Stay independent longer by increasing your stair climbing capacity. Mike O’Hara shows you how in his article, “Keep Climbing”. Mike also discusses standing desks and the many benefits of standing while working. Jeff Tirrell explains the effect of exercise on appetite.
Our June issue brings information on preventing neck pain by strengthening your neck. Mike O’Hara describes and demonstrates in a video exercises that will help strengthen the muscles of your neck. In another article, Mike tells how grip strength can be a predictor of early death in some patients. Be sure to read Jeff Tirrell’s article on performance based training.
Movement You Should Master
Modern medicine is keeping us alive longer, so now we need to put some effort into staying lively longer. Mastering specific movements will improve our quality of life and help us stay independent and injury-free. I have come up with several exercises you can use to make yourself stronger, more durable, and develop a healthier, more functional body. An exercise that I have found to be efficient and effective is a Weighted Carry.
Very few things are more functional than a carry. You’d be hard pressed to get through daily life without having to carry something at least a few times per week. While basic, a carry is an efficient and effective full body exercise. Depending on the carry you choose, the load is virtually limitless. Performed for time or distance, carries will always improve gait and core stability. Depending on which version you use, they can also be an effective tool for improving shoulder mobility/stability, grip strength, balance, and overall awesomeness. Watch the video and give it try: https://youtu.be/PaP4-IlVAOA
Coach Chad demonstrates my top four carry picks:
1) Farmers Walk (gait, core stability, grip strength, upper back, legs)
2) Suitcase Carry (gait, core anti-lateral flexion, grip, upper back, balance)
3) Waiters Carry (gait, core stability, shoulder stability, balance)
4) Double Waiters Carry (gait, core stability, shoulder mobility, shoulder stability, balance)
-Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, Pn1
Grip, Rip, And Lift
An Introduction To Sandbag Training
Every training tool in the gym is solid and fixed. Kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbell implements are symmetrical, balanced, and have handles that make for efficient maneuvering of the load. In life and athletics, the forces you face are asymmetrical and come at you from all directions. No convenient handles are attached to your opponent, bag of groceries, grandchild, or grandma. Fitness activities that carry over to real life are what you need in your gym programming. Sandbag training meets all of these needs.
Farm Boy Strong
An implement that is unstable in your hands is more valuable than an implement that is unstable under your feet. Sandbags are inherently floppy–the load moves as you maneuver the bag through space. This requires coordinated recruitment of the core, shoulder, and pelvic girdle stabilizers. Central nervous system (brain) neural recruitment also increases as more muscular coordination and co-contraction is brought into play. Lifting, carrying, and gripping a sandbag is the same type of training that makes the farm boy strong.
Gripping a sandbag works all of the muscles of the forearms and hands. In real life, you must be able to maintain a strong grip in order to express any of the strength you have gained in the gym. Research has linked grip strength to longevity.
All Angles Are Covered
Josh Henkin has created a superior product called the Ultimate Sandbag. These modern sandbags come in a variety of sizes and have a durable vinyl covering. The shape of the bags and the multiple handles enable movement of the bag through all planes of motion. Unilateral and triplanar loading are what happen in the real world.
Be A Better Shock Absorber
In life and athletics, the ability to absorb an impact and remain upright, stable, and uninjured is crucial. Sandbags are much softer than any other implement in the gym. When they impact your body, they do not produce pain or tissue trauma, but your body feels the force as it travels to the ground. Sandbag shouldering, cleans, and snatches are just some of the drills that require you become more efficient at absorbing an impact.
Starting With Sandbag Activities
Start with one or two exercises and work on perfecting your technique. Sandbags work well for metabolic complexes–you perform multiple exercises in a row without putting the bag down. Watch the attached video for some examples of my favorite sandbag training exercises.
At Fenton Fitness we have 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 85 pound sandbags. Start with an easy weight and work your way up. See the video for demonstration of Sandbag Training.
Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS