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What Ultimate Sandbag Exercises Are Better

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It tends to be one of the biggest questions we get about our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. What is so different about using an Ultimate Sandbag versus another tool in a lot of the DVRT drills that we demonstrate? To be honest, in some instances the differences are harder to see or appreciate until you do them, then there are some where it hopefully can be VERY obvious even if you have never touched an Ultimate Sandbag. At the end of the day though, we don’t say you have to use Ultimate Sandbag exercises for everything, but there are many ways that the tool when used with the right intent offers just superior results.

The Not So Obvious Benefits 

When you see us perform a bent row, or an overhead press, a press out squat for that matter, it may appear as though you could use many different tools to achieve the same goal. That is where having a slightly deeper understanding of what we are trying to achieve changes your perspective greatly.

Ultimate Sandbag exercises like bent rows benefit from many of the similar ideas that kettlebells brought to light in the very early 2000’s. Why row a kettlebell versus a dumbbell? The center of mass of a dumbbell is right where the handle lies, whereas the handle of a kettlebell is further from the center of mass making the row feel more challenging even if the weights are the same. The Ultimate Sandbag is even more dramatic because we have NO weight in our handles and as Ultimate Sandbags become heavier the distance from the center of mass grows meaning, that weight you are lifting is going to feel MUCH heavier to the body!

ultimate sandbag exercises

Kettlebells also opened our minds to the importance of grip strength and how this has a big impact upon all our upper body strength and resilience. The thicker grip of the kettlebell allows more grip strength and isn’t that better than our more standard size handles on the Ultimate Sandbag? Well, don’t forget, the more leverage we have working against us from our discussion above, the more we have to grip. Second, we can grip the Ultimate Sandbag numerous ways that either use a thick grip or take grabbing any handle out of the equation really developing crazy grip strength.

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In Ultimate Sandbag exercises like overhead presses, the differences vary from that of the rows. The BIGGEST difference lies in the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag itself. When pressing any Ultimate Sandbag larger than a Power, we press from the firsts. This is essential in keeping strong and healthy shoulders as coach Steve Di Tomaso describes below. Not only is this safer on our shoulders, we get to experience the feedback that the instability of the Ultimate Sandbag provides. If your movement quality is off, you won’t make the lift, if you are compensating or not using your body properly, you will miss the lift. So, not only does the instability allow us to use more muscles, but actually teaches us to become better lifters.

The other great benefit is that we have the ability to keep our arms in a safer position. Yes, the way that everyone is almost universally taught to press overhead actually exposes the shoulders to a lot of unnecessary risk and stress. Plus, not having the shoulders in this position decreases our ability to use our lats and core which lowers our strength potential in pressing.

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More Dramatic Impact Of Ultimate Sandbag Exercises

Just because the above was more subtle, doesn’t mean it isn’t as effective as what we are going to discuss in ways that the Ultimate Sandbag plays a more obvious role in movements. With that said, a few of these examples may seem subtle but once you see them you can see why we say using another piece of equipment won’t be able to replicate these Ultimate Sandbag exercises.

It can be difficult to just have people understand that loading the hips during a hip bridge isn’t ideal for improving the function of the glutes (you can read one of many posts we have on this topic like this one HERE), now we also have to explain why the Ultimate Sandbag works uniquely. When we hold the Ultimate Sandbag we actively are pulling the outside handles apart to engage our lats and core to our movement JUST like we would in a deadlift, kettlebell swing, and any standing hip hinge, makes sense right? You see why tools like dumbbells and medicine balls won’t work, but what about a band right? Bands can be pulled apart, but have no load so we don’t get that core activation or loading upon the body that the Ultimate Sandbag allows for in making these hip bridges better glute exercises.

Other lower body exercises like squats, lunges, hip hinges, and step-ups also greatly benefit from the unique aspects of Ultimate Sandbag exercises. We can teach how to move better in drills like squats by actively pulling the handles apart to give ourselves better core stability that allows for better hip mobility and control of the movement like you see physical therapist, Jessica Bento perform below.

What Coach Cari Satre and Jessica show is how we use not just load but specific tension techniques to stabilize our body through connecting the RIGHT muscles in an exercise because of what the tool allows us to perform. We can then begin to stress these concepts through our DVRT system of progressing holding position like Coach Cory Cripe shows below.


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A post shared by Cory M. Cripe (@corymcripe)

Cory does a little pop quiz (the answers are B easiest then A and C btw) on how we use the concept of holding position not to just build stronger squats, but challenging other aspects of functional strength like stability and multi-planar strength training. This doesn’t just give us more options, but better ones.

UK Coach, Greg Perlaki, helps us show how we can build strength at higher levels with Ultimate Sandbags exercises. While some of these drills may scare  people, they largely do so only because people aren’t use to thinking of strength training in this manner. This isn’t some effort to be contrarian though, but fully developing strength in all the ways that we as humans move. Learning to produce and resist rotation are key aspects not just of being strong in the gym, but being really powerful out of the gym as well!

Maybe we will do a part 2 if this helps those of you thinking about using DVRT or even are currently using the Ultimate Sandbag but now see it has so much more value than you have originally thought!

Don’t miss saving 30% on EVERYTHING at DVRT right now and when you save big on our Ultimate Sandbags, when you invest in any size you will also get our DVRT Complexes and WODs workout programs for FREE. Just use code “scary” HERE