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The Best And Worst Core Exercise

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It can’t be that hard right? I mean, after all, you are just walking with weights how can that be anything BUT a great exercise?!

Yes, loaded carries have gone from the crazy exercise in Strongman contests to one of the most popular “core exercises” in the gym. In many ways it warms my heart because over a decade ago I was not only competing in Strongman contests, but trying to teach my clients the value of a “new” form of functional fitness.

Way back in 2007 in my original training facility and YES, Arizona winters could be chilly!

The down side of this new form of core training is that people don’t think you can really screw it up! We can all walk right? If you can walk then why in the world would you have ANY issues with loaded carries.

The truth of the matter is walking, like any other movement pattern, is something the body can “get through” without doing it well. I can’t tell you the number of people Jessica has treated over the years with knee, low back, hip, and even shoulder/neck issues that largely were impacted by the fact they walked badly!

A lot of this has to do with what is known as the lateral system of the body. It is the chain of muscles that keep us from swaying side to side and in many respects is the major benefit to our core training with loaded carries.

The problem is when people don’t use their glutes and core right they slouch, sway, and do all the things we DO NOT want them to do when we see them do loaded carries. You don’t want to look like a runway model, but rather keep your hips stable moving just forward and back and not side to side.

In order to accomplish this seemingly simple goal requires proper use of the muscles that most people don’t know HOW to use. Muscles like your quadratus lumborum, glute medius, etc. That is why before we perform any loaded carries we recommend using DVRT Marches.

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The DVRT march on the left and single leg deadlift on the right can go a long ways in helping clean up walking dysfunction.

The idea of the march came from two ideas. The first is that in many physical therapy circles a base functional balance and strength test is standing on one leg for 20 seconds. That is not only being able to stand on your leg but do so without shifting of the hips.

The other is the fact that such a position is a way that potential issues in the SI Joint are identified. When you lift up one leg do the hips shift so that one hip goes higher than the other. This demonstrates one to be more predisposed to low back issues.

One of the best ways to help train this qualities is in our DVRT Front Loaded March. Now this drill looks easy and it is not super technical, how ever simple and easy can be very different. You want to create tension against the Ultimate Sandbag to help with core activation and bringing in the lats with the chain.

When you pick up one leg, you want to drive into the ground by grabbing the ground with the stance leg. The goal is to go into full hip extension so you should feel the glutes tighten on the side of the stance leg. Key is slow, pause, and check alignment.

Being in the front loaded position not only works the core more, it helps give you feedback upon proper position and alignment. Once you have this core exercise down you can start moving laterally and it all sorts of direction to reinforce true core and hip strength.

Watch how DVRT Master, Larisa Lotz, demonstrates control in this exercise. The goal is not just to do it, but to perform it with the RIGHT intent!

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