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True Foundations of Functional Fitness!

ultimate sandbag

Cory Cripe, DVRT Master (Creator of DVRT Movement Strength)

Whew! Coming straight off the DVRT master trainer summit and my mind is just whirling around from the whole experience! I’m feeling a little punch drunk from all of the information presented on the first day about handling the roles and responsibilities of a master trainer, the DVRT functional fitness workshop & certification protocols, how to become social media friendly, and more! 

functional fitness

Connecting with DVRT coaches from Australia and the UK was some of the most fun of the whole time!

I was honored to be invited to present to my DVRT peers about what being a master trainer means to me personally. I’ve had opportunities to speak before, but this was one of the most challenging and, to be honest, nerve wrecking. What could I say to these amazing people? Some have been master trainers since the beginning, now we’ve included physical therapists (other than the amazing Jessica Bento) as part of the team, and then there are those who are holding the level of being a fitness professional and functional fitness to a very high level. What a crowd to present for; I’m just hoping that something I said may have resonated with them or inspired them in some way.

functional fitness

It was fun to share some fun facts that shaped the coach I am today like my time working with the Chicago Bulls. 

Later that evening was an entertaining social that included bowling – just think about all of that cross patterning sling stuff being applied in the lanes. It was pretty obvious who the bowling ringers were – that’s right Coach Paige, I’m looking at you!

One of the highlights had to be watching Josh try to coach our wonderful Japanese coach, Kaori Tani, through her FIRST time bowling. Not sure if this was the right coach for this job;)

The next day we gathered at the ever famous J & D Fitness Studio. You probably recognize it from some of the videos Josh & Jessica film there and (shameless plug) it’s the location where my Dynamic Strength Training DVRT program was filmed last year, too.

sandbag training

Of course all the information received on Day 1 was very important for us, but come on – Day 2, this is where we get our hands on all the functional fitness toys and make magic happen, and nothing was left out either! There were Ultimate Sandbags, water bags, core straps, mini-bands, XL mini-bands, lever bells, and kettlebells. We went through some of the L.I.F.T. concepts, fine tuned our DVRT Restoration coaching, worked on finalizing the DVRT Big 6 functional fitness drills and standards, unveiled some new concepts that will be applied to the DVRT Level II certification, and … drum roll please … we covered the DVRT fundamental principles, aka the basics.

sandbag training

How anti-climatic was that? Invest all this time, money, and energy traveling to Las Vegas and we still, as master instructors, have to go through the basics. What gives? Even though it seems too simple for some, I think anyone who has any experience with DVRT can appreciate how important it is to continually return to the fundamentals for refining and improvement for other advanced drills.

And the advanced drill I want to go over today is the MAX lunge (which is also a confirmed DVRT Big 6 exercise). For our more seasoned DVRT friends out there this may not come off as an advanced drill. However, for those who have recently started following DVRT, this may look as a lunge that will end up putting someone in the hospital with a blown out back! Here’s what I’m going to say: advanced, intermediate, or beginner to the DVRT experience the 3 tips I want to offer you will improve your MAX lunge, increase your strength, and make you a better human being just by getting better at the DVRT basics. #truestory

sandbag training

So – let’s get to it!

I understand this may not seem like a MAX lunge game changer – but it is … the DVRT dead bug! If you haven’t been adding this into your programming somewhere, you should – every darn day! No doubt, it’s very important to master the fundamental dead bug where you are holding onto the Ultimate Sandbag over your chest and kicking out one leg at a time. If you haven’t been doing this and start today, it will all ready get you moving in the right direction for movement success!

Taking some time to build up and earn your progressions is key to sustainable progress with the dead bug exercise. I highly recommend spending time turning the USB while kicking out the leg to learn about a better, stronger lat and glute connection before moving to a dead bug progression that will change the way you think about core training: dead bugs with lifts and chops. 


Taking the Ultimate Sandbag downtown will create a more efficient connection through the anterior oblique sling system which, in turn, is a very important anatomical sling to improve for your MAX lunge success – it’s true, I saw it on the internet. Just remember to keep those arms straight with a kung fu death grip on the handles – no saggy bag!

Let’s now move into a more specific lunge exercise since the dead bug doesn’t look to be too lunge-y. The half kneeling arc press. ‘Whoa, wait. Cory – that’s not a lunge,’ is something you might be thinking. And I would respond with, ‘it’s not, eh?’ Look at the bottom of a lunge and look at this half kneeling position. Could we agree they appear to be pretty similar? Many struggle with the lunge because they aren’t able to own the bottom portion. 

The half kneeling arc press will strengthen just that – I promise! Moving the USB side to side is promoting frontal plane movement through the upper body while training the lower body to resist such movement – exactly what it needs to do in a strong and successful lunge! For a little more MAX lunge specific, I would progress to cutting the arc press in half and keeping it on the side of the top leg. This will help to prepare your body to adapt to being loaded on the one side, just like the MAX lunge demands!

AND if you have access to it, adding the DVRT core straps to your arc press experience will create a more reflexive response through the core. What’s that, you don’t own a core strap? Well, what are you waiting for…?

Before we’re ready to take the boat from the harbor and set sail, let’s make one more progression, shall we? Holding the USB in the front loaded position will allow you more core stability because of the holding position, but make no mistake – this still needs your 100% undivided attention. While performing the lunge in the front loaded position, slowly turn towards the top leg pulling the USB across the chest with eyes forward. And, I just want to throw this out there … core strap …

And just like that, you are better prepared for an amazing multi-axial experience with a whole bunch of feelings and real world carryover! After the master trainer summit, you can only imagine how much more excited (didn’t know that was possible) I am to bring this to Chicago in two weeks for the Level I & II certification (you can still sign-up HERE)

Can’t make it to Chicago to see Cory? Get his DVRT Movement Strength programs as well as our great functional fitness tools and programs 30% off with code “fall” HERE