Let's talk some more about equipment for the wheelbarrow GPP. Last issue we discussed the all-important and necessary wheelbarrow. Now let's talk about another piece of equipment that is needed and helps complete the Wheelbarrow GPP: weight!
Weight is one of the main ingredients that helps make wheelbarrow GPP a successful and necessary component of any training program. Weight can make the wheelbarrow GPP session go smooth or make it unbearably hard. Weight, along with the element of time, which we will discuss in detail at a later date, helps govern the intensity of the wheelbarrow GPP.
As for what kind of weight to use, it is entirely up to you and what you have available to use. Initially I used some old concrete and landscaping blocks that I had laying around. After weighing them on the scale we have here at the Athletic Performance Center, I then used them in whatever manner I needed to based on the weight requirements for that day's training session. As I soon discovered, especially with the winter weather here in Indiana, water would get into the blocks and freeze and consequently crack the blocks and they would break off. Another thing the blocks had a tendency to do was slide in the wheelbarrow. When I would go and pick up the wheelbarrow to start the GPP session, some of them would slide to the front.
Some other weighty items to use are dirt, sand or any other object that you would like to haul around for 5-15 minutes. Being a left brain person and having a background in engineering before I became a chiropractic physician, I am always interested in numbers. Any kind of numbers. That means when I am out there performing the wheelbarrow GPP, I have a strong desire to know how much weight I am pushing around. Therefore, utilizing sand or dirt wasn't an option for me since I would not know exactly or even have a close approximation on how much the weight was.
Another type of weight I use occasionally is of the Homo sapien variety. It does not slide when you pick the wheelbarrow up, it conforms easily to the tray of the wheelbarrow and it even talks back to you, encouraging you as you push the weight around. The main problem with this type of "live" weight is it is not always available when you need it. Personally I use my children, knowing their bodyweights well and adding it to the other weight I already have in the wheelbarrow. My children are usually with us on the weekends and ask to ride and be a part of the weight load. What a great way to bond with your children!
An additional method is to have someone weld a post in the wheelbarrow tray (trusting, of course, you have one with a metal tray!!) to be able to stack weight plates on top of. Make sure they also weld a few small strips (3 works great) pointing out from the post, approximately 120 degrees from each other, on the bottom of the tray so you can get your fingers under the bottom plate to lift it out. The only issue with using plates is having to carry them outside every time you want to use them (not a problem for Renegade athletes!!), unless you just leave them outside, in which case, they will eventually get rusty. The other type of weights mentioned so far have just been left outside. What we did was buy some old, used plates, leave them in the shed outside and retrieve them when we needed them.
A final weight-type suggestion comes from a good friend and patient of mine, Mr. Tom Young. He suggested using rock salt bags. You know, those large, bright yellow bags you pass by when you go into a grocery store or local home-improvement store. They are easy to stack, stay outside well, and if you buy the Morton variety, they will last a long time since the plastic is generally thicker than the other brands.
The other benefit is if you have a water softener, you can get more for your money now since each bag will have two purposes: make you a better athlete/person and then help clean you up after the workout. Keep on pushing!
The Athletic Performance Center (APC) is offering sport-specific performance training, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, and one-on-one 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! 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.