Where Do I Start With DVRT pt 2.

Building The Lunge

 

Lunging is one of the 7 primal movement patterns and even though lunges don’t get the same attention like squats or deadlifts lunges are pretty unique because of the instability of these exercises and more importantly because they have directions. When we understand how these different directions play a role in one’s movement programming gets more effective. Using the DVRT System and all the options that the Ultimate Sandbag can provide a whole new world of training opens up.

One of the main reasons that lunges get so difficult for most people is lateral stability. Being in that split stance position the body often gets ‘wobbly’. Depending on how we place the load upon the body it could make the exercise harder or easier. Within the DVRT System we prioritize these variables and program them accordingly. Without running ahead too much the Half Kneeling position is such an underrated body position to be in, however it is the best way to teach people to integrate their lower body and upper body and getting more familiar resisting the frontal plane (lateral motion) and build the lunge progressively.

 

 

Half Kneeling Press Outs

 

This fundamental exercise is where most people would start how to integrate their body and learn how to resist force. If you’re looking at the position you can clearly see that the Half Kneeling position looks like a lunge except the knee rests on the floor. The devil is in the details and how we use the hands and feet here is paramount. Especially the back foot is what often gets missed by many and even though many exercises are great in that Half Kneeling position, pushing into the floor with the back toes creates so much more stability in the core. Imaging lunging without using the back toes? It would be impossible and dangerous too… so why not take advantage of that and be much more stable? At the end of the day training is about being more efficient.

What the hands are doing is equally important as they’re pulling and gripping the Ultimate Sandbag apart engaging the core and lats and connecting them to the hips. That’s why even the tool itself is key here. The classic Pallof Press is a great exercise with the cable machine however you can only really use one hand effectively. The other hand would be on top of the working hand. This is true for using a resistance band or cable machine. Whereas the Ultimate Sandbag has that unique ability to enhance the grip using both hands at the same time. This grip will translate into better core and lat activation on both sides.

Attaching a resistance band to the Ultimate Sandbag is definitely an option not for necessarily just going harder on this exercise but more so to learn’ teach how to use the feet, hands more efficiently and to ‘feel’ more stable. Resisting force gets much more meaning when the band is trying to pull you over. My recommendation is NOT to go too crazy with the resistance. Usually less is more, we don’t want to get fatigued on this rather learn how to create tension at the right places.

 

 

Half Kneeling Arc Press w Band

 

Following the previous exercise the logical progression is to move the weight to the shoulder and this will increase the lever, however still need to be aware of the feet and hands. We don’t really want too much resistance but at the top of the movement it needs to be challenging and still doable so the lifter feels his/her obliques kicking in along with other muscles such as the gluteals, deep core stabilizers, lats and quads in the kneeling leg. This exercise clearly highlights the concept of lateral stability as the Ultimate Sandbag goes from the shoulder to over the head and the lifter needs to resist against the band.

Worth noting the way we position the legs can also make a difference. The closer leg (from the band) forward makes it easier to resist as opposed to the keeping the further leg forward.

Half Kneeling Arc Press (Side to Side)

 

Even though there is no band to work against I would consider this exercise a progression compare to the previous one. The Ultimate Sandbag now goes from one side of the body to the other side. This means a Frontal Plane movement and many people find this challenging only just realizing how much force they need to fight against. In addition there is a Push and a Pull on the opposing side wit both hands are gripping. With the right intention (slow pace: 3 sec up/3sec down) fatigue quickly accumulates during the Half Kneeling Arc Press. What happens in the lower body is far more important than how quickly one can go through this drill. Often times people rush when they feel uncomfortable. However this great drill set the foundation for both lunging and overhead pressing.

 

Drop Lunge Arc Press with Band

 

Strength training should be about making incremental changes in one’s training program and even though this series is about foundations, it’s good to highlight how and where we can progress our movement and training program.

As the Half Kneeling positions are predominantly lunge patterns, the next progression would be a drop lunge where the lifter needs to lunge backwards and perform a half Arc Press with the Ultimate Sandbag. The resistance band again is optional however it does give such a feedback on what’s going on in the lower body and core which is difficult to replicate with anything else. This elastic resistance could be very useful to correct the pattern of the step and it is also great feedback mechanism. Keeping the closer leg forward makes this exercise easier than the legs the other way around.

Hover Split Squat Arc Press

 

I think it’s safe to say that this final progression truly highlights what lateral stability means when it comes to lunging. Looking at how the load moves from one side to the other side while the lifter needs to stay stable in the split stance. When we can make such a fine tuned progressions the body is going to adapt and work smarter and more effectively.

Going through these progressions takes time and lots of practice. Depending on individual abilities use these for warm ups, corrective exercise and most importantly building foundational movement.

 

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Where Do I Start With DVRT pt 1.

Where Do I Start?

 

I get asked many times from different people online and in person about where do I start with DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training). I must admit there’s a lot of information that DVRT instructors put out and the “variables” make this training more “interesting” and they can also hold people back to get started.⁣⁣

 

So I decided to go through some of these foundational concepts to give clarity what to prioritise in training and also to avoid the shiny object syndrome. I have definitely been there, there’s no shame in this. As a coach I feel it’s my responsibility to prescribe the most effective exercises to clients. This could of course vary from individual circumstances but the upcoming posts are about giving an insight into the “DVRT World” and how we as trainers think about the continuity of movement rather than certain exercises. ⁣⁣

Warm Up

 

Part 1 is about warming up! I know it’s the least sexy thing to do but it’s essential. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣

Without going into way too deep in the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’, these exercises are the safest and probably the easiest starting point for many when it comes to our extensive DVRT exercise library.

These exercises have the highest return on investment, meaning that they work instantly and with the right intention they get any person moving and feeling better. Learn and practice these exercises until they become the part of your warm up. Go through them over and over again and really pay attention to the details. I personally do these exercises every single day even after 10 years of practice. ⁣⁣

Deadbugs

 

The classic deadbug is a great core exercise that teaches how to ‘brace’ the core and more importantly works on the opposite limbs as we’re meant to move as humans.

