It is always awkward when people tag you in material on social media that actually makes you cringe. I say awkward because we know people have really good intentions, but we aren’t about people buying or even just throwing in the Ultimate Sandbag haphazardly, but we want people to use them well to accomplish their fitness goals. A great example is the issue that we see when so many people perform Ultimate Sandbag cleans.
People love Ultimate Sandbag cleans because you can achieve the great power development that you wold find in the barbell, but you don’t have the issue of the wrists or even really the complexity of the movement. That isn’t to say though there isn’t technique to use when performing Ultimate Sandbag cleans.
The difficult part is people often introduce Ultimate Sandbag cleans with light USBs. That in of itself is not bad, however, the issue arises because poor technique can be used on a light weight that is impossible to use when you get heavier. Sadly, this keeps people from finding the benefit of heavier Ultimate Sandbag cleans that really challenge strength and stability at the same time.
Step number one is simply making sure that you are using the right handles. I’ll be honest, it has gotten A LOT better over the last couple of years, but there are still a lot of people that are using the snatch grip handles for Ultimate Sandbag cleans and deadlifts and some that use these handles for their snatches.
Why can’t we do this? Isn’t it just like using a barbell? You can probably guess, my answer is NO! Any tool has unique attributes to it, hopefully that is the REAL reason that you are using it in your training. For any of these hip hinge movements like Ultimate Sandbag cleans, creating tension in the lats is so important in developing a stable core to both save your low back and develop optimal power in the hips.
With the barbell, lifters are coached to try to “break the barbell apart” to create this tension. Doing the same with the Ultimate Sandbag would cause the handles to fold and not benefit from this important cue and technique point. That is why we grab the neutral grip handles and “pull the handles apart”. This creates the proper tension in the core and puts way more emphasis on the hips which is the whole benefit of using Ultimate Sandbag cleans.
A side benefit of doing so is that this is really easy for people to learn. Even those that don’t have good mobility in the upper body and awareness can learn this technique easily and effectively. This transforms Ultimate Sandbag cleans into being a far more power based movement.
The next critical aspect is the power we create from the ground and the position of the elbows. Sadly, a lot of people tag us with pictures of themselves bruising their chest or forearms because they miss this important aspect of Ultimate Sandbag cleans.
A great solution is to use a different DVRT exercise which is the High Pull. Strength coach, Brian Bott of Aspire Fitness breaks down how the High Pull can solve so many issues of Ultimate Sandbag cleans. Understanding simple cues will give you the opportunity to create powerful results.
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