If you’re one of those people who get on the treadmill out of habit before you start your workout, here’s a different way to walk – pick up the heaviest kettle bell you can carry and walk with it in one hand for 20 meters then switch hands and carry it for another 20m. Welcome to the ‘suitcase walk‘. I know. It’s simple, but sometimes the most simple things in the gym are the most effective.
Why would you want to do this? When you’re just warming up on the treadmill you’re getting your heart pumping and getting circulation into your limbs ready for putting pressure on your muscles with resistance. But walking that way doesn’t really do a lot for your musculoskeletal system. Walking up and building up your cardiovascular endurance levels are important ways to avoid injury and also enable your muscles fibers to do the most exercise they can. Getting blood into your muscles also carries oxygen to them and this will help them to work harder and faster and longer. It also paves the way for recovery.
SUITCASE WALK – PUT YOUR SHOULDER INTO IT
Regular walking is primarily going to be warming up your legs. But walking has been used to great effect for a lot of different strength training exercises. To also put some strain on your arms, shoulders and core you need to do something more than just walk on the spot for a few minutes. Jogging or running can help to circulate more blood around your body, but adding passive resistance will also work your obliques and core because the combination of walking and carrying weight acts on your body’s stabilizing musculature. That’s what the suitcase walk is going to do for you by forcing your core to stabilize your body to avoid being dragged over too far to one side while keeping the weight up.
“Don’t be afraid to go heavy,” says Dan John a national masters champion in Olympic lifting and fitness expert on MensHealth.com. “You’re looking for a weight that will challenge your core to maintain good form.”
It’s important when you’re holding heavy weight and walking to ensure your posture is correct. You should be standing straight upright with your shoulders squared. Walking this way strengthens your forearms, deltoids and trapezoids as well. Check out the video above to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
With a lot of weight on the bar make sure you’ve got room to move.
If your weights gym doesn’t have appropriate space to get a good walk on while you’re going heavy then you might want to get yourself organised to do this one at home or in a park where you don’t have to worry about people moving about waiting for the next elliptical trainer to come available.