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Why Ultimate Sandbag Workouts Save Shoulders!

sandbag workouts

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

I typically laugh, it is pretty funny when you actually think about. I’m talking about the fact that there are people, that think I am pretty mean. More times than not it is fitness professionals, but it can sometimes be my fellow physical therapists! How could I be mean about something as silly as Ultimate Sandbag workouts?!

Mostly because I hear THIS a lot, “Jessica, I’d love to do this DVRT exercise, but I just can’t, I have bad shoulders.”

My reply, “oh did you have some surgical reconstruction?”

There’s, “noooo…”

My reply, “don’t you want your shoulder to be better?”

There’s, “yea, but um…..”

My reply, “don’t you want to be a role model for your clients?”

After all, I know people say there are “no excuses” in fitness, so why do we all try to use them when it comes to ourselves. Of course I am not trying to be a tough person, or unreasonable. However, as I have written about (you can read HERE), I’ve gone through hell with my shoulders and am so much better now that there is extremely rare for myself to find anything that limits me.


That is why we are so adamant in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts that it isn’t any one exercise you have to do, but the RIGHT exercise. With that, we should also note that so many of the benefits of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts come from the details of the movement.

sandbag workouts

Movement is a tangible and specific in our body, nothing happens by accident. 

So where do people usually go wrong with their DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts? After all, the Ultimate Sandbag is powerful, but even it can’t make up for bad technique!!!

Mistake #1 No Intentions

When I started dating as a teenager my Dad had the same worries pretty much every daughters’ Dad had, the intentions of boys! As adults we know that intentions and context matter a lot. The same could be said of how we perform our exercises too!

Many people, I don’t blame them, simply see Ultimate Sandbag workouts as a unique external load tool. However, those that get the DVRT system see something far deeper than that! They get how the “little things” go a long ways in making a profound difference in the results. we get.

For example, our exercises start before the weight or body ever starts moving! Teaching people to create tension in the feet and how to hold the Ultimate Sandbag in specific ways completely changes the muscles we engage and the results we get.

In Arc Press, for example, we like to start people half kneeling because it amplifies the frontal plane component of this lift (kinda like an upright side plank) and it forces people to grab the ground. Well, that is half the equation.

The other is actively gripping and trying to tear apart the Ultimate Sandbag. Immediately you see the chain reaction it has down the body making our shoulders come in close to our body so we can use our lats, it engages our core more, and it is virtually impossible to press with bad form.

The same can be seen in our Ultimate Sandbag workouts when it comes to squatting. Most people wouldn’t think of squats as a shoulder exercise, but because of the unique ways we can create force against the Ultimate Sandbag we can engage the chains that have profound impact upon the shoulders.

You can see trying to “pull apart”, or “drive the elbows into the ribs” creates tension against the Ultimate Sandbag that engages my entire upper body. We feel more load in the core and makes us move even better!

Mistake #2 Load Makes Us Move Better!

As our DVRT Restoration concepts become more popular people are looking for ways to vary it with other equipment. While we are apt to do so with purpose (hence why in our DVRT Shoulder Restoration course we use other tools) it is how you layer them with progression that makes the difference.

For example, people are starting to appreciate how tension makes us move better. More times than not, using load well during our Ultimate Sandbag workouts is a great way to build strength and free up our movement. This is the idea behind “proximal stability for distal mobility.”

However, in an effort to be different, people are creating tension with implements that have no load. That means we don’t get NEARLY the same activation and therefore, not as powerful as a result. Tension and load are our friends in creating better movement, but you have to be specific in how you use both. I demonstrate a few examples below.

Mistake #3 The Body NEVER Works In Isolation

I am still surprised in 2018 to hear smart individuals talk about the scapula or the shoulder girdle as it works in isolation. The truth is that NOTHING in our body works by itself. That is why the power in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts isn’t just in the Ultimate Sandbag, or even the exercise itself, but how we cue it to create the connection of the kinetic chains. Here are a few great examples!


Making the body work better isn’t some magic trick, it is making the science of movement more digestible for anyone to benefit. Hopefully in understanding some key concepts and what makes them unique you can experience the impact we see time and time again in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts!

Don’t miss a chance to save 25% on our NEW Shoulder Restoration Course or ANY Of our Online Educational programs with coupon code “shoulder” HERE

sandbag workouts