The body weight version of this exercise however makes it difficult for individuals to learn the concept of bracing. That’s why adding different tools like the Ultimate Sandbag and mini bands are very helpful for learning how to grip and engage the right muscles (lats & core) and create pelvic stability which makes the deadbug more efficient. ⁣⁣

Using the mini bands create such a feedback that replicates what’s going on during the most fundamental human movement: locomotion! ⁣⁣It’s kind of like a mini push and pull motion going on during the exercise where the pelvis needs to be stable and the extremities move freely just as they are during walking.

Bird Dog Drags

 

Bird Dogs are kind of like the Deadbugs except the lifter now is ‘upside-down’ in all fours, however the action is very similar to the previous exercise. The aim here is to connect the opposite lats and gluteals through the thoracolumbar fascia which is one of the most important chains of the body. The drag itself makes the exercise an anti-rotational drill as the lifter needs to resist any unwanted movement that the Ultimate Sandbag creates.

It’s easier said than done. I recommend starting with a Core Ultimate Sandbag and not going too heavy either. The trick is to actively press the handle down to the floor and that helps to engage the lats and also keep the torso stable. It’s about this core stability exactly what we’re looking for here and this happens with deliberate and specific movements from both hands and feet. Especially paying attention to the non-moving hand and foot.This action comes back in other plank drag drills.

Side Plank ISO Hold

 

This modified Side Plank is also a great starting point for most people. Lateral strength is often an undertrained area and many struggle with side planks and tend to avoid them. Where most programs go wrong is that they would start the side plank with the legs extended. That’s in and of itself put more load to the core and gluteals and if an untrained individual start doing it they will of course get discouraged. Keeping the legs bent gives much more support for the whole trunk and people are able to ‘find’ their gluteals and use them correctly. This way the spine is less likely compromised plus adding the Ultimate Sandbag also bring those cross-connections alive and helps to connect the opposite lats to the opposite gluteals.

The recommended hold is about 2-3 seconds on the top, keeping the pulling arm/elbow close to the body.

Glute Bridge ISO Hold

 

As we know that gluteals don’t work alone, rather in synergy with other muscles and they are part of several chains.

One of these chains is the Posterior Oblique Sling which connects the opposite gluteals to the opposite lats through the thoracolumbar fascia on both sides. The Posterior Oblique Sling is designed to cross at the level of the lumbosacral junction and provides what is known as force closure to the sacroiliac (SI) joint. Force closure provides stability to the SI region by allowing it to distribute load between the lower extremities, spine, and upper extremities. This strategy is key in how the gluteals contribute to helping the low back.

Gluteals also responsible for making most real world actions (walking, running, changing directions in sport activities) seamless.

When it comes to training the gluteals on a foundational level (well, any levels really!) it’s best to integrate the body and use these muscle connections to improve how the gluteals function. Later on we can introduce single leg progressions to the hip bridge which is also more natural pattern for the posterior chain.

During this foundational movement the key thing is to create tension pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart and use the feet purposefully to push into the ground. Keep that tension and pause at the top of the movement for 3 seconds with the arms in line with the torso.

Half Kneeling Press Out

 

This fundamental and easy looking exercise has many hidden gems that can be easily missed. Firstly, how we use our hands and feet is crucial to engage stabilizers and activate the core from the ground up. The pulling or ripping action of the Ultimate Sandbag creates a dynamic plank which provides core stability from the top down.

It’s important to note that the Half Kneeling position teaches to integrate the body and not only improve hip flexibility but strengthen some of the muscles that may seem ‘tight’ for the first look. We want to do this together with some of the deep core stabilizers for the optimal effect which will lead to long term benefits in both low back health and hip flexibility.

The Half Kneeling position also the first step to the Lunge pattern and there are several progressions in our DVRT repertoire.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Real World Strength and Injury Resilience

What does ‘Real World Strength’ stands for? I often like to use this term but I feel like it needs some rephrasing so everyone can understand the thought process behind it.

Similarly, functional training has the same bad rep and often referred to training for life. Which is very loose and doesn’t really say anything about principles, methods and how that training is going to help and even why we use some tools for certain exercises. If we try to replicate what we do daily, then might as well sit down and keep using machines in the name of fitness.

Functional training however, improves how the body functions. This is very different than what we do in every day life. The latter represents more of the modern culture we live in and our inability to move the way we humans are designed to move.

We are meant to move all three planes of motion with fluidity. If we look at how we walk, run and jump or even the small daily things we do in life are far more complex and require lot more movement than what most people do in the gym.

Core Training

 

Most fitness professionals and the average people know that core training is important. However, many think core training means ‘ab’ exercises and ‘feeling the burn’. Real core training is about integrating the trunk, pelvis and working on the kinetic chains of the body. The 35 core muscles work synergistically together to make things fluid and reactive and they also have a very important task: prevent unwanted movement.

Resisting movement is actually far more important than producing it. Most injuries occur because of the inability to do that. That’s why holding endless planks are pointless, as planking is really about learning how to brace and when to brace. Timing is really important to create that tightness. It’s called reactive strength or we can say real world strength. Have a look at the below picture and see that synergistic effect of core muscles that goes way beyond the transverse abdominis.

Deceleration Strength

 

‘Okay, you just said you talk about real world strength… and now you bring up something else…’

‘Bear with me for a second…’

Deceleration simply means the lowering phase of certain lifts and I refer specifically the ability to ‘catch’ the weight. In other words absorb force. It’s important as many people have issues with injuries because of the inability to absorb the force that is coming down.

Deceleration plays a big part in drills like kettlebell swings. In fact, the success of a kettlebell swing is predicated upon our ability to correctly absorb force. That is especially true when we add some instability in our sprinter stance and have to react to forces laterally and in rotation that are trying to alter our ability to be strong!

This brings me back to that reactive core strength (real world strength) to keep bracing at the right time and maintain ground engagement with the feet and keep tension to make this alternating swing fluid.

3 Dimensional Strength

 

There is a real value of training deceleration and not just focusing on how much weight we’re able to lift. This is key for building up injury resilience, however there’s a couple of principles you might want to keep in mind before jumping straight into it any of these cool looking exercises.

-Learn the movement pattern first (sagittal plane – most stable position)

-Keep the load close to the body (use it as feedback – Front Loaded Good Mornings are great example

-Resist unwanted movement (Sprinter Stance Hip Hinges)

-Add speed to the pattern (like High Pull)

-Then introduce different planes of motion (frontal and transverse after) following the same first 4 steps as above

Continuing building strength and power in 3 planes of motion the high pull gives us both power, acceleration and deceleration. Using a slider helps to learn how to load one side of the body whilst hinging through the hips. As I outlined the principles to progress, start with the load close to the body and resisting unwanted movement before producing movement moving laterally. The best example to this a Sliding Lateral Deadlift, which is safe and easy to pattern as it’s more controlled. Following our DVRT System, then move the weight up to the crooks of the arms to do a Good Morning which is a lot more force on the trunk however the perfect drill to learn to brace.

Have a look at how to build that lateral hip hinge in the video below:

Progress Step By Step

 

Once foundations are established then we can start adding faster, more powerful drills like the High Pull. The load stays close to the body in the High Pull as it’s going vertically, however it still requires movement accuracy to ‘catch’ the load with the hips and keeping a good plank throughout. The power comes from the supporting leg initiating ‘Pushing The Floor Away’ as opposed to using the arms too much.

Same thing happens with the Rotational High Pull where this catch happens on both sides of the body, doing a pivot and also extending the hips with the High Pull.

Following a system of progressions and regressions take the guesswork out of the equation and our training becomes more purposeful when the whole body work together as one to prevent unwanted movement and create wanted movement with intensity.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

DVRT Big 6 pt2: Lateral Bag Drag

There’s a common theme that keeps coming back when it comes to functional training. Many of us (including myself) have talked about this simple concept before and it is the importance of using the hands and feet. Since force enters the body from the ground up, our hands and feet play a really important role to stabilize the body. They’re like the first connection to our extensive core musculature.

Planks With Intention

 

What would be better example of core training then planking. Planks are only really valuable if we can progress them to more dynamic environments. That’s why planks keep coming back in our DVRT system. Whether it’s any of our hip hinges, all the front loaded positions, press outs or overhead presses, planking is done with purpose and intent to integrate the body and to achieve better results.

3 Simple Steps To Succeed At Better Planks

 

 

There is probably no better example of how we start manipulating planks than our lateral drags. While dragging lots of different “stuff” has become popular, people miss on the nuances that make the DVRT lateral drags so different. It isn’t JUST about moving the weight back and forth, but doing so while connecting the body’s chains to teach core stability in smarter ways. The friction we create, the grip we take, the position of the weight, there are so many “little things” of our DVRT planks that are very BIG deals.

 

I know that the Lateral Bag Drag can be broken down many different ways, however I wanted to approach this a very simple way when people can learn the principle and execution with intent. I will outline a few options at the end of this blog how to regress and what are the options in case progressing the Lateral Bag Drag further.

ISO Pulls

 

Most people are surprised that we start with load and just learning to create tension. Why? Because making those connections in very deliberate ways allows us to teach our body HOW to resist the forces that make these planks so powerful. As you see, how you set-up and grab the Ultimate Sandbag is key, but as Dr. Brandon Marcello says stability is about “allowing wanted movement and resisting unwanted movement.”

 

Taking another step closer to the Lateral Bag Drag, now we are actually going to touch the Ultimate Sandbag. Yay:D Exciting times! This kind of reminds me of those couple of months when I did water polo in Hungary as a kid. Except that we didn’t even see the balls. Training was about swimming for hours. I was not a fan of that.

Coming back to our Bag Drag, the previous steps are crucial to be truly successful in this really powerful exercise. We’re now going to introduce the concept of time under tension (just as last week’s Half Kneeling Arc Press) pulling/pushing the handle down for 3 seconds.

The reason the Iso Pull could be easier than those leg lifts is because we can use one of the handles of the USB to create even more stability than before. The placement of the sandbag is key as the pulling arm ( I should say pushing down) should be straight and the lats are engaged.

Stability is created with the hands and feet as we have gone through all the steps before and at this point the Ultimate Sandbag could start moving with good enough tension. Aim to complete 5 repetitions for 3 seconds isometric contraction on each side without any rotation in the hips. Planks are meant to be stable.

Lateral Bag Drag

 

Hopefully by this time we’re now understand what is it that needs to be done with the hands and the feet in order to prevent any movement in the torso. The measure of success is doing 3 seconds drags with stable core and no movement with the hips, keeping the shoulders over the hands. At this point the weight of the sandbag is secondary. Start with a lighter weight (Core or Power Ultimate Sandbag – see the weight recommendations below) and focus on slowly executing the drag. The setup is crucial, as the USB should stay below the waistline, keeping the lats active. I personally like to place the sandbag right to my knees as I’m on all fours and just extending the legs to a high plank. Needles to say that the main action is a DRAG and NOT a lift so the bag doesn’t come off the floor.

Note that, the dimension of the USB and the friction between the bag and the floor makes this a unique experience. Also worth mentioning that the best surface for the bag drag is flat, non sticky, ideally wooden floor, carpet or astro turf and definitely NOT asphalt. There is some difference within the suitable surfaces too.

Regress To Progress

 

Not everyone will be ready for all of the above and that is okay. As coaches, we more often need to regress than progress. However, regression should be focused upon the improvement. That’s why in the DVRT System everything builds on each other and as long as we understand the principles we know when to take a step back or step forward.

 

Without going into extensive detail, the natural step back from all of the above is our Bird Dog progressions. Worth mentioning that just because we’re good to do the Lateral Bag Drag without any issues, that doesn’t mean we should stop doing the regressions (like Bird Dogs). They should have their place in our training program, for example warm ups, recovery days and so on. I personally use all the regressions daily, as part of my warm up routine.

High Plank Shoulder Taps

 

Most people assume because there is no load that the shoulder taps are a less advanced plank than our lateral drags. In actuality, because we have to more reflexive and rely less on the tension from our grip and drag, the shoulder taps are more advanced. It’s also the perfect opportunity to teach clients how to use their hands and feet to create stability. As I said at the beginning the hands and feet are a recurring theme in DVRT. It’s no different here. That’s why I said in the video below that what you see me doing with the USB (during the Bag Drag) is not that important what you cannot see. I am referring to the action of the hands and feet of course.

 

Spreading the fingers out and actively grabbing the floor with the hands is more important than tapping the shoulder with the other hand. A lot of the shoulder problems can be fixed with just this simple tip to grab the floor, corkscrew the shoulders and pack the lats. Very similar to the action of the feet, which is digging into the floor, lock the knees and even turning the heels out slightly. If you can take away one thing from this blog post, let this be the one: Push down to create stability.

Beyond Lateral Drags

 

Once we have established all the foundations of the Lateral Bag Drag then we can work towards a more personalized goal and follow the ‘Big 6’ standards. As our training philosophy says, to make an exercise more progressive we should change the loading position first (introducing an X Man Drag – cross patterning or doing Arc Press Drag), then manipulating the body position after (Quadrupled Drag, Bear Crawl Drags to different directions) is a natural way to increase the intensity of the exercise.

 

List could go on forever with adding different movements like push ups, sit throughs and so forth. The main takeaway for me personally is to bring the concepts of DVRT closer to more people with our ‘Big 6’ and showcase how extensive our training system is.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

DVRT Big 6 pt1: Half Kneeling Arc Press

I’m still over the moon by everything I learned and experienced at our DVRT Master Trainer Summit in Las Vegas. Personally I feel that there is something special in connecting with other like minded people who speak the same ‘fitness language’, share similar values and have similar backgrounds. These occasions are not just learning and exercising but also switching off, going for a hike or two, eating good food and getting to know each other more. Every time I attend these events or have chance to assist Josh, I learn a lot. This time was no different too.  

The first day we covered what does it mean to be a DVRT Master Trainer. What responsibilities we have, how to communicate our training principles, share our core values, building our own tribe and deliver outstanding experience in live workshops and certifications. Then the second day rolled around when every one of us got really excited. At the end of the day, we’re coaches and coaching is what we enjoy the most. The hands on experience is something invaluable. It’s so easy getting caught up with our own bubbles, whereas in an environment like this means stepping out of the comfort zone and soaking the knowledge in like a `Big Old Sponge` 😉 So that felt pretty amazing, to be honest!

DVRT Big 6

 

 

In the training day we covered the ‘Big 6’ of DVRT. If you don’t know these are the 6 exercises that represents the DVRT System: Max Lunge, Shoveling, Shouldering, Shoulder Loaded Sprinter Squat, Lateral Bag Drag and Half Kneeling Arc Press. Today I’d like to talk about what it means to be strong in different planes of motion. We all know that planes of motion is something important, yet we rarely program it in our fitness training. If I honestly look around on Instagram (like a legitimate source 😉 most of the times I see exercises and not principles, not systematic thinking or systems how to find a solution to a problem.  

 

 

One of the main DVRT principles is that before we move into a different plane of motion we got to be able to resist that first. What does this actually mean? In simple terms, it means resisting any unwanted movement. Taking out of any randomness in programming planes of motion, in the DVRT System we move laterally (frontal plane) before doing any rotational movements. Of course assuming that we or our clients showed precision doing bilateral movements (sagittal plane) well. However, as I said we need to be able to resist that plane of motion first. It means that the first thing we do after doing any bilateral movements is to learn how to resist the frontal plane.  

Half Kneeling Means Lunges and So Much More

 

 

Bringing this back to full circle, when in Vegas we were talking about the ‘Big 6’, a lot of people found the Half Kneeling Arc Press difficult with the bigger bags like Burly, as all of us had to clear our head when pulling/pushing and, basically ‘battling’ with the Ultimate Sandbag. Which I have personally loved doing in the past.   

So, we were talking about not including the Half Kneeling Arc Press in the ‘Big 6’ and I was like… ‘Wait! What? No, that cannot happen!!!’  

 

For me, the Half Kneeling position represents DVRT BIG TIME. I mean, show me better way to introduce the concept of resisting frontal plane movements, building lunges without actually lunging, integrating the whole body, improve core strength and pelvic stability and it’s also accessible for a lot of people.  

 

I will go as far as that I don’t even understand how can the squat be the king of lower body exercises?  I would pick Lunges over Squats on any give day…. Whether it is rehabilitation, building foundations, sports performance, beginner programming, you name it, Lunges are always on the top of my list, as well as everything that Half Kneeling. As it is really just like lunging. I teach Half Kneeling every day. When I assess new clients is one of the first thing I do with them. So how can the Half Kneeling Arc Press is not included in our ‘Big 6’? Of course, it is included, maybe just not like we initially thought at the first place, doing it with the Burly.  

 

The true power in this exercise lies in the small details and to be perfectly honest most people find it super humbling experience even doing it with a Power Ultimate Sandbag which comes in 35 max 40 pounds.  

So instead of going big and heavy we will focus on time under tension which makes it super interesting and evil at the same time to add more intensity to the exercise. Time under tension actually comes back in another 2 exercises from the ‘Big 6’… I let you find out what are those later. 

Where do I start with Half Kneeling? 

 

 

Half Kneeling Press Outs are probably the best way to start integrating the whole body and learn how to use the feet and the hands. The press out is like an extended plank, so the arms go out in level with the belly button to engage the lats. The arms should be locked at the end. Keep in mind that even a lighter USB is going to feel heavier, however our aim is to engage the lats and not to stress the shoulders.  

 

Over the years DVRT has been evolved so much that we’re now using additional tools to improve coaching and give our clients feedback on what is it that they need to do and feel. Just as DVRT Master Cory Cripe shows here with a mini band wrapped around his back foot and front ankle to make sure he pushes them down to the floor.  This can be done by a training partner or coach to emphasize the use of the feet with a longer resistance band. All of these are coaching tools that can be utilized anywhere and any time to activate the core from the ground up.  

