Have you ever parked in the last spot in the parking lot at the grocery store, just so you can attempt to carry ALL of your bagged groceries that extra mile? Or maybe even, bought some extra canned veggies just to add more weight to it?” No, well maybe that’s because I’m a sick and twisted fitness professional who gets off on that kind of thing. I’ll park as FAR away from the entrance of so many stores just to see if my training really does have transfer. After all, it is the little things that you notice in every day life that tells you if you workouts are really meaningful.
Why am I asking you this? Well, because carrying things is one of the functional things we do, yet rarely do we train them in the gym.
One of the most powerful exercises many people are leaving out from their programming is the loaded carry. It is one of the most functional exercises you can perform and can be used with all levels. Typically, in real life situations when we pick something up we don’t just ‘pick it up and put it down’, we want to move it somewhere. Carries are a great for many reason including fat loss, metabolic conditioning, building full body strength and specific core and grip strength. Another great aspect of the carry that is often neglected in people’s training is that it incorporates multiples chains of the body. Rather than simply hitting the ‘posterior chain’, carries often work multiple chains in one movement. Josh has a great article here for more information of the different sling systems of the body. (CLICK HERE to read more)
In the DVRT system, load position and the stability of the USB can drastically change the difficulty of an exercise or an Ultimate Sandbag workout. Sure you can use kettlebells, yokes, farmer’s handles, and more but here are 4 loaded carrying variations unique to the Ultimate Sandbag and allow you an extra edge using DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout programs. We will show you 4 of our favorites but you can expand on these, progress and regress them all for yourself and your clients!
USB Bear Hug Carry – The Bear Hug is the most stable holding position and is a great way to start off with beginners or load up pretty darn heavy for your more advanced user. The Bear Hug position requires you to wrap your arms around the bag and ‘rip it apart’ creating a great demand on the thoracic extensors and scapula retraction to hold the implement tight. This places a high isometric demand on those muscles as one carries the implement from point A to point B.
USB Offset Loaded Carry – Our second choice requires two USBs loaded to different weights or two different size bags. This may be the most functional choice of our 4 as it’s similar to carrying groceries, suitcases, etc. The offset load begins to incorporate multi-planar training, as the body now has to resist lateral flexion and rotation as you carry the bag.
USB Front Hold Rotational Carry – This carrying variation, introduced to me by fellow master instructor,
Mitch Hauschildt, has become my favorite variation in my own training. In this movement, we must create rotation and prevent rotation as we travel forward and eventually backward. The front hold position again creates demand on the thoracic extensors and scapula retractors. The subtle rotation needs to be controlled and also demands the user to focus on coordination. Be sure to master going forward before you start working backwards. On a side, so often do we train going forward, going backward is often neglected yet so important for many sports and in real life.
USB Clean to Knuckles Overhead Carry – As we move to our fourth and final variation, we move to the one of the more difficult variations as we are now adding difficulty in stability with the holding position and distance from our trunk. Once you have grasped the ability to properly clean the bag to your knuckles, this variation enforces proper scapula ‘packing’ as you pull the shoulders down and back before beginning to walk. You must resist over extending through your spine as you carry keeping the rib cage down and neck neutral.
Check out the accompanying video to see how to properly place the Ultimate Sandbag in the holding position and perform each of these variations for a great Ultimate Sandbag workout. Try one of these during your next Ultimate Sandbag workout sessions. We often will use carries paired with another strength exercise like a squat, as a different option for specific core training, or as a metabolic finisher. As the name of our facility goes, you must Train for Life and adding these and other carrying variations into your program is a must!