Did you try it yet? If you did, what did you think? Pretty amazing what this new exercise does to you for only a short period of time! Were you sore the next day? I am after doing wheelbarrow GPP yesterday. Not really sore, but enough to know I did some wheelbarrow work.
The Importance Of Form
One of the questions I get is why is this form of weighted GPP important? There are several reasons. One of them is the walking for a period of time with a load. One of the main exercises I give to my acute pain and even chronic pain patients at first is walking. Why? The reason can be figured out by placing your own hands and fingers on your lower back at about the waist level, just on either side of your spine. Now walk. What do you feel?
You will feel the muscles on either side of your spine contracting and relaxing opposite each other. This action helps force blood to the area, bringing important nutrients to the various structures. This in turn helps remove inflammation and swelling. Walking also forces motion into the various joints. Now what does this have to do with wheelbarrow GPP? The same actions, motions and fluid dynamics occur during and after wheelbarrow GPP as they do when you are just plain walking around the park. By adding a load to your walking, it will cause a larger amount of blood and nutrients to flow to these structures.
An example of this occurred several days ago. I had just finished an intense deadlift/lower back workout and felt tight in the lower back region. As I started to walk with the wheelbarrow, I felt it start to loosen up and could feel less stiffness. I also felt a small "pump" if you will, in the lower back musculature. After finishing with the wheelbarrow GPP, my lower back was still tired from the effects of the workout, but I felt looser and had more range of motion.
The next day I was considerably less sore than I would have imagined I would be with the kind of intense workout I had the day previous. By increasing the blood flow to the area with an exercise of low intensity, such as wheelbarrow GPP, it helped to remove any metabolic waste products that were in the region, such as lactic acid, and helped replenish the depleted nutrients that were needed for repair.
Another reason this new form of weighted GPP is important is what this exercise does for your grip strength. I have always had a good grip. This has made it even better! As I have already discussed above, the lower back region is constantly contracting and relaxing during this entire movement. However, the hand, wrist and forearm muscles are in a constant isometric contraction during the entire time of the walk. As you increase the load and/or the length of time you are walking with the wheelbarrow, this area will adapt and grow due to the increase in volume and intensity.
This will have a direct carry-over effect to a lot of sports. Imagine a time where you had a good grip on an opponent's jersey as you were trying to bring them down, but lost the grip only to see them gain another 15 yards and a first down! Over a period of time by performing the wheelbarrow GPP with the sledgehammer GPP, your grip strength will inevitably increase due to the physical demands you have placed on it. Next time that same scenario presents itself, you will not lose and you will be able to hang on because of your increased strength!
Over time, repetitive sessions with the wheelbarrow GPP will slowly cause your back and trunk to become thicker with muscle as the muscles involved in supporting this weight while you are walking are forced to respond and adapt. For example, your trapezius muscles will explode along with your lower back muscles as they must react to this new stress placed on them. This will in turn make you stronger and better able to withstand injury on the playing field. Your sports performance will also increase!
The Athletic Performance Center (APC) is offering sport-specific performance training, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, and 1-on-1 personal training. Michael Robertson, MS, CSCS, a Ball State University graduate, is the Director of this new division. This is the place to go in the Midwest for the aforementioned services. More to come on this in the future! Look for an upcoming book about the Renegade approach to Strongman/Strongwoman training by Dr. Michael Hartle!
Look for an upcoming book about the Renegade approach to Strongman/Strongwoman training by Dr. Michael Hartle! I look forward to hearing your comments. Remember to Live the Code and always train hard and be relentless. That is the only way to train! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (To read previous articles of Sledgehammer GPP by Dr. Hartle, click here.)
Dr. Mike Hartle, D.C., D.A.C.B.N., C.C.S.P., C.C.N., C.S.C.S.