 

One of our signature sayings is that ‘pull the handles apart’ to engage the lats. It’s no different with the Press Outs or Arc Presses except the hands are grabbing and actively ‘breaking’ the Ultimate Sandbag itself and not the handles. Starting point is really, the feet and hands together. Once we understand and experience the power of these concepts, that’s when the magic happens. We’re able to create more stability in the body just by engaging the feet and hands properly. This core stability then improves mobility in the hips and shoulders too.

Half Kneeling Arc Press  

 

The Half Kneeling Arc Press is truly one of the biggest bang for your buck exercises within the system. It’s like an entry level to lunging, yet it offers so much more than just lunges. It’s a vertical push and pull at the same time, as opposed to just a press. The USB needs to be pressed over the head with control and pulled down the same way on the opposite side. Gripping hands and active fingers make sure that the lats and core are all engaged. The real action is however pushing down to the floor in order to press over the head. There’s resisting lateral forces going here too as the bag goes from one side of the body to the other side. Kind of like a moving, dynamic side plank. Tie it all together, as everything we do in DVRT, the Half Kneeling Arc Press helps to connect the body through the kinetic chains improving stability, mobility and build strength together. You cannot ask for more in my opinion. 

Time under tension 

 

Changing the tempo of an exercise changing the intensity of it. Simply the light weight feels a lot heavier over time. 

One of the tings we experimented in our Master Trainer Summit in Vegas was utilizing this time under tension during the Half Kneeling Arc Press. People often miss the full lock out of the arms over the head, which is really another plank similar to the Press Out just vertical. Taking a 2 seconds pause at the top with the arms fully locked helps to engage the glutes, core and lats together. If we’re both pressing and pulling for 3-3 seconds and taking a pause in between for 2 seconds then we can see how the intensity of the exercise is going up. 

 

Setting up standards for our DVRT community the concept of time under tension came back to execute this powerful exercise with clear intention and purpose as opposed to max out on the load. Using the Burly is more like a logistical issue for a lot of people. Personally, I’m able to do it with the Burly however my head needs to be slightly tilted to create space for the USB. I believe the standard is going to be 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down on the Half Kneeling Arc Press performing 5 repetitions on each side.  

Hovering Arc Press as a new advanced standard for Big 6 

 

Brainstorming on making the standard appropriate for every fitness levels, I believe Travis Johnson came up with the idea that we can simply just make the Half Kneeling Arc Press to a Hovering Arc Press for advanced people. I really resonated with this as it highlights what DVRT is about. Adding sophisticated layers of progressions to an already great exercise means progressive overload. This concept allows us to kill two birds with the same stone. Removing the obstacle of ‘battling’ with the Burly and making smart and evil (you decide which one you prefer) changes to challenge the body.  

Lunges and Beyond 

 

One of the best invention that we had within the DVRT System is the core strap and how that allows us to make coaching more effective. Obviously everything that half kneeling is like a lunge regression. With regards to the HK Arc Press the core strap brings out the frontal plane stability element of the exercise and help the lifter to use their feet and hands even more than before. Think about Pallof Presses half kneeling or one sided Arc Presses (they work as a dynamic side plank) and Chops are great to connect the hips to the shoulders via the core and integrate the whole body.  

 

Of course we don’t want to stop being in Half Kneeling all the time and our goal is to move our strength training to more dynamic environments like lunges for example. Depending on where the resistance coming from, the core strap can be attached to the front of the USB or to the side – emphasizing resisting the frontal plane again. Have a look below how Jessica uses the core strap to a Drop Lunge and able to target both side of the body making the lunge easier or harder.  

 

From here we’re only a few steps away from working on our Max Lunge which is a true multi plane movement.  

All of these nuances could make the real difference in training our clients and offer more sophisticated strength training and solutions for them.  

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Not All Squats Are Equal

When it comes to lower body exercises most people would agree that squats are essential components of training. Some people love it and can’t get enough of it whereas others might hate squats and tend to avoid them whenever is possible. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

 

Personally I’ve never had any issues with squatting. I’ve always had good mobility in the hips and ankles and structurally I can go quite deep in the squat. However DVRT completely changed how I look at this movement  and how to approach it with my clients.

 

At some point I made a conscious decision NOT to do Barbell Back Squats in my personal routine anymore because of the load on my spine was too much. As soon as I moved onto Front Loaded and other type of DVRT Squats not only my back pain disappeared but my training regime got way more balanced and started to enjoy the challenge of different body positions and angles that I was able to hit and constantly getting stronger as the result.

 

Now I no longer see squats as leg exercises only but total body movement.   

Whole Body Integration

 

 

Sure everyone squats, a lot of people do front squats too so what makes this type of training unique? The biggest difference I see in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is the intention.  

 

Intention to connect the whole body through the natural chains. It’s about integrating the core, lats and glutes. One of the best way to do this is the Press Out Squat. There are two key components that make this type of squat a success. It’s gripping the Ultimate Sandbag with the hands and grabbing the floor with the feet. The answer is so obvious that most people tend to overlook it completely.  

 

Pressing out does NOT mean counter balance. Breaking the Ultimate Sandbag with both hands actively engages the lats and turn on the core which is so vital in squats. In regards to the feet the best way to ensure the feet are engaged is using a mini band. I also find teaching squats and other movement patterns too is like re-training the mind to engage the right muscles. If us coaches are able to do this more effectively than our clients results will get better. 

 

When we think about what makes a squat good squat is the qualities that build it up.

 

These are:

How the feet are engaged with the ground

Ankle, knee and hip mobility

Bracing the core and integrating it with the lats and glutes (whole body tension)

Resisting force and not just producing it

Resisting The Frontal Plane

 

 

The idea of real world strength means that we should only squat as much as our core can handle. However that doesn’t mean we can only challenge the core with a bilateral stance or evenly distributed weight.⠀

DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is unique in a sense that movement patterns are not only systemized and easy to follow but also allow people to succeed and find the best squat for them. However as we’re progressing with our DVRT training the ‘ideal’ squat changes. In fact in order to get better at squatting we might need to work on something different that build up the qualities of the squat.  

One of the common movement compensations happen in the frontal plane. I see this daily with different type of people when we introduce lateral movement in their program.  

