Welcome back! On a very special episode of “Nailing the DVRT Clean and Press Test” we’re going to cover something that is crucial to life itself… BREATHING!

Strength wasn’t an issue when I first trained for the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press Test, my conditioning was. I would lose my breath to an unholy degree and miss reps and accrue ridiculous amounts of fatigue. To be clear, my conditioning in terms of the RKC Snatch Test (100 24kg kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes) was spectacular. I had a 28kg Snatch test pretty dialed in. The Clean and Press Test is a different animal when it comes to breathing.

Let’s take a moment to talk about quality “diaphragmatic” breathing. We want to inhale through the nose, using our diaphragm and breathing low into our belly. We brace around that belly of air, then let out a sharp “hiss exhale” as we explode through the concentric phase of motion. Repeat.

A kettlebell snatch (or KB swing, Ultimate Sandbag Clean or Ultimate Sandbag Snatch) has a pretty easy and comfortable pattern in terms of breathing. You would inhale on the downswing and let out that sharp “hiss” exhale on the upswing. We can simplify this as a normal 2 step breathing pattern with 1 inhale and 1 exhale per rep.

I’ve found the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test to have a 7 STEP BREATHING PATTERN

  • Inhale before the clean. *This inhale is only needed at the first rep of a set. Once you’re repping you’ll go from stage 6 to 2. 
  • Exhale at the clean.
  • Inhale in the USB Front Load position.
  • Exhale at the Push Press. 
  • Inhale as you pull the USB back into the Front Load position. *This is also the ideal spot to take a rest break if needed. While you’ll be forced to maintain the USN in the front hold the USB, this will allow you 
  • Hold your breath as you un-clean the USB to the floor.
  • Start back at Stage 2. *See note in stage 1!
I have found the above steps to be a winning breathing strategy. Is it the only plan of attack? Hell no! It’s just the one I KNOW that WORKS.

That’s been our very special episode of the “Nailing the DVRT Clean and Press Test” series. And now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe!

The series finale is up next! Stay tuned.
-Fury out


Here we go! Round 4 of my tips on how to nail the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test! Today, we cover dialing in your ideal grip, and arm position. 

Let’s get to it. We use the neutral grip “clean handles” for Cleans, Clean to Fists and High pulls. Here are 3 common gripping errors we see when people take their shot at the test.

Folks don’t grab the sweet spot of the handles.
People crush grip the handles.
The arms are bent at the elbows.
The shoulders aren’t packed. 
The arms come to close together during the clean. 

I’ll go into some detail on each of these and offer up some “suggestions” (aka: stuff you SHOULD do) to make things better. 

Where to grab: When getting ready to pick up a Ultimate Sandbag, you want to be sure you grip the center of the handle and pull upwards. Way too often, you’ll see the handles gripped toward one side and heavily angled. The rubber of the grip will actually be digging into the mesh of the handle strap. This position is no bueno. Pull from the center of the handle. 

Loosen up: If you’ve done kettlebell cleans before, you’ll know that you never want to crush grip the handles during the clean. You need a “slightly” looser grip to allow the kettlebell to correctly do it’s thing. It’s similar to the USB Clean to Fist. If you grip too tight, you’ll be forced to aggressively muscle the USB onto your fists. You need to ease the grip tension off just enough so you can scoop your fists underneath at the float and allow the USB to land beautifully on your fists!

Start straight: As you set your starting position, be sure that your arms are straight and not pre-bent. Bend arms lead to yanking the USB with your arms on the clean. We don’t want that. We want to use our legs and butt to make the Ultimate Sandbag fly. The arm cue I’m about to give goes right into packing the shoulders. 

Shoulder pack: After you grip the USB in that perfect spot, fully extend your arms and rotate the pits of your elbows outward. They should pretty much face the front of the USB. You’ll feel your lats engage as you do so and your shoulders should get sucked into the socket. Think of your shoulders going down and back at the same time. Once you feel that happening, try pulling the handles apart to feel some extra shoulder packing love! Pulling the handles apart leads to the final big tip of the day. 

You need space: This is subtle but a biggie! We often see a pretty decent and explosively clean to fist fall apart because the hands get to close together at the catch. Our shoulders are in a far less than optimum position to press from here. Pressing from this type of position is far more fatiguing too. The sand in the USB will also start to shift more to the sides. You DO NOT want this. Your test USB will start to feel way heavier! Keep pulling the handles apart through the Clean to Fist to land in the best position for that push press.

Alrighty then. That’s third installment in my “Nailing the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test” series! PLEASE let me know if these things are helping (or not)!

Give it a go. 

Thanks for the read. 



Wow. This series of articles has been quite the journey. Well friends, consider this the series finale. We’re going to wrap it all up with this one. 
 Let’s recap the other four gems in the NAILING THE DVRT CLEAN AND PRESS TEST series. 
  1. You’ve got top find your FLOAT. Make your Ultimate Sandbag fly onto your fists.
  2. Use a PUSH PRESS to get the Ultimate Sandbag overhead. 
  3. Get your GRIP, ARMS and SHOULDERS set correctly. 
Tips alone are not enough (unless they are). You’ll need a proper training program to soundly get the job done. I had considered writing a new program for this piece, but I changed my mind after a recent Facebook post by my buddy and brand new DVRT Coach Joshua Duden: 
“I followed your plan to perfection Steve Coach-Fury Holiner. Thanks again for the awesome training!”
My previous program has been proven to work by Joshua and many others.
Here it is again:
Day 1 – Heavy Day: Use the actual test weight or 5-10 pounds heavier. Be fresh for this. Try 5 reps every minute for 8 minutes. Cut back if that it is too tough. If possible, I would cut sets back before reps.
Day 2 – Light (Speed) Day: Use a USB 10-20 pounds lighter than your test weight and shoot for 8 reps on the minute for 5 minutes. This will help you identify the tempo and cadence that will be needed for the actual test. I suggest doing this at the end of your normal training session. I find there is an added bonus of going through the test on the light day when you’re already pre-fatigued. Safely. Don’t be stupid if you’re already spent.
All that really needs to change weekly is the Heavy day. You can stick with a USB 10-20 pounds lighter through every light day. Two Ultimate Sandbags are all you need for this program.
Week 1: 5 reps a minute for 8 minutes.
Week 2: 6 reps a minute for 7 minutes.
Week 3: 7 reps a minute for 6 minutes.
Week 4: 8 reps a minute for 5 minutes and victory!
If you are unable to finish the reps/sets one week, simply stick with that week’s programming until you can complete it. There are 4 weeks of padding in there for just that reason. Now some of the weight classes require more reps. Reps divided by the time will get you the reps needed pre minute on the speed day. This rep number is what you’ll need to work up to by week 4-8 on your heavy day.
Please TRUST IN FURY that these tips and this program will LEAD YOU TO VICTORY! It’s there for you. You just have to work for it. The test is hard… real f’n hard, but IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE with solid technique and training. 
I want you in our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training family. I want you to succeed. 
From the bottom of my heart, I hope this series of articles allows you to NAIL THE DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test
Now stop reading and start training. Please let us know how you’re doing.
Thank you for your time!

Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury’s a DVRT Master Chief Instructor, Senior RKC, and an Original Strength. He is available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. He also has availability for private training at Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. Check out www.coachfury.comfacebook.com/coachfury IG @iamcoachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.