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I’ll admit, it is a big one!
You can see it brewing in the way people end up asking THE question…
“Yea, but can you really get strong from Ultimate Sandbag Training?”
Why? Why is this such a big question for people?
It is pretty easy, Ultimate Sandbags can’t go as heavy as barbells.
So, it makes sense, you can’t get strong, or can you?
I’ve written about the simple fact, not all weight is equal (you can read more HERE).
There are three simple ways that an Ultimate Sandbag is not the same as any other strength training tool.
–Leverage: The center of mass of the Ultimate Sandbag is far away from the handle. While kettlebells have a similar thing, the difference is there is NO weight in the handle of the Ultimate Sandbag where the kettlebell does. That means ALL the weight moves away from where you hold onto the Ultimate Sandbag.
-Dimension: Probably one of the most misunderstood concepts of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is the role of dimension. That is probably due to the fact that no other strength training tool again changes its dimension as you go to different sizes. Why does an Ultimate Sandbag feel so freakin’ heavy as they go up in weight? Because as you go heavier and heavier you also have the dimension get bigger and bigger.
How does that impact your training? When you are doing exercises like Cleans, Snatches, Squats, Lunges, Presses, or just about any core exercise, the weight moves away from the body more and makes you incorporate even MORE muscles because you have to accelerate longer and stabilize harder!
-Instability: I ask people this question all the time, “why do you want to use an unstable weight?” After all, if I ask most why they would use a “sandbag” for training they are going to tell me they are unstable. Okay, so what does that do? Actually A LOT!
For one, it activates more muscles. Don’t believe me? A study by Saeterbakken et al, found that using an unstable body and implement does the following…
“In conclusion, the exercise with the greatest stability requirement demonstrated the highest neuromuscular activity of the deltoid muscles, although this was the exercise with the lowest 1-RM strength.”
If that looks like a foreign language, I’ll translate because it is a BIG deal! Basically, when you challenge instability in an incremental manner you activate more muscles even though the weight you are using may be lighter! That dispels the myth that using more weight alone means you are using more muscles and building greater strength.
Not only does instability activate more muscles, but also challenges movement accuracy. That’s right, you can’t be just a brute, you have to possess refine movement skills. That is why the classic gym strong dude HATES being humbled by an Ultimate Sandbag of much lower weight than they are use to using.
Is it worth it? Well, it is really cool to watch how DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training carries over really well to other implements and the reverse is not true. How do I know? Is this just Josh propaganda?
A few months ago I had Jessica try barbell deadlifting. She has never been a barbell lifter, I mean NEVER! With FIVE disc herniations in her back, it never felt great to her to use the barbell, but she was game, well reluctantly. Having some faith I would keep her safe, she tried her first effort deadlifting on the barbell.
She worked up to a comfortable 205. Not bad for someone who has NEVER deadlifted with a barbell before and is ultra conservative about their low back! Funny part is she uses a 40-60 pound Strength Ultimate Sandbag along with a 30 pound Power Ultimate Sandbag for her training. How? How is she able to lift so much more on the barbell if she doesn’t even come CLOSE to the same weight in her DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training?
For all the reasons I’ve just outlined. Understanding how to train movement and make the body smarter carries over to so many DIFFERENT things. Whether it is being a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, or excelling at your fitness goals.
If you understand the “why’s” then you can develop unprecedented results! Oh, and yes, you can get scary strong! Don’t believe me? Try the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training workout by DVRT Master, James Newman of Quest Fitness and let me know if you found major holes in your fitness? BTW, be legit, James here is using a 70 pound Burly Ultimate Sandbag, can you keep up?