. I would finish the workout with 5 minutes of Clean & Presses (in a very fatigued state). Another training protocol I would use was more of a “contrast” training style. I would use an 80lb burly for 5 minutes at 8 reps at the top of each minute. Then I would use a 110lb. Burly shooting for 5-6 reps at the top of each minute.

I would suggest playing with all of these protocols and setting some goals for yourself. Start with 5 reps per minute and increase this number every couple of weeks. Like anything in life, NOTHING WORTHWHILE COMES EASY…the Ultimate Sandbag Clean & Press Challenge is no different! It might be the VERY best test of what people really need…POWER ENDURANCE!  DO WORK!

Here is my successful 50 reps in 5 minutes with the 100lb. Burly Ultimate Sandbag.


Anyone who knows me knows that I am NEVER satisfied so I have set some new goals, one is to complete the 50 reps with a heavier USB. I haven’t decided the exact loading but this weekend I decided to take a 130 lb. USB for a ride….I hit 31 reps (missed 3 reps along the way) but am confident I could have easily got 35 reps that day. =o)

What is important whether it is training for the Ultimate Sandbag fitness test like this one, or any standard is to really own the technique first and foremost. In speaking with Josh, I have to agree this is really an efficiency test first and foremost. Meaning both programming and technique are far more important than just about being tough or trying to muscle through. If you try to do that you are missing the point of Ultimate Sandbag fitness challenges like this!

For a limited time if you purchase Coach Dos’ Programming Certification Course HERE and send your receipt to info@ultimatesandbagtraining.com/dev you will also get our two NEW DVRT programs for FREE! Our DVRT Warrior HIIT program and DVRT for Strength & Size. 80 workouts and over 400 exercises, the perfect compliment to Coach Dos new innovative program!