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Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for Neutral Spine

sandbag training


Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration, DVRT Shoulder Course, DVRT Pelvic Control Course)

It is a question I hear a lot, especially being a physical therapist. “How do I help people find neutral spine?” Ten years ago I probably would have given you a drastically different answer than I would today. There would have been a lot of trying to get people to move around their pelvis and communication with people that went something like, “move the hips more forward, no back, no a bit more forward, stand taller, no not THAT tall.” I think anyone who has taught the idea of neutral spine has gone through a similar process. That’s why with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises I have much better tools to help people understand neutral spine.

One of the things that we have to agree upon first though its that neutral spine isn’t an exact position. Unless we start doing imaging upon people’s spines or start using goniometers to measure, it can be really hard to truly find neutral spine. The bigger question is “does it really matter?” When I first became a therapist I might have lectured you on the absolute nature of having to hold neutral spine. As I have treated so many people, what I found is really important is looking for rather large deviations from the point where we consider good postural alignment.

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Don’t worry if this seems confusing, we are going to make it simple soon!

I realize that posture has had people go back and forth on its value, but I believe that comes down to people trying to be too exact on something that is slightly different for everyone. Posture does matter and what matters most is looking for significant changes from good postural alignment. How do you know something is “significant”? I think most people can see it, from very exaggerated curves to one’s low back, to very slumped shoulders, to head postures that are far head of the body.

Of course there will be someone out there that tries to say there is not science that posture impacts health. Let me put it this way, there is no guarantee that smoking cigarettes will give you cancer. However, there is a much higher risk of developing cancer if you do smoke. Similar idea with really bad posture, then we also have to ask ourselves, how does that help someone?

With all that said, let’s go back to helping people find a position of more neutral spine. Why do we care? It generally it will allow people to use the right muscles during movement, it will take some pressure off joints that are not meant to bear such loads. Few “bad things” ever happen from having people work from a more neutral spine position.

If we want to think in the most simple of terms, if we see the typical position where our chest looks REALLY big and there appears to be a big curve in our low back we are lengthening the abdominal wall which makes it very hard for it to create stability for our spine. Make sense?

Then the question becomes how do we teach this to people? First off, we have to realize that a few hours a week can be hard to combat hours upon hours of sitting. So, you may have to use these exercise and drills in between sitting sometimes.

Where most people struggle in helping people find their neutral spine is they cue the movement of the hips, rather than thinking, “how did the hips get there?” That is why we designed DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises to be great feedback tools to help people learn how to use their bodies better and create faster solutions.

For example, when standing your pelvis doesn’t just decide to be in one position or not by itself. It is above a whole series of joints that impact the position of the pelvis, especially the feet! That is why we use specific cues and tools in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises to realize how we don’t focus just on the hips but the entire chains of the body.

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Bad knees plague even the most well intended fitness programs. Especially when we see the knees collapsing in many common exercises like #squats . Most coaches realize this is an issue and try to attack it with a host of corrective exercises. Blaming the the #glutes , core, you name it! Those are part of the equation, but the reality is that everything starts from the ground up and that means the feet first!! Using the @perform_better XL mini bands we can get the feet engaged which starts to get the knees in the right place and fires up the glutes and #core . … ????️‍♂️Physical therapist @jessicabentopt demonstrates how we fix the knees and the #squat at the same time by providing feedback, creating tension, and activating the kinetic chains of the body. By using the mini bands we get feedback upon the feet and the hips while the slow and deliberate pressing out of the Ultimate #Sandbag creates core tension and connection of the lats/core/ and glutes that instantly improves our knee angle and mobility in our squat. … ????️‍♂️Using our #DVRT methods in teaching better movement allows you to get people to be successful sooner and just as important, show them that exercise doesn’t have to hurt! This can be a great foundational squat, warm-up, or a #corestrength drill for more advanced lifters. Making people successful faster gets them training more consistently and achieving their fitness goals! #fitnessforlife #functionaltraining #womenwholift #movementculture #sandbagtraining #kettlebell #coreworkout #womensfitness #ultimatesandbag #physicaltherapy #personaltrainer #sandbags #functionalfitness #fitforlife #fitnesscoach #fitnessgoals #sandbagworkout #hiitworkout #crossfit #fitover40 #sandbagtraining

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You can see in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises like these Press Out Squats with mini bands that the bands around the feet start to fix what is happening at the knee and hip, while pushing out against the band while squatting helps give feedback upon proper use of my pelvis. The result? DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises like this give the person the ability to learn how to control their body with better feedback than the often very abstract cues that often frustrate coach and client alike.

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What I love most is seeing how people’s eyes and minds really open when they see what #functionaltraining is all about. When you can teach people how the body works and the results end up shocking people, it helps people really appreciate that #strengthtraining human movement is what helps us lead people to not just looking better, but living better! …. Physical therapist @jessicabentopt came up with this great #DVRT combination. Understanding that our shoulders and #core are really governed by the feet, when we want to improve the connection in our body we need to engage everything in the chain, not just individual muscles. Using the @perform_better band around the ankle we force the feet to work at a higher level, the Ultimate #Sandbag MAX lunge to Around the World combines multi-planar core and training of the #glutes while also using a lift/chop pattern with a #plank . This #core work is how our body wants to perform, so why not feed our body the #workouts it really wants! #functionalfitness #corestrength #womensfitness #physicaltherapy #coreworkout #womenwholift #strongnotskinny #warmup #mobilitywod #sandbags #kettlebell #personaltrainer #sandbagworkout #performbetter #fitmom #crossft #movementculture #fitnessgoals #fitforlife #sandbagtraining #trainingforlife #ultimatesandbag

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In this series you see how I am using the super band to once again create “active feet”, but now using the Ultimate Sandbag for the Around the World, I am teaching reflexive core strength that helps my core muscles (yes all 35 of them) to work synergistically to help stabilize my pelvis and create a neutral spine from both above and below the pelvis. This is different than DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises like the Press Out squat (which was the first video) where we used a lot of tension to help create stability of the pelvis from all the core muscles of the trunk.

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So excited that physical therapist @jessicabentopt will be teaching at this year’s @nscaofficial Nevada state clinic at the awesome @ufcpi in November. She is going to be teaching how we use #DVRT principles to change how we help problematic shoulders. It isn’t about #Sandbags but the lessons of #functionaltraining we can teach like these 3 ideas! …. 1️⃣Our #core serves as the foundation for the shoulders. That does mean just #abs but all 35 muscles that starch to our core. Teaching how we engage these muscles gives a stable platform for our shoulders. … 2️⃣Grip and feet are key because that is both how we turn on our core and engage with the outside to make our body stronger and more stable. … 3️⃣True strength isn’t just the force we can produce but what we can resist as well. Learning how to move while resisting force and applying the prior 2 #functionalfitness concepts is what makes us real world strong and mobile! CHECK OUT MORE IN BIO!! #fitnessgoals #movementculture #ultimatesandbag #womensfitness #sandbag #womenwholift #physicaltherapy #sandbagworkout #strongnotskinny #crossfit #personaltrainer #fitnesscoach #coreworkout #girlsgonestrong #sandbagtraining #performbetter #absworkout #mobilitywod @perform_better

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All these ideas though start with good foundations of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. Not just DOING the exercises, but being intentional how we are using our body, the ground, and the Ultimate Sandbag itself. We often don’t think of exercises being ways of teaching movement, but they can be the MOST powerful if we use them with the right intent.

Find out more how we use DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises to teach great movement strength concepts, give powerful feedback, and build successful progressions. Save 25% with coupon code “save25” HERE on our DVRT online education. Check out an example of how the “little things” transform our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises.