Sun | May 19, 2019

Fit 4 Life | It’s all in the walk [Part I]

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:27 AM
Loaded carries are a big group of exercises. Their simplicity causes them to be overlooked by most, but the benefits of loaded carries translate to any fitness goal. The uncomplicated action of picking something up and moving it somewhere engages muscles all over the body; burning calories, improving performance, and causing them to grow.

Ever had to walk any distance with a significant load? Unpack groceries or travel bags? Carry a container of water?

Even if you have a decent level of fitness, carrying a load might knock the wind out of you. That's because, inadvertently, through these simple tasks you stumbled on a tough, versatile and effective full-body exercise. And, despite its many benefits, it's simple and safe.

Loaded carries are a big group of exercises. Their simplicity causes them to be overlooked by most, but the benefits of loaded carries translate to any fitness goal. The uncomplicated action of picking something up and moving it somewhere engages muscles all over the body; burning calories, improving performance, and causing them to grow.

TORCH CALORIES

The sheer number of muscles involved means that loaded carries burn vast amounts of calories. In addition, loaded carries keep your body in constant tension. Unlike repetition-based exercises, loaded carries require you to perform at peak levels throughout the exercise, thereby burning more energy.

STEP UP YOUR PERFORMANCE

Loaded carries improve strength and endurance in many muscle groups:

• The arms are probably the most obvious beneficiaries. Better forearm and grip strength, stronger biceps and triceps, and greater endurance in the entire arm are to be expected.

• The back and shoulder muscles are hit hard by loaded carries. They are required to provide stability during the exercise, while bearing the brunt of the load. Strength, size, and endurance, especially for upper-back muscles such as the traps, are to be expected.

• The legs: walking may seem too easy to build bullet-proof legs, but when carrying a load there are few more effective exercises. All leg muscles must work hard during a loaded carry.

• The core remains under constant tension during loaded carries to provide the stability need to bear the weight.

TRAIN EFFICIENTLY

The numerous benefits of loaded carries mean they are among the most efficient and functional exercises around. You get to improve muscles throughout your body, improve cardiovascular performance and torch calories with one exercise. In addition, you don't need any special equipment or a large amount of space for the exercise.

COMMON VARIATIONS

• Farmer's walk

• Overhead carry

• Racked carries

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com