Body positions like Half Kneeling, Split Stance or Sprinter Stance help to address these compensations with subtle changes in the client’s position and  as a result they become more efficient using muscles that meant to work together. These concepts are great for emphasizing pelvic stability, resist frontal plane forces and integrating the whole body. 

One Of The ‘Big 6’ That Represents The DVRT System

 

 

The Shoulder Loaded Sprinter Stance Squat is one of the ‘Big 6’ that represents the DVRT Training System.

It’s kind of the higher end of the spectrum in squatting and it highlights the possibilities where we can go with our strength training.

The Sprinter Stance is a heel to toe positions (back heel stays ELEVATED to keep the pelvis neutral) the weight distribution is 60% on the front leg and 40% on the back leg. This allows creating more instability to the movement and makes this squat true multi-planar. The lifter needs to resist rotation and lateral flexion in the trunk.

Another important aspect of the Sprinter Stance however is the ability to train individual limbs. As most people are not symmetrical this creates an opportunity to work on more single leg strength bridging the gap between bilateral and single leg movements. When muscles like the obliques, lats and glutes work more efficiently in the Sprinter Stance preventing lateral motion it results getting stronger general, especially if we decide to go back and do bilateral movements.

Why Doing A Shoulder Load?

 

When the Front Loaded position represents the front plank, the shoulder load of the Ultimate Sandbag stands for the side plank in a more dynamic way. Keeping the Ultimate Sandbag on the shoulder doesn’t just mean resting on the body. To prevent lateral motion it requires an active pull to keep the lats packed and start a chain reaction of integrating the core and glutes together. The key here is to resist any side to side movements. A mirror could be useful to identify these compensations. 

 

Using our Ultimate Sandbags or Kettlebells allows to do more asymmetrical loading and cross patterning squats. This is impossible to replicate with barbells.

How Do I Train For The Shoulder Loaded Sprinter Squat?

 

As mentioned earlier working on frontal plane stability is key for finding those leaks in our movements. That’s no better way to start then on the ground. Side Planks are a great place to start especially the way the DVRT System teaches the side planks: starting with the legs bent 90 degrees and really emphasizing the glutes, core and opposite lats. Side Planks can be part of our warm ups, finishers or even part of the main workout.  

Another thing is to incorporate more Half Kneeling exercises (like Arc Presses, Press Outs) to your routine to integrate the whole body and get used to resisting forces not just producing it. This also leads to doing more lunges general and even split stances or step ups. Building up strength endurance is important too and a fantastic way of doing that is the Up Down.  

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What Is This Training? DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) is a functional training system that allows you to see real world fitness in a new way. The reason I truly believe in DVRT @ultimatesandbag is because the coaching knowledge I gained through this system. Yes we do use our Ultimate Sandbags as the main tool, however they’re not the only tools in DVRT. There are others being used such as kettlebells, suspension trainers, resistance bands and so on. DVRT is about teaching people better concepts of #functionaltraining to integrate the body through movement as it is designed to function. This is for personal trainers who are looking to deliver something unique that is proven to work, science based approach to add new stimulus for their clients training, engaging new muscles and burning more calories than ever before! -Discover how to avoid the common mistakes of functional training and how to develop hundreds of exercises that train real world strength and fitness through simple to use concepts. -Identify movement compensations that are holding you and your clients back from reaching their training goals and how to address them with dynamic, fun, and effective exercises. -Understand how to simplify your coaching while providing better results to your clients. The DVRT system makes it easier to develop solutions for your clients and helps you stop guessing, but knowing the RIGHT exercises and programs for your clients needs. -Stop being confused by overly complicated fitness systems. Find out how DVRT makes the science of movement and functional fitness more accessible to you and the training of your clients so that you can provide them an outstanding experience and extraordinary results. To find out how you can improve on strength, mobility and movement come and try our next UK Workshop on Sunday 5th May in Chester. Link in Bio! #ukfitfam #ukfit #functionaltraining #functionalfitness #coretraining #glutetraining #unilateral #fitnesseducation #fitnesscoaching #manchesterfitness #manchesterfitfam #liverpoolfitness #mobilitytraining #coreexercises #ukfitness #trainsmart #trainsmarter #power #hippower #explosivetraining #coreworkout

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Being progressive in training is crucial for keep getting better and varying the holding positions could be the answer to find those weaknesses that we all have. Let’s say you include squats three times a week among other movements. You can do the following: 

 

Week 1) 

  1. Bear Hug Squat
  2. Front Loaded Squat
  3. Front Loaded Lateral Squat

Week 2) 

  1. Fist Loaded Squat
  2. Front Loaded Sprinter Squat
  3. Single Arm Kettlebell Lateral Squat

Week 3) 

  1. 1 & 1/4 Front Loaded Squat
  2. Fist Loaded Sprinter Squat
  3. Shoulder Loaded Sprinter Squat 

This is just giving ideas what can be done with different holding and body positions when it comes to squatting however please DO NOT take this as the ultimate guideline to master the Shoulder Loaded Sprinter Squats. Different people have different abilities and most often than not it takes months and years practice to learn a complex movement like this. If you’re not sure where to start follow one of our movement strength programs for further guidelines.  

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

What Muscles Are You Working There?

The idea of real world strength means being mobile, fluid, strong, reactive with our core and the same time stable and strong. We get that by training both rotation and anti-rotation. 

 

The DVRT Around The World works on the glutes and core together in a way that connects the chains of the body to create seamless movement. The pivoting  foot work is extremely important here as this is how we create rotation.

 

This looks similar to a Kettlebell Halo except that the size of the Ultimate Sandbag increases the range of motion to a greater degree.

Here are some of the progressions that the Dvrt System covers (from easiest to more advanced)

 

 

Connect The Feet, Glutes, Core and Shoulders Together

 

Tall Kneeling Around The World: best done slow and controlled with staying upright. It really opens up the shoulders and thoracic area. Hamstrings and glutes play major role here to stabilise through the lower body by pushing the toes into the ground.

 

Half Kneeling Around The World: lateral stability is challenged more in half kneeling as well as thoracic mobility when performing this lift/chop type of movement

 

Front Loaded Rotation: I included this to show how to do the pivoting action with the feet and brace the core when rotating through the HIPS!

 

Around The World: Start slowly to control the motion. As @joshhenkindvrt says Move Your Body Around The Bag not the Bag Around The Body! This exercise builds a reactive core meaning the stress changes on the core as we’re moving around.

 

Lateral Step Around The World: Frontal Plane movement with a Hip Hinge as doing the Lift/Chop

 

Cyclone: Stresses the core more by constantly stopping and restarting again (Reactiveness). The foot work needs to be on point too.

Rotational exercises like these open up to more dynamic training where feet, glutes, core all work together as one to be more fluid and strong at the same time.

 

 

Let me know if you would try these? 

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Lateral Walks

Today I’d like to talk about why to look at Lateral walks differently and how these concepts can open to a much bigger world of functional fitness. 

 

The other day I was talking to a lady on Facebook in one of the groups for fitness professionals in the UK. She was concerned about using resistance bands, as she said, looking at some of the ‘pros’ on social media, she was not sure if resistance bands were safe.

 

My answer was like it really depends what we’re trying to accomplish with the bands or exercise. I mentioned Lateral walks and how the bands can give feedback on the glute meds and even the core. Us trainers are also part of the problem as we often tend to give out the hardest exercises just because they look cool whereas regressing the same concept to the level of a beginner is rarely discussed.  

Glutes and The Core Work Together

 

Lateral walks are also very popular nowadays especially amongst women. So I thought I expand on the idea how this great exercise can be even more powerful if we look at how the body is connected through the kinetic chains. 

 

First I used a regular cable machine for the lateral walk (because I wanted to bring DVRT closer to more people) and as we know the glutes work with the core together to produce movement, so the Pallof Press is a great option to connect them. It’s amazing how this simple and safe idea works so well with a very light weight. You can literally feel the whole midsection lit up when doing this anti-rotation movement properly with upright posture and the arms locked. 

However good training concepts are not limited to one equipment. Take a look at how the Ultimate Sandbag can help to get more out of this great exercise integrating the glutes and the core with more dynamic planks. 

 

Gripping the USB with both hands actively helps to find the lats and creates tension in the upper body and core whilst the mini band helps to engage the glutes. Functional training concepts like this helps the body to work more efficiently. In a similar way kettlebells can be used for same pressing movement in the rack position. Jessica Bento Physical Therapist had a great example of this pressing with one kettlebell and keeping the other one in the rack position to resist.  

 

Lifts/Chops can be also added to lateral walks when using a smaller Ultimate Sandbag. These diagonal pattern movements have been used in physiotherapy for decades and they have the ability to create connection through the core with the opposite arm and hip. This type of movements really improve mobility, stability and strength.  

One the reasons these lifts/chops can be so transformative is the grip. Creating tension through gripping the outer shell of the USB turns on the shoulder stabilizers when the arms are locked and the sandbag is being pulled apart. 

Sled Lateral Walk

 

The very same anti-rotational concept comes back in the last video when Josh Henkin uses the ARES Sled doing similar lateral walks and pallof presses. The ARES Sled provides more dynamic resistance than the cable. The friction makes it a whole new experience that cannot be replicated. It’s kind of like doing the Lateral Bag Drag properly except the continuous tension on the straps and the lever arm that engages the whole body. There are three different variations here to every level of fitness. 

The real meaning of functional training is that it improves how the body functions. If we can create solutions that connect the glutes to the core. After all the core muscles are connection between the upper body and lower body.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Principles

I was fortunate that I taught my first DVRT workshop here in England not too long ago and I’d like to reflect on a couple of ‘Aha Moments’ that I had with the attendees going through some of the classics of the DVRT system.

 

Over the years of practicing DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training makes me realize the evolution that the system has gone through. It’s not so much about doing new things or reinventing the wheel, it’s about making coaching more sophisticated. If we can get people to understand what we’re trying to achieve quicker then our coaching has evolved. To be perfectly honest DVRT does an amazing job of overdelivering on concepts and training ideas however if us coaches can teach a movement pattern easier and in a clear, more understandable way then these concepts can be quite transformative in minutes.

 

Introducing the Hip Hinge

 

The perfect example to this is the hip hinge. A lot of individuals have difficulties learning it or they’ve never used their hips purposefully or perhaps done a hip hinge but always afraid of that. My personal experience is when coaching this primal movement for beginners is that I like to use every possible way to get the pattern right. That’s why the reintroduction of the Core Strap was huge because it gives that feedback on the movement that instantly put the lifter in the right position and engage the right muscles. Not to mention that teaching becomes so much easier.

 

Starting off we want to stay rooted through the feet and maintain a good plank. All of this is possible in one second. The Core Strap just needs to be attached to the Ultimate Sandbag with a resistance band and the user needs to create tension in the handles of the sandbag. This alone has an instant affect on posture and how the muscles are turned on. The shoulders stay down and back, the lats and core are engaged and they keep the spine safe. I’d say it’s quite phenomenal how we can turn this often feared exercise to a whole body experience where everything feels just right. Functional training for me is finding these simple things like this to make people move better.

Push Down to Press Up

 

I’m sure you’ve heard that before that in the DVRT system we do everything from the ‘Ground Up`. Whether is it core exercises like Deadbugs, Hip Bridges and Bird Dogs or even Rotation. They all happen with the first contact with the ground.

 

Pressing is no different in this manner and it all has to do being effective with the rest of the body when doing any presses. Think about creating a stable foundation with the lower body and the trunk to support the shoulders (mainly lats) to perform an overhead press. The feet need to grab the ground to engage the glutes and this starts a chain reaction to activate the core and all the stabilizer muscles including the lats.

 

Anyone who approached the (in)famous Clean and Press challenge without any practice (like myself at some point) can tell that relying solely on the shoulders is not wise and very quickly can smoke them. That’s why learning the Push Press makes the whole movement much more effective.

Learning how to brace the core and engage the glutes is easier to do with horizontal presses first like Bird Dogs, Iso Pulls and Drags. That’s because the floor can be used for creating that stable platform using the hands and the feet together. Minibands can also give good feedback on digging the feet into the ground and it’s best to introduce that in all fours, kneeling or half kneeling body positions before doing any standing presses.

