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Ultimate Sandbag Exercises Are Something VERY Different!

sandbag exercises

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator of DVRT Restoration Course, DVRT Pelvic Girdle, & DVRT Shoulder Restoration)

sandbag exercises

In my world of physical therapy it is important, REALLY important! That is knowing when and what tool to use with my patients. Doing so makes a big difference in the result I get and how I impact the body. That is why when I look at the fitness world I see a really missed opportunity to get great value out of understanding how the tools we use can make a bigger impact to your training. When you see how we apply this to these 3 DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises I know you will see a real big difference in even HOW you perform these movements.


sandbag exercises

I am not going to even pretend that we invented lifts/chops. They actually come from the therapy system of PNF. What is unique about PNF is that it was one of the earliest therapy techniques that realized that our movement and body is largely influenced by our nervous system more than our muscles. In the system, diagonal patterns are often used to stimulate function again through activating the smaller muscles that are usually shut off for a variety of reasons.

What happens when people perform these movements well is that they often find an instant change in how they move, feel, and perform. That is the great benefit of focusing on the nervous system, not just muscles. What can be frustrating for a lot of coaches trying to implement these patterns is that clients don’t necessarily feel “the burn” that you would on a lot of more popular core exercises.

That is where these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises can be incredibly useful. In order to really make change we need to key ingredients, that is tension AND load! Now, people are getting more on board with how creating tension builds better stability and strength, but they are often missing the load component that is VERY important. These lifts/chop Ultimate Sandbag exercises offer both and you will find the difference is pretty profound.

One of the key elements that most people is miss is the grip and pull apart that we use in these patterns. Doing so engages the lats and core while stabilizing the shoulder. Now, some are teaching these methods, but what makes the Ultimate Sandbag such a powerful tool is the position our hands are in which allow a more natural activation of the lats.

sandbag exercises

The difference in hand tension creates a chain reaction developing better core stability and strength. The pliability of the Ultimate Sandbag makes this a very unique and powerful training effect.


At first glance, dragging anything would seem to be a great way to build core strength. There is truth to some degree, but using different tools creates different outcomes. Some of this stems with the same effect we can use in these Ultimate Sandbag exercises as we have done in the lifts/chops! The Ultimate Sandbag being pliable again can be an advantage for us allowing us to actually create tension before we start moving.

Why is that important?

That tension instantly connects the Posterior Oblique System of lats/core/and glutes. Activating this chain BEFORE we start dragging creates a stable foundation for the movement to be performed. Most people misunderstand our Ultimate Sandbag exercises with drags and THINK it is JUST about moving the weight side to side. However, there are far more things going on than most people notice!

sandbag training

Dimension is a unique aspect of the Ultimate Sandbag and when it comes to drags, this is everything because it increases friction. You can see even our smallest Ultimate Sandbag is almost THREE times as long as an equivalent sized kettlebell. That is a world of difference in creating friction!

Another big reason we use the Ultimate Sandbag exercises for movements like drags is the fact we can create tension in the handle before we start moving the load. That tension leads to creating a strong foundation before we start moving developing a far more effective result out of the exercise. DVRT Master, Ian Vaughn breaks down some of these concepts.

Around the Worlds

There doesn’t have to be a big change to a movement to create a very different outcome. Ultimate Sandbag exercises like Around the Worlds are a great example. Many people want to call these Halos kinda like we see with kettlebells and other implements. The reason we go with a different name is because the movement is not exactly the same and the small differences mean a HUGE change in what we get out of the movement.

One of the biggest differences is the range of motion we see in the movement. This increases the core activation and mobility we can create in the upper body. Many people don’t even know how to start the movement because they try to muscle it rather than using the ground and their core!

DVRT Master, Kari Negraiff, breaks down how we use these Ultimate Sandbag exercises not only for the what they can deliver themselves, but how they lay the foundation for more complex movements!

Even when we break down these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises, because they are so new for so many we end up seeing a lot of the same errors. Jessica demonstrates what they are and what we are looking for in this movement. Especially with the neurological impact of the Around the World, the little things make ALL the difference!

The goal of talking about the subtle aspects of these Ultimate Sandbag exercises is to demonstrate the intent and technical components that actually make them quite sophisticated. Knowing the “why’s” and ALL the parts of the “how’s” often change how people see DVRT!

If you want to be on the cutting edge of functional fitness, check out our DVRT education HERE and don’t miss saving 25% all throughout our DVRT site with coupon code “spring2018” (excludes live events) HERE