This Simple, Super Functional Exercise Is Your Core Training Secret Weapon

This Simple, Super Functional Exercise Is Your Core Training Secret Weapon

IF YOU EVER HAVE grabbed a few bags full of groceries and drove them to your car and then to your house, you’ve already committed to the real-life application of a weight room exercise. For anyone who follows the buzzwords in the gym world, it’s functional fitness.

Carrying an object like groceries or a sports bag is as functional as possible in our daily life. In the gym, this very natural movement is called carrying the suitcase. When done correctly, it can be one of the best exercises for building core strength and even an underhanded and effective tool for conditioning, while helping people of all ages “function” better in their daily lives. .

Turning the suitcase carry from an everyday motion to a crushing strength building and conditioning exercise requires a little more than just walking from point A to point B. Effective execution of the suitcase carry requires a combination strength and stability to get to the end of the road. (or in this case the other end of the gym) while grabbing as heavy a load as possible, depending on MH Director of Fitness Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS

“Most of us do it in our daily lives, but never really think of it as exercise,” says Samuel. “[But] we can go from something we do every day to something that will help make us stronger, protect us from injury, and also prepare us for real life.

The muscles you use to carry the suitcase

  • Legs
  • Shoulders (Deltoids)
  • Rhomboids
  • Arms
  • Forearm
  • Abdominals and core

Carrying the suitcase should be a total body effort. When you break it down, the movement requires leg strength to walk while holding a heavy load. This in turn requires great grip strength – using your forearms, as well as your biceps, shoulders and the rest of your upper body muscles.

However, putting it all together requires a connection with your abdominal muscles. And in this case, we’re really focusing on a workout idea known as anti-lateral bending. Because you’re only holding a weight on one side, anti-lateral bending requires your core to fight the urge to tip to the opposite side and instead work to maintain a balanced position.

“My goal when carrying is not to tip to one side or the other, and that will require a lot of abdominal control and will require every muscle in my core to be very, very involved,” says Samuel. “That means my glutes are going to be involved, my hip flexors are going to be involved and every muscle – my rectus abdominis is going to play a key role in that, my obliques are going to play a key role in that…and my lower back muscles also have to shoot.

Advantages of the luggage rack

  • Builds strength
  • Ideal for cardio and conditioning
  • Real-world application (functional use)

Picking up a heavy load, holding it to one side without falling, and then walking a difficult distance requires intense work of your core, arms and shoulders, specifically your forearms. The longer the distance, the heavier the load, which should be enough for you to feel the burn in your arms, making it a great strength training accessory.

If the burn in your arms wasn’t enough, the elevated heart rate you should feel after covering a set distance under load will remind you that carrying the suitcase is also great for conditioning. Remember the key to an effective workout: Hold on to something heavy. Five pound weights just won’t cut it with this exercise if you want to make strength and conditioning gains.

How to carry the suitcase

Although carrying the suitcase is a natural movement, there are key fitness elements involved if you want to get the most out of the exercise. While holding a ton of weight on one side of your body can take a ton of effort, the goal here is to make it look almost effortless. Easier said than done, but easily achievable if you follow these tips.

Key points for carrying the suitcase

When carrying a load on one side, we tend to also focus on keeping the shoulder on the side you are carrying the weight level. However, keeping the tension on both sides is key, says Samuel. You want to squeeze both blades down and back as you push your chest forward. “If someone sticks a pencil between your shoulder blades, you basically want to squeeze the heck out of that pencil,” Samuel says.

Holding a heavy object requires a firm grip. Remember to flex and squeeze as much as possible. This will not only help you hold on, but you’ll also get some valuable work out of your forearm muscles.

Don’t forget to flex your abs. This will help drive your rib cage as close and tight as possible. This will help you fight the urge to rock from side to side. Maintain all that tension and the walk becomes the easy part.

Clues for the transport of the suitcase

  • Take the weight with one hand. Grab the handle of the tool as hard as you can.
  • Engage your core, creating full-body tension. Also squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your chest forward. Keep your neck in a neutral position, looking straight ahead.
  • Move forward while maintaining full body tension. Keep your shoulders level. If you need to, extend your non-working arm for balance.

Equipment you can use for carrying the suitcase

  • Dumbbell
  • Kettlebell
  • EZ-curl bar
  • weight plate
  • Dumbbell
prepare for training

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It doesn’t matter what equipment you use to carry a suitcase as long as it’s heavy. But you can increase the level of difficulty by using different equipment from time to time. For example, a loaded EZ bar will hit your forearms harder than, say, a kettlebell. Using a barbell will require a little more forearm balancing than a short barbell.

“I really, really encourage you to try to mix it all up,” Samuel says. “You’re going to get a lot of benefit from playing with a lot of these tools. They’re also going to create other variants of carrying cases that you do much better in terms of reps and sets.

How to use the carry case in your workouts

According to Samuel, walking for time and/or distance is the best way to properly attack suitcase carrying. A good starting point is walking 20 yards one way, then switching arms and walking 20 yards back. Another option would be to walk 30 seconds one way, switch arms, then 30 seconds back. Three to four sets should work best, either as a warm-up, especially for beginners, or even as a finishing move after deadlift or leg day for more advanced gymg-oers.

“Take something really, really heavy, make it look easy, and it won’t be easy,” says Samuel. “It’s not going to be easy, but your goal is to work to make it look easy while you’re walking, and that’s how you get what you pay for with carrying the suitcase.”

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