What is Dynamic Variable Resistance Training

Dynamic Variable Resistance Training (DVRT) allows you to train rehabilitation or performance with high metabolic demand. Josh Henkin developed a unique and innovative system from the ground up to fill a void in strength training. DVRT rewards mastery of foundational skills as layers of complexity can be added as competence is achieved. Watching a sandbag performance with Josh makes DVRT look effortless, that’s until you look at his watch that reads 735 calories burned in 23 minutes.

Josh has refined the Ultimate Sandbag for use with DVRT. Inside the Ultimate Sandbag are bladders that can be filled with varying substrates (we have used sand, rice, and water). Load is one variable but often not the most important. The dimensions and stability of the implementation become key considerations when performing an exercise. The caloric expenditure of training with an unstable load is substantial.

Changing load position, body position, stability of the load, dimension of the implement, and weight of the load combine an almost infinite amount of possibilities for exercise variation.

Here’s an example that takes into consideration only body and load position:

1. Front Loaded Squat (stable load and body position)

2. Shoulder Squat (unstable load position, stable body position)

3. Front Loaded Staggered Squat (stable load position, unstable body position)

4. Contra Load Staggered Shoulder Squat (unstable load position, unstable body position)

5. Same Side Load Staggered Shoulder Squat (unstable load position, unstable body position)

There are five quick progressions! And that is only the tip of the iceberg; Dynamic Variable Resistance Training is versatile.

The Ultimate Sandbag provides a different training stimulus than a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell. A lighter sandbag can make for a more challenging exercise than a comparable load with a kettlebell, dumbbell, or barbell during a similar movement. For example, in the performance of power movements such as a clean, the load is distributed unequally on the bottom of the implement. It must be pulled higher to catch in the front-loaded position. It would help if you created more power with less load than conventional equipment to achieve the same position. Decelerating the load is also experienced differently as the filler bags inside the sandbag and substrate inside the filler bag are all moving at different rates.

Dynamic Variable Resistance Training demands major recruitment of the core musculature. The exercise’s huge hit on the metabolic demand makes it hard. The stabilizing demands increase when the load placement is asymmetrical (such as on your shoulder) or during acceleration or deceleration.

Why Is Dynamic Variable Resistance Important?

DVR training challenges your muscles in multiple ways. The weights and bands will go up and down in resistance as you move, which helps you avoid plateauing and continue to improve. It also allows you to build muscle in ways that are impossible with free weights, machines, or even other resistance bands. This means you can create bigger, stronger muscles that accelerate results and prevent injury.

How to Start a DVR Program

DVR training is a type of program that includes a variety of exercises with little to no rest between each. You can complete a DVR program using a cable machine or resistance bands. You can use a cable machine with attachments or purchase DVR bands. DVR bands are generally easier to travel with, making them a great option for those who travel often. When starting a DVR program, first select the type of equipment you will use for the program. After you have selected your equipment, you can begin creating a program.

Here’s a Dynamic Variable Resistance Training workout I performed two and a half weeks after competing at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Hawaii. You only need an Ultimate Sandbag and a kettlebell. For your benefit, I have listed the workout below:

Circuit 1 (Power – 10 minutes):

  • 1. 1. Staggered Single Arm Kettlebell Swing
  • 2. 2. Cyclone
  • 3. 3. Clean and Press (progression: Rotational Clean and Press)
  • Each performed for six repetitions. Rest as much as needed between sets.

Circuit 2 (Strength – 15 minutes):

  • 1. 1. Staggered Squat with Contra Load (4-second eccentric pause)
  • 2. 2. Lateral Bag Drag
  • 3. 3. Alligator Push Ups (Single Arm Push Ups)
  • 4. 4. Deceleration Lunge with Offset Row

Perform six repetitions each. Rest as much as needed between sets.

Envision Fitness is proud to be hosting Josh Henkin for a Level I and II DVRT Certification on May 18th and 19th at our gym in Maple Ridge, BC.

Register for Dynamic Variable Resistance Training Level I and II here (select Vancouver): http://www.dvrtcertification.com/dates-locations/.

Steve Di Tomaso CSCS
Director of Envision Fitness
DVRT Master Instructor