Tuesday, March 24, 2015


What Does It Mean to Be "Functional"-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
DVRT Master Chief, Senior RKC, MFF Fitness Ninja and Original Strength Instructor

What does FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH mean to you?

This was a great question the DVRT creator (and fellow bald homie) Josh Henkin asked the sold out crew at a recent DVRT certification. To be sure, there are many ways to answer this. My brain started going in two directions with this.
ultimate sandbag training

What is the DEFINITION of functional STRENGTH?
What does functional strength MEAN to me?

We received many great answers regarding the definition in question 1. As usual, Josh’s answer was illuminating:

To be able to own strength of movement in all planes of motion.

Brilliant. I love this answer. Functional strength is about being able to possess quality movement, WITH STRENGTH, in all planes of motion. A triple bodyweight deadlift may be a strong (and awesome) lift but it doesn’t mean you are functionally strong. It means you excel in that movement pattern within the saggital (front to back) plane of motion. A heavy ass DL doesn’t necessarily carry over into everything else.

In Dynamic Variable Resistance Training, we’re looking at the HINGE PATTERN of the deadlift, but we’re also looking at how to progress it in all planes of motion (sagital, frontal and transverse). You know what that type of training sounds like to me? It sounds like being damn near unstoppable. Functional.
ultimate sandbag training

Now let’s move on to the second question. What does functional fitness MEAN to me?

For me, being functional strong is the ability to keep up with my kids for as long as this meat container will allow me. It also means being able to help my girlfriend and family as much as possible. DVRT and Ultimate Sandbag Training is the ideal path for me to get there. My goal is too be as strong and mobile as possible, for as long as possible. To be functionally strong to the bitter end. I will NOT go idly into the night.

This goal has led to many subtle, yet illuminating discoveries. I am often surprised at how much easier certain daily tasks are now compared to before I started training. Here are three normal every day things that are way easier when you’re stronger and have a direct correlation to DVRT Training.

Moving Air Conditioners. Every year, I would dread the time when you had to take the ACs in and out of the window. Those suckers are heavy and awkward to hold. Have you cleaned an eight plus Burly Ultimate Sandbag? Air conditioners are pretty easy these days.
Making Snow Forts. The snow had piled up pretty high in front of my parents house this winter. It was high but mostly ice at this point. My kids needed a fort and some ice wasn’t going to stop me. I busted out the shovel and started digging. Shoveling used to be back breaking. In DVRT, we work certain rotational patterns that have made shoveling less tiring and in a perverse way fun.
The Damn Laundry. With my trip to Japan approaching, I had let the laundry pile up. I think Kim and I hit a PR in the laundry category. By the time it was done, I had to carry three large bags of laundry home on my own. One of the key factors in DVRT is how we alter holding positions on the USB on the body. Want to talk about GPP? Walk around with this stuff in various carries.

This list just scratches the surface. This is what it means to me to be functionally strong in daily life. Not just in the gym. All three things listed occurred in one day. You never know what you may up to.

Here’s a quick DVRT Workout to help prepare you for the random things in life. Run this for 15 minutes. Rest as needed.

Rotational Press (USB-FH-GM-RP) X4 per side

Shoveling x8 per side

Lateral Drag x5 per side.
ultimate sandbag training
Up Downs x5 per side

Sprinter Stance Shoulder Squat (USB-SS-SSQ) x 5 per side

DVRT is the most direct way to be functionally strong in all planes of motions. This is no gimmick. This is no trend. This is truth.

As always, this piece is only scratching the surface. Check out a DVRT certification or workshop near you!

I hope to see you soon!

Yours in strength and fury,


Don't miss YOUR chance to learn how to give your fitness the edge. Check out one of our upcoming DVRT certifications HERE

Monday, March 2, 2015


Strength training is hard. It just is. Part of getting strong is based on overcoming adversity. Challenges are set and we are put to task to destroy them. It is within these challenges that we take those important steps toward our goals and break down the walls of our current limitations. That’s a difficult thing to do. It’s hard. While this is often the case, it doesn’t have to ALWAYS be the case. In your best Joker voice ask yourself, “Why so serious?”

Now let’s take minute to put all the hardcore, elite, tactical, beast mode training aside. Put down your Jakd 3D and rest your thousand yard stare for a moment.
Why do we have to be so serious about fitness all the time? (TWEET THAT!) Sure there’s a time and place for it but why can’t we have more fun? Can’t we approach training like play? Kids get strong and resilient playing. Fact.

I programmed the last round of classes at Mark Fisher Fitness. The ninjas know that Fury is keen on crawling and their immediate dread of 60-90 second crawls was palpable. As we progressed weekly through the class, I started to notice why people hated crawling (even though they knew it was good for them). They took it too seriously. Ninjas were moving stiffly and way too deliberately while worrying about their form. A change of perspective was needed.

So I gave one of my “not entirely rare” crawl speeches. I empowered everyone to simply move, have fun and play with the next round of crawling. Throw away most of your concerns about technique and move around.

Man, did the Ninjas deliver! It was the single best round of group crawling I’ve witnessed at the Clubhouse. We were all a bunch of kids messing around. They got back to their feet with more energy, less fatigue and smiles. (Well, most of them did.)
So here are a few benefits of attacking certain things from the perspective of play:
  1. It’s crazy, but training is more fun while you play. It takes the edge off and makes it a more rewarding experience.
  2. You’d be amazed at how much your work capacity can be expanded when you view something as a game instead of a chore. Time flies as your strength grows.
  3. I bet you recover faster too. While you’re muscles may work the same, the mental demand is much less when we’re moving from a state of play. Emotions can tax your central nervous system. So does strength training. States of play can feed the brain through a training session as opposed to just wearing it down.
That’s that. Simple. When training seems super intimidating, change your perspective from work to play. Screw being serious all the time. Be a kid and move. Play.

Oh, and if you think this idea of the “play” approach is just about training…you missed something. Glory!

- Fury out