NIGHT OF THE LIVING WEIGHT-A DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Halloween Tale?
By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, Master DVRT, SFG II
“They’re coming to lift you Barbara.”
I’m often surprised about the overall lack of understanding that surrounds Josh Henkin’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training program and sandbag training in general. Part of me believes that this stems from the fact that the Ultimate Sandbag, or USB, is something that people hear about after they’ve already fallen in love with kettlebells or barbells. Let’s face it, most folks are used to the concept of these implements. I’d like to shed some light on this absolutely killer system because you, my friends, are missing out.
So why a Ultimate Sandbag Training?
Because the damn thing is ALIVE. The Ultimate Sandbag has been called a living weight. I’ll take that a step further and call it an undead weight. Fury, how can a weight be alive, or undead, you freak? DVRT stands for Dynamic Variable Resistance Training. “Dynamic Variable” means an unstable load. A kettlebell is a kettlebell. A barbell is a barbell. Both are Iron. Both are solid. No Duh! You can grab a heavier kettlebell or add plates to the bar but once loaded their form stays constant (fairly constant on a heavy bar). Now, the load within an Ultimate Sandbag is shifting with every movement. No two reps are the same. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the body is struggling to maintain form within the given lift and shifting of the sand. For example, press a pair of 24kg/53lb kettlebells overhead and hold them for 10 seconds. Sure gravity is working against them, but you have a nice lockout, packed shoulders, tight glutes and abs and it’s pretty damn stable. Now, grab a 100lb Burly USB and press that overhead and hold for 10 seconds. Do you feel that? Yeah, that’s the undead weight starting to grab around your fists and pull them. That’s also the shifting of the load toward the center of the bag directly over your dome trying to get at that juicy brain of yours. Tough stuff (and 6 pounds lighter than the bells). My students are often shocked by how heavy a relatively light USB can feel during a movement compared to a kettlebell.
Another item that drew me to the Ultimate Sandbag Training was the rotational movements. The design of the USB and it’s multiple handles provide options for a ton of Ultimate Sandbag Training specific rotational movements. Whip out a few sets of “Around the Worlds” and watch heads turn in the gym. What’s an “around the world” you ask? Picture a ballistic kettlebell halo while pivoting at the hips. Yeah, it’s rad. Rotational lunges, rotational snatches, rotational cleans, rotational presses…. you get my point.
Enough about the Ultimate Sandbag. The true beauty in DVRT training is it’s broad base of progressions. Josh has done an incredible job of outlining how to build up a student one step at a time. We start simple and then add instability by adjusting stance or the position of the USB. This methodology works extremely well with the principles of StrongFirst, the RKC (in which Josh is a Senior Instructor) and FMS. All systems strive to build a solid foundation and then progress from there.
Here is your call to arms. Go out and find a DVRT workshop (CLICK HERE for upcoming dates), certified instructor (for a full list of DVRT certified instructors CLICK HERE) or a cert and prepare to battle the undead weight of Ultimate Sandbag Training. Remember, only train in the basement as a last resort.
So why a USB? Now you know… and knowing is half the battle.
Steve is a Strength Coach at Five Points Academy in NYC. As a DVRT Master Instructor, Fury developed the popular Ultimate Sandbag and Dynamic Strength programs at the gym. As a StrongFirst SFG II, Steve is highly regarded in the community and often sought out by instructor candidates for training. Fury is also an assistant Muay Thai Instructor and is involved in hosting workshops at Five Points. Founded in 2011, Coach Fury’s Kettlebell Club brings hardstyle kettlebell training to Park Slope, Brooklyn every Sunday. You can visit www.coachfury.com, facebook/coachfury or @coachfury to get in contact or learn more about Steve.