Sit-ups are known as the gold standard for assessing core strength. Basically, the thought is the more sit-ups you can do, the more “rock hard” your abs will be. But have you ever thought about how this old-school exercise could actually be harming you in the long run?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, one reason that sit-ups are bad for you is because they are hard on your back, “they push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When the hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they tug on the lower spine, which can create lower back discomfort”. Doesn’t sound too good for you in the long-run, right?
It’s time to find new and fun ways to work on and strengthen your core. What could be more fun than getting all of your friends together, outside, and challenging each other to see who can carry a super heavy Med Ball the fastest for 200M? (Very specific, but just keep reading).
It’s time to start implementing loaded carries into your workout routine to hit all of your core muscles. If you’re unsure of what loaded carries are, think of exercises like a suitcase carry, farmer's carry, bear hug carry, and our favorite, rucking!
Here are some of the benefits of loaded carries:
- Improved grip strength
- A form of cardio - get that heart rate up!
- They help to improve the strength of your back (and with that comes better posture!)
- Work out all of your core muscles at once
- According to research done by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, they can even help to prevent injuries: “A review of the literature shows that the implementation of loaded carries can improve hip and torso muscle function, leading to improved systemic muscular function. Focusing on core strength via loaded carries for athletes can decrease the rate of injury, as well as be useful for rehabilitation.”
Let’s focus on how carries actually strengthen your core muscles. These kinds of exercises are game changers because your entire body is working to keep your core stable while you walk with extra weight. You are strengthening the stability around your core, hips, and spine. Take a suitcase carry for example, this is an asymmetrical carry that forces you to activate your obliques (the sides of your torso) to stay standing upright.
The same goes for carrying a med ball. When you shift all of the extra loaded weight to the front of your body, you are now engaging your back muscles and using your core to correct your body to stay upright, rather than falling forward or backward with the ball. This is also way better than repeatedly banging your back against the ground during sit-ups.
All of this will ultimately help your quality of life: Experience less back pain so you can go on those long rucks/walks with family. Strengthen your core and back so you can carry the kiddos on your shoulders at Disney (all fathers have been there). And challenge yourself to new exercises and movements. And if you’re liking what you hear, get geared up to do carries and check out the best equipment on the market to do so in our Train with Sand Collection: Sand Medicine Balls & Sand Jerry Cans.
Once you have your equipment, challenge yourself and someone else to our 200M Med Ball Carry Challenge:
Get all of your buddies together for a good, old-fashioned, fun driveway workout. Write out a challenging workout. Then, in between rounds of the exercises, throw in this curveball: Everyone has to pick up the heaviest Med Ball that they can carry, and they can’t drop it for whatever reason. If you drop it, you have to do 100 burpees (your friends can even count it out for you if you want!). So simple, just don’t drop it. Pick up your weight, carry it 200M, and let us know how you do.