 

More stable core, glute and trunk muscles create a better environment for Presses and allow the body to work as a whole. The more we can put our clients into these scenarios to learn how to brace the better they perform in overhead movements. One of the biggest bang for your buck exercises is the Half Kneeling Arc Press which teaches the concept of `Push Down to Press Up`  which is basically pushing down into the feet to be more stable when pressing over the head. This leads to the third point how to think about fitness as progressions/regressions as opposed to exercises only.

Progressions and not exercises

 

DVRT can look a bit overwhelming first with all the different variables that are involved in program design. I used to think it’s the mixture of cool exercises that are put together. Until I got really deep in the educational system of DVRT. It changed the way I look at fitness and how I program my clients routine.

 

Smart fitness solutions can be done that are built on each others and are always progressing. This goes way beyond just adding more load. Firstly we build these progressions from the ground up to allow the clients to be successful, gain more confidence and build more core strength and activate those cross connections that are so important for optimal performance.

 

Having that strong foundation is really important to be successful in higher intensity training and in more advanced movement patterns.

 

Another aspect of being successful in coaching people to DVRT is breaking these movements down into pieces  to work on efficiency in different layers of an exercise.

 

Like the Half Kneeling Arc Press teaches us lateral stability and can be used for learning the Lunge as well as the above mentioned ‘Push Down to Press Up’ whole body bracing technique.

 

The ‘V’ in DVRT means variable and to have an insight of these variables I’m going to share 3 of the most important ones with you.

 

1. Load Position

 

Using the hip hinge as an example a Front Loaded Good Morning is much harder with the same weight than a bilateral Deadlift. The placement of the load makes a massive difference in the same pattern as the lifter needs to resist the weight loaded on the front of the body through the core therefore it is more progressive. Following this principle allows us to build more work capacity without adding more weight.

 

2. Body Position

 

Most training programs make a big jump from a bilateral deadlift to a single leg deadlift way too quickly and there’s nothing in between. The DVRT system however takes a different route and bridges that gap with literally a step by step approach. The first step is a Sprinter Stance which is a heel to toe stance allowing to add more instability to the movement and makes it a true multi-planar position as the lifter needs to resist lateral flexion and rotation. This concept can be applied to other movements such as Pull, Presses and Squats.

 

The next progression is a Rear Step on the continuum of hinge pattern. This is great for challenging stability and work on the core and glutes to not only produce but resist force. Actively using both feet helps stabilise the pelvis and as a result it build strong and functional glutes.

  1. Planes Of Motion
Strength doesn’t just come from going up and down. In real life we move 3 planes of motion and training 3 dimensional helps the body to be prepared to any type of demand. Maintaining the hip hinge pattern and stepping to different directions allows us to progress the movement really efficiently without adding more weight yet still challenge the body with hitting different angles and positions that most training programs don’t cover. DVRT has systemized the direction of the movement in their training program, starting with the most stable position leading up to the least stable and more advanced ones.

Using these 3 variables allows you to look at fitness differently and create more progressive programs and reach your fitness goals faster.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer

Use Flows/Complexes to Warm Up

I used to be able to spend 2-2,5 hours in the gym almost everyday and I tailored everything around my training session. The food I was eating, all my other tasks that I needed to do and my recovery too. Sounds ideal? The thing is as I’m getting busier with my business commitments and my family life I value more and more the  time I have. I still prioritize my daily training however there’s no way I’m able to spend 2 hours in the gym. Plus I work in a gym weekdays so I don’t really want to spend more time at the same place if I don’t have to.

The biggest advantage of using an Ultimate Sandbag alongside the knowledge of the DVRT system is that training can be done anywhere. There is no excuses not to train. It could be outside, at home in a hotel room and various other places. This also comes with dramatically saving space when using the Ultimate Sandbags. Personally I find this quite important as the gym I work is quite small and there’s limited space. So often times I stay at the same spot with my clients, yet they never get bored and still able to do quality work with a few Ultimate Sandbags. After surveying a lot of my clients, one thing that they really value is variety. When it comes to DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training variety is certain. Using flows or complexes is part of our training routine with most people. When the foundations are right people tend to enjoy the challenge that flows can give, we save some space so it’s a win-win.
However flows or complexes can bring more important things to the table of fitness. It’s enhanced movement, better coordination, improved mobility and conditioning at the same time. It is also the ability to move seamlessly from one position to another. Who doesn’t want to do more effective workouts with less time and get better results?
I remember when I first did a complex of 6 different exercises for 6 repetitions of each. I believe it was something like Deadlifts, Bent Over Rows, Clean to Fists, Drop Lunges, Push Presses and Squats in one go. I was shocked how heavy my strength bag felt compare to doing straight sets.

Flows and complexes can be used for accomplishing different goals too other than pure strength work. They are ideal for recovery, finishing or part of any warm ups as well. As a coach I value the complexity of DVRT a lot as well as the freedom that I have within the system to come up with more specific solutions to my clients needs. Sometimes my own issues inspire me to find a way to get better at something. When I created my upcoming DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training program I wanted to include some of my favorite flows that I like to use myself and give them to my clients.

They are great to turn on all those small stabilizer muscles literally in minutes and increase mobility in the hips, thoracic area and get you going in no time. The Dynamic Core Warm Ups program includes 15 different warm up flows. They can be plugged into any part of the workout, however I want to give you a few ideas how I use them personally.
  • Part of the warm up (assuming foundations are right)
  • As a finisher (pick 2-3 different ones and do them as a circuit for 3 rounds)
  • Part of the main session (working on specific things, like hips, knees, core or building better lunges etc)
  • Use them as a recovery session (as these are more mobility based, they’re perfect for that)
When I created the Dynamic Core Warm Ups I wanted to make sure that there’s some sort of continuity in the program. So these 15 warm up flows are the follow ups of the 7 warm up routines. They are built on each others to bring even better results in less time. However this doesn’t mean they cannot be done on their own or combined with other DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training exercises. I’m very excited to share them with you later. Stay tuned in.

Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer