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Ultimate Sandbag Exercises for Troubled Shoulders

sandbag exercises

It is the email that I probably get the most. They usually start off much of the same, “hey Josh, love what you are doing with DVRT, but I have problems with my shoulders. I love to do X, but my shoulders keep killing me, are there Ultimate Sandbag exercises that can help?”

sandbag exercises

Healthy shoulders should be the standard, not the unusual. Ultimate Sandbag exercises like overhead pressing is better on the shoulders because of the neutral hand position and the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag exposes weaknesses that could cause shoulder issues. 


Well, first off you better make sure you are cleared with your doctor. Assuming your doctor doesn’t diagnose you with some serious injury and tells you the standard “ice and anti-inflammatories” (c’mon we all know that really doesn’t help, we can look a bit deeper.

First thing to understand about problematic shoulders is that it might not be JUST your shoulders causing the issue. Your neck, core, and hips could all be problematic and just representing everything as shoulder discomfort. I recommend you get your neck cleared by a good health professional as people are often surprised how much a cranky neck impacts their shoulders and I am not comfortable giving neck advice over the internet!

How does the core and hips come into play though? I find it funny when people talk about problematic knees, we have progressed to the point where we know to look at the hip and feet too. Yes, the joints above and below the problematic area can often contribute to the issues. Yet, the core and hips are all below the shoulder so what gives?

The shoulder is a complex joint so it relies greatly on everything it is “connected” to, to function properly. When the core doesn’t serve as a good foundation, it causes the shoulder to work over time.

The hip? Very similar but you have to understand that our hips and shoulders are connected to each other via fascial chains. Look below and you will get a general idea, but you see it when you walk. Your arm swings with the opposite leg, not by accident!

sandbag exercise

Great! Now you are more confused than ever! You just wanted some good Ultimate Sandbag exercises for your shoulders right? Well, hopefully giving you some education on how the body works makes you look at the bigger picture versus just the shoulders. I can’t tell you how many people we have helped over the years with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises that had done TONS of shoulder exercises.

The moral of the story is that good shoulder exercises should include learning how to properly use your core and hips as well! What types of Ultimate Sandbag exercises do that? Well, a lot! However, DVRT Master, Cory Cripe breaks down one of our favorite Ultimate Sandbag exercises for just the remedy.

You see HOW we connect our body with Ultimate Sandbag exercises is what we are really after. It isn’t about “feeling” your shoulders per se, but rather, how do we connect the body to the ground and itself. Having an overly simplistic view of “working the shoulders” is problematic because that is simply not how they work in life. In fact, it is this attitude that causes so many shoulder issues we end up working with.

The good thing, is that simple ideas can yield very powerful results. This might sound like an infomercial, but it is true, there are many times people come to our DVRT programs that can’t press overhead and when they learn how to use their body correctly and make the proper connections it often feels like “magic”.

If you don’t believe me, listen to what this physical therapist had to say about our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises, “As a PT, you may be interested to know that I have made attempts to lift overhead, over the last couple years.  All have been with bad pain (bad pain equalling discomfort before even working hard, as opposed to good discomfort/muscle hurt that comes from work).  Having been recently diagnosed with a torn labrum, I’d basically thrown in the towel on having overhead strength, but this past weekend changed that.  The tall kneel stuff, bugs, dogs and floor-gripping really made a difference.”-Pete C.

What’s a practical and beneficial way to teach these methods while still training hard? That’s right, Cory is back for another dynamic way to teach these concepts in a way you can get better and learn to move better at the same time!

Great movement doesn’t have to be boring or not allow you to train like you want. In fact, smart functional fitness like these Ultimate Sandbag exercises are so important because you can train your body to feel good while you train hard! Isn’t that what fitness SHOULD be about?

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