By Todd A. Wright, F.A.F.S
For years conventional power training has been implemented with a wide array of athletes/clients using predominately dumbbells and barbells, which do not have the capacity to be safely thrown. An entire training philosophy was developed to learn how to properly lift and catch this equipment and in many instances had low levels of functional density relative to what the athlete’s sport required. While some conventional lifting still has a place in the overall training model, this technique driven philosophy shifted the focus of the training, and sacrificed what we were trying to develop in the first place—raw, authentic power.
With the SandBell or SteelBell, an athlete can actually let go of the weight, shifting the focus back to generating force through the trunk while driving the feet into the ground. With the SandBell or SteelBell, not only can you get weights ranging from 2 lbs all the way 200 lbs, but their versatility allows you to train different loading patterns that few other pieces of equipment can. Gone are the days of only sagittal plane training.
The SandBell’s design allows an athlete/client to do many of the exercises they would commonly do with a barbell or dumbbell, but also allow it to do what other traditional pieces of equipment cannot—be thrown in any direction imaginable. This allows you to take the traditional lifting patterns (cleans, squats, presses, etc.) and add vectors never before possible.
Turn cleans into throws from the ground. Take the SandBell, throw it from the side of your body with a twist and suddenly the core gets loaded in a way that the traditional clean never could. Instead of letting go of the SandBell at the top of the lift, complete the entire cycle and slam it back into the ground. Physiologically, the proximal acceleration and distal deceleration incorporated into a slam provides a stimulus throughout the entire body that few other motions can.
Psychologically, slamming something into the ground has proven to trigger a great deal of joy and is one of the SandBell’s true strengths—people simply love using them. Observe the excitement of your athlete/client when you tell them they get to slam a piece of equipment on the ground as hard as they can. As a coach, it’s a win because the training stimulus that the slamming pattern provides is one of the best conditioning movements available. The athlete/client wins because they get to take out their aggression from that day’s frustrations in the most exhausting way imaginable. Best of all, they walk away from a training session with a SandBell feeling great because of how much that slamming motion unwinds the “locked-down” position caused by our predominately seated lives. A SandBell slam provides a truly unique exercise—one that is playful in nature and yet will leave you gasping for breath.
*About the Author: Todd Wright is in his 14th season as the men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach at the University of Texas, and is a nationally recognized expert in his field. Hyperwear has been fortunate to get early samples of the SandBell and SteelBell into Todd’s skilled hands, which has helped us continually improve our product’s performance and durability.