I often get approached by time poor grapplers asking the best me what they should do in the gym, given what I posted about earlier this month its easy to be side tracked by the buffet of fitness options available, especially when magazines and websites layout protocals that honestly are mean’t for high level grapplers. Its not hard really to think of my next port of call which is to suggest this twice a week http://www.scramblestuff.com/bondarchuk-complex/. But some stamp their feet and demand something quicker or simpler. We can make the most of simple pairings, be it a simple push/pull, deadlift/press or in this instance the Squat and Carry.
A recent variation I really like has been the combination of Front Squat and chest height or overhead loaded carries. With a few clients who happen to be time poor, this combination has worked wonders in terms of productivity, I see clients both get stronger and lose excess fat using this protocol a few times a week. I have been programming like this. If you are sadist this can be used as a workout finisher.
Squat and Carry
Correctives (upper back work for posture etc)
A1)5-8 reps Front Squat with 40-60% of 1RM. No rest
A2)30 secs of carry variation or for distance that takes about 20-30 secs No rest (should be able to complete it without dropping the weight)
Repeat 4 times
Rest however long (between 1-2 minutes usually), do it another 2-3 times
Go home and cry
Everyone loves a good squat there is a reason it appears in most the best training programs, it builds strength, packs and muscle and if programmed right can burn fat too. In this instance we will have to put back squatting to one side, I found that racking and unracking the back squat slows the pace of transition between exercises of the squat and carry.
The front squat is the end level boss of low body movements; I really prefer this variation to others for this exercise combo. The front squat requires flexibility and will helped groove a deep squatting pattern. The front squat is hard movement to cheat on, where as the back squat turns into an abomination rapidly when tired. And if heaven forbid things do really wrong ditching the bar is simple. Take your time on the squats as its the portion of workout where you dictate pace we are not against the clock here, obviously do not take 10 seconds between reps but don’t rush reps either, just full depth front squats with a fast movement out of the bottom. If you can’t front squat for whatever reason viable replacements are, Goblet squat, Racked Kettlebell front squat, Kettlebell swing, overhead squat.
Carries are a highly underutilized movement. Carries are important because they are self limiting in that your posture, balance and breathing become vital to successful completion of the movements.
Dan John thinks loaded carries may be one of vital missing component from most programs.
There are a number of ways you can approach the carry ranging from farmers style walk with the weight held by the sides this can be kettle-bells, dumbbells and if you are really lucky farmers walk frame or bars. It can shouldered with the weight held about chest height, either with kettlebells or dumbbells. Finally it can be held overhead either with barbell dumbbells or what I prefer waiter carries. Waiter carries is probably my favourite variation, usually with around 17.5-25% of body weight in one hand.
Holding at the sides provides a grip challenge and overhead carries give us a core strength and balance challenge. Regardless of style carries teach you to engage the body as a single unit, especially a strong upper back and core.
By simply taking two simple exercise pairings and we can look to challenge our self in new ways. Despite on the outside this method looking easy, it is anything but. Simplicity in exercise can be liberating. Now go forth, squat and carry.
This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through.