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Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for Better Knees & Shoulders

sandbag exercises

This past weekend was the last of the 1-day Perform Better day seminars that I had been invited to present. If you are unaware, the Perform Better seminars and summits have become the gold standard in fitness and performance educational events. So, being able to be apart of them is a great honor. The best aspect though is to be able to help so many professionals from fitness coaches to physical therapists understand what functional training really means and why it is so transformative. Of course seeing people eyes light up when they see how DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises can play such an integral role is pretty cool too:)

sandbag exercises

When I get an opportunity to speak to so many coaches, they share with me the obstacles in helping their clients. It doesn’t matter if the goal has been fat loss, sports performance, or lifting heavier in the gym. Injury seems to be the nagging theme so many times. Of course people want to know how and if DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises can really help them. 

That is when the cool magic really happens. When I can break down just a few strategies using DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises and they IMMEDIATELY can feel the impact, that’s awesome!! One of the more common issues I hear about are problematic knees. Especially when it comes to squatting, lunging, and activities like running. 

As many of you may know, we recently had released our DVRT Shoulder Restoration course with Jessica leading much of the material as a physical therapist. We have heard how much of an impact it has made for so many people because it just isn’t the Ultimate Sandbag exercises, but the principles and concepts behind them that make them so powerful. 

I bring this up because really the shoulder and knees actually share a lot of the same issues. That is why I wanted to break things down into three concepts that can help you make an impact upon so many of the people you work with, or yourself! 

Use the Feet!

If you have followed us for any time, you know we keep going back to a few simple ideas. One of the bigger ones is using the feet! That is because so many knee issues are actually problems with the feet. The force that comes from the ground as we move first enters our feet, if they are not being used properly you can imagine the chain reaction up the body and one of the first joints impacted are the knees. 

That is why in so many of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises the FIRST thing we cue are the feet. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about squatting, lunging, rowing, or even pressing. Your feet are your foundation, if you don’t use them everything else falls apart!

Once you learn some of the concepts in today’s videos breaking down some great DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises, you will see that it makes your life in both training and coaching so much easier. When people’s knees collapse it isn’t because they need a band around their knee to correct their movement, it is because they aren’t using their feet!

Try this, get in a split squat position. Relax your feet and try to move your front knee around, especially allowing it to drop inwards. Easy to do right?! Now, get back to the same split squat position and grab the ground with your feet as though they were your hands. NOW try to move your knee, did anything change? If you did this correctly you noticed that it is almost impossible to move your knee. Crazy right?!


Core Is Important

The feet are not only important in helping stabilize the knee, but they do help us connect our core from the ground up. You probably noticed that when you grabbed the ground with your feet your hamstrings and glutes got tighter. Stabilizing the pelvis helps us control the knee from the trunk down. In other words, we have created stability from both direction. 

The core is very important and why it is so foundational in how we cue to use weight in our Ultimate Sandbag exercises. We don’t want to just hold weight, we want to be purposeful in how we use it in our Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Being purposeful with the weight helps us turn on the core and gives better stability and strength to the knee. 

You might wonder how using the core and upper body are connected. If we look at the foundational human movement of walking we notice that the arms and legs both move. While most would not think that we walk with our arms, they do play a critical role in how we walk as well as creating a more stable core. Arm swing in fact has been shown time and time again to have a strong relationship with how efficiently we walk and how fast we run!

sandbag exercises

So, we may be using Ultimate Sandbag exercises like Press Outs, Arc Presses, and others to help the knee. While most would look at such Ultimate Sandbag exercises as simply upper body or core exercises, you are seeing that understanding how the body functions gives us a much deeper meaning to what exercises we use and how we cue them!

Half Kneeling and Sprinter Stance Are Your Best Friends

More and more people are familiar with using body positions like tall and half kneeling thanks to the work of people like Gray Cook of Functional Movement Screen. Yet, most people miss the simple beauty these positions offer and typically just see them as “harder” variations of exercises or some magical way of using the core. 

The truth is that these positions, especially half kneeling, can be transformative in how you help people with bad knees. That is because the position of half kneeling accomplishes several goals. 

sandbag exercises

-Using the ground: As I already discussed, using the feet is very important in helping the knees. Being half kneeling is an unstable body position and the way we WANT to create stability is through pushing through our feet. We can tell if one is doing so by how they perform in these Ultimate Sandbag exercises. 

-Building Core Strength: Again, we said the core and upper body integration is very essential in building resiliency. Using these Ultimate Sandbag exercises in the half kneeling position helps build the core and upper body, but also the connection to the hip and lower leg. 

-Frontal Plane Strength: We move three dimensionally, but man, we love training in one! Most people don’t realize that lack of lateral or frontal plane strength is a big reason they have issues with the big 3 (low back, shoulders, and knees). These issues of the big 3 are often very smilier and building frontal pain strength can be a great solution. 

So, when you watch the video below, don’t see just exercises, watch how we are using the body and weight. You will also find that even if we want to place more of a power or maximal strength emphasis where we can use more load, we can accomplish many of the same things through our Sprinter Stance. Make sure to check out some great examples below!

That’s it! Three simple strategies of our Ultimate Sandbag exercises that could instantly change how people feel in their knees when they train. I worked with over 200 fitness professionals in the past few weeks at conferences. Time and time again they were utterly SHOCKED that these concepts made them squat without any discomfort in the knees all the while feeling stronger and getting a BETTER squat. 

This isn’t some crazy internet magic. Ultimate Sandbag exercise aren’t designed to make you better at Ultimate Sandbags, they are designed to help you use your body smarter!

If you want to find more how we use real world strength training concepts to create magic in our clients check out our upcoming DVRT educational events HERE or our DVRT Online education for 25% off HERE with coupon code “spring2018”