Now that swim suit season is upon us and everybody is in panic mode trying to get there six packs ready for the pool, you’ll start to see more and more crunches and more and more treadmill runners. Well, we should all know my stance on the treadmill at this point and I’m also certainly no fan of crunches…especially for fat loss. But, if you’re going to do core training in hopes of pulling in those lethal abs then you might as well do some exercises that are very much “bang for your buck” exercises. The carries are a series of exercises that you can use to train your core without lying on your back and putting excessive amounts of pressure on your spine with constant flexion. At the same time you’ll also work on your shoulder stability, hip stability and get a nice metabolic hit if these as done correctly. With that being said, here’s a look at the variations, in no specific order:
1) Waiter Walk – This move, in my opinion, is probably the most technical of the bunch because of the concentration that is required. Let your form go bad here and you’ll be in a world of hurt, so only use this if you’re absolutely comfortable. The waiter walk is done best with a kettlebell because of the weight distribution. Pick a light, something you could press overhead say 15 times. Put the weight in one hand and fully extend the arm overhead. To ensure that the shoulder is protected, make sure to pack your shoulder blade down and back, almost like you’re trying to pinch them together.
2) Suitcase Carry – The suitcase carry requires a little less concentration since you don’t have the risk of dropping anything on your head and can be done with a little more weight. With this variation, it starts to look more like a conventional farmer’s walk, instead we take away a hand. Again, I think these are best done with a kettlebell, but can be done with dumbbells. Holding the weight in one hand, make sure to pack your shoulder back and down and you keep the core engaged throughout the walk. This should not be so heavy that it’s making you walk diagonally, but shouldn’t be so light that you could carry it around for 5 minutes. Find something that allows you to keep a nice stable core and erect torso.
3) Farmer’s Walk – The granddaddy of them all. This is what you see those guys on the world’s strongest man do….except we’re probably not going to be holding 300lbs in each hand…but then again maybe you will. With a weight in each hand, again pack your shoulders back and down. Also, and this goes for all of the carries, make sure you keep yourself tall, like you have a string pulling up on the back of your head. You need to keep the weight light at first. It’s your grip that needs to do the catching up. So allow yourself to adapt to a weight for a week or so, then bump it up 5 pounds.
Some General Rules
You’ve noticed at this point that, with all of them, you have to keep your shoulders packed. Think of it as a postural correction. Most people sit at a desk or in there car all down with there shoulders slouched forward and down which can reek havoc on your posture over time. With the packed position, it helps pull yourself upright into the neutral position you should naturally be in. As far as distance goes, I don’t make this an exact science. It obviously depends a lot on how much room you have to walk. Start off with about 30 yards and grow from there. If you don’t have tons of room, increase your weights. If you have a football field, walk the football field. The strength standard I like to use is one that Dan John sets in his book Intervention. If you can carry half of your body weight in each hand, you’re doing great….carry your body weight in each hand and you can stop working out forever…….not really.
Implement these carrying variations into your workout today and start to see the great results that they can bring. For any other questions, shoot us email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and have a great day!