Dynamic core strengthening, which is movement oriented strengthening of the core musculature, is critical for all sports. While it is crucial to strengthen the nose to toes core statically to improve static stability (i.e. a plank would be an example of a static core exercise), when we are moving our core musculature must respond to the body in motion.
Consequently, we must also train to strengthen our core for the demands placed upon it during motion and, following the principle of specificity (i.e. S.A.I.D. – specific adaptation to imposed demands), to be stable during motion, we must train in motion. There are dozens of dynamic movement patterns which may strengthen the nose to toes core dynamically; however, weighted carry exercises may be just the ticket toward more stable, controlled, safe and effective movement patterns both in everyday life and sport’s performance. This week, give this weighted carry progression a try and begin integrating dynamic core strengthening into your exercise program. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Exercise Progression and Process – perform each of these exercises, two-three days/week on non-consecutive days for one minute in duration each, twice. Therefore, perform exercise #1 for one minute, take a brief 15-second break and repeat. Then, progress to exercise #2. Since this is unilateral, when you reach the other side of the room, switch the load to the opposite hand (think of a suitcase) and proceed. Perform for one minute, take a brief 15-second break and repeat. Progressing to exercise #3, holding/cradling the sandbag at chest height, perform for one minute take a brief 15-second break and repeat.
In terms of how much load to carry, unless you are accustomed to this type of weighted carry training, choose a light load, concentrating on erect posture, proper stride and smooth turning radius when changing directions. Once you have mastered this process easily, then it may be time to add more external load. When adding load, do so in small increments to ensure safety and effectiveness of exercise.
*Note: You are not forcefully swinging the load, simply holding it by your sides on exercise one and two and cradling on exercise three and you may repeat the series once or twice in an exercise bout; however, more is not necessarily better. These exercises are more challenging than you may might realize, so progress slowly just as you would with any exercise series.
Weighted-Carry Exercise #1 “Farmer’s Walk” – Standing holding two kettlebells or dumbbells of equal weight, one in each hand walk across the room (at least ten full strides) and then return to the beginning position. *You will feel the load anchoring you into the earth which is the value of the weighted carry—you must move your body while carrying load.
Weighted-Carry Exercise #2 Unilateral – Standing holding one kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand, walk across the room (at least ten full strides) and then return to the beginning position. *You will be counteracting the one-side element of this exercise—do not permit the body to compensate by leaning toward the loaded side–stand erect.
Weighted-Carry Exercise #3 Standing cradling a sandbag at chest height, walk across the room (at least ten full strides) and then return to the beginning position.