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You THOUGHT Planks Were Good!

Going Beyond the Side Plank-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

Jessica Bento, MSPT

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As a physical therapist I am always surprised how much time people spend training on the ground. Even in the clinic we want to get people standing as soon as we can. Movement changes when we are upright, when we have to navigate gravity, and of course, add motion.

Yet, when it comes to core training, even today we see most people the great majority of their training on the ground. We’ve talked a lot about core work in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training blog posts. For good reason, core work is very important, the problem is we still see a disconnect in what makes good core training. We have the group that only stays on the ground (or spends most of their time there), or the group that comes up with some pretty whacky stuff that is trying to be sold as core work. Neither is good and most stems from a misunderstanding of how to properly progress core training.

Yes, the plank seems to be king for now, but even the plank can be limited in the grand scheme of things. The leading authority of spinal health and mechanics, Dr. Stuart McGill, actually uses the side plank, not the front as one of his three primary standards in looking in building baseline levels of core stability. Hear that? Baseline. Even Dr. McGill recommends getting people to standing positions and off the ground once they achieve some of these foundational standards. How do you do it though?

There are those that would tell you deadlifting and squatting is enough. Would be convenient if that was true, but in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training that is rarely the case. Just this past weekend Josh was relaying to me a very interesting story. He was speaking at a conference in Louisville and asked for a volunteer. A very brave woman came up to demonstrate some of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training hip hinge patterns. Josh had her working with a 60 pound Strength USB and going into the staggered stance deadlift. Rather immediately it was obvious she had a lateral hip shift to the stance leg side. So? This woman later stated that she could deadlift 300 pounds! That is quite impressive for a woman, yet, when presented with a 60 pound Strength USB in the staggered position, she could not use that strength to move and stabilize in the frontal plane. This is actually important for two reasons.

sandbag training



Ultimate Sandbag staggered squats are simple yet powerful!

1. Strength numbers can be misleading. As we have talked about time and time again in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, it isn’t always about what you lift, but also what you can resist.

2. Small changes to a movement can be quite significant to adding stress to an exercise or workout. That means you don’t have to do crazy things to make positive strides towards your fitness goals. No novel exercises, or those done for Youtube likes. Instead well thought out progressions to keep moving a positive direction. How do we accomplish progressing the side plank in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training? We have a few options.

Body Position: As I just discussed subtle changes to one’s lifting position can be a lot of stress to someone. The easiest way to do this is to simply start in the staggered position. You can apply this to squatting, pressing, hip hinging, and rowing.

Holding Position: I know Josh has talked a lot about the Shoulder position being way more than just throwing an Ultimate Sandbag upon a shoulder and going to town. It is tough! The whole point is to resist the pull to the side that the USB on the shoulder creates. 
Using the Shoulder position is great for lunges, step-ups, squats, and even some hip hinges. The hardest in fact may be the squat due to the feet being in the same position. Try it, but use a camera and record yourself from behind, can you hold it together?

DVRT Master Benji Simonton shows that the shoulder position done correctly not only helps your fitness, but makes training more fun too! Gotta love the smile!

Other holding positions include our suitecase and less obvious ones such as Arc Pressing or Rotational Lunges. The hope here is that you don’t see DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training as just being different, but rather incredibly purposeful in everything we do. How we take something foundational like the side plank and add many, many layers to the training concept. Once you embrace smart training you will continually shock yourself in how they give you constant variety, but even more importantly RESULTS! Learn more how we build these powerful progressions and get the tips the best in the business are now using by attending one of our upcoming DVRT Ultimate Sandbag certifications HERE