When I think of all the Ultimate Sandbag exercises possible there is a short list that seems to a “go to” for people. Now, these aren’t the best, they aren’t the only, they CAN be important building blocks for many people though.
One of those Ultimate Sandbag exercises that seem to get so much attention is our Lateral Drags. Before I get too far into the why’s, how’s, and cool variations, let’s address the BIGGEST thing that people misunderstand.
Coached great by Kari Merrill, the goal in the movement is to RESIST movement!
If you are knew to Ultimate Sandbag exercises you will find that I am a pretty literal person. I’m not super talented at coming at cool names for our Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Partly because we have SO many that people can forget which drill is what with us being too cute with the drills actual names. However, here, the name is SUPER important…..DRAG!!!!
No, the goal is not to just transfer the weight side to side. The actual drag of the Ultimate Sandbag is incredibly important. It is both the friction of the ground and the weight of the Ultimate Sandbag that gives us this very unique resistance. Yes, I’ve seen people try to drag a host of other implements but it isn’t the same. Why? For one, the Ultimate Sandbag is made for our exercises so there are subtle differences that create huge differences.
The most obvious will be the surface area that the Ultimate Sandbag has on the ground. Unlike trying to drag other implements the bigger surface area of the Ultimate Sandbag gives us a key element of the resistance. The other is the placement of the handle in relationship to the center of mass of the Ultimate Sandbag. Not only does this put our shoulder in ideal alignment, but gives us actually an opportunity to load the body properly by simply taking slack out of the handle. What most people miss is that many of our Ultimate Sandbag exercises actually begin BEFORE the weight starts moving as we create specific tension.
In any language these Ultimate Sandbag exercises rock!
Okay, so hopefully you are on board with the idea of using the RIGHT tool for the RIGHT job. There are two additional points you need to also remember about our Ultimate Sandbag drags. They are to RESIST rotation AND are a pushing drill. Combining these two elements make this a super powered exercise for athletes and those looking for real world strength at the same time.
People are often shocked at how things like bench press, push-ups, and overhead pressing goes up by getting really good at our Ultimate Sandbag Drags. That is because we teach the WHOLE body to push instead of just focusing on the chest, shoulders, or general upper body. That is like real life where ALL our actions start from the ground up and that is where our power really comes from. Not to mention that learning to keep and building core strength allows us to generate more strength and something most people miss when they go onto benches.
Sounds really great so far right? So, what else do you need to know? Here are a few other common mistakes on our Ultimate Sandbag Drags…..
-Moving too fast! While beginners will move slower than more advanced lifters, the goal is to aim for a 3-6 second count going from one side to another. We can even add a 2-3 second hold at the end to really emphasize all the good aspects of this lift.
-Not using the whole body! Before we even start moving we want to GRAB the ground with our hands and feet. Creating this whole body tension not only makes us stronger, but keeps our body safe as well. While so many people focus on moving the Ultimate Sandbag they actually miss the almost bigger point of keeping the stance arm and legs driving into the ground. They lose this tension and we see elevation and/or rotation of the hips. No good there and missing the whole point of the drill.
-Setting the Ultimate Sandbag up too high! With more and more time going by we get better at giving cues on our Ultimate Sandbag exercises. DVRT Master, Raymond Lee, helped me with this one! We actually set-up in a four point position keeping our shoulders over hands and hips over knees. From here, we place the Ultimate Sandbag right against the front of our thighs and just off to the side. This simple difference plays a HUGE part in doing the Drags correctly. If you don’t do this and place the Ultimate Sandbag closer to the hands you use your shoulder. When you place the weight correctly on the body we then can use our lat. This is so important because we want to use the chain of our lat, core, and opposing glute to keep us strong and stable.
You can see that what looks like a simple exercise has a lot of little detail that make such a HUGE difference in the result you get from it. It is understanding these nuances that allows us get way more from our training and keeping us guessing the right exercise to use for our clients or ourselves. Best of all when you pay attention to the purpose of our Ultimate Sandbag exercises you quickly learn there is no end to the variations you can come up with! For example, check out the awesome work that DVRT and Strength Coach, Joel Gunterman, has come up for our Ultimate Sandbag Drags. Using this arc we amplify the anti-rotational aspect and upgrade the classic “stir the pot” exercise into something so much more!