Very few lifters work on their conditioning. It’s quickly becoming an overlooked aspect of training. After all, what we do is called strength and conditioning. But there seems to be a love-hate relationship in which conditioning is viewed as second fiddle to lifting weights and getting stronger.
I’m here to tell you that you can do both at the same time. Better yet, all you need is a standard wheelbarrow.
Wheelbarrow exercises organized into complexes offer a serious conditioning challenge. The exercises are similar to Farmer’s Walks, but the instability you must control adds a unique core control element. The tension created throughout your body increases testosterone production and builds muscle, making it a great way to finish off a workout.
Not to mention the conditioning element. Moving a weight at fairly high speeds over and over again will leave you gasping for air. It will develop your anaerobic energy system, which is needed for short bursts of speed and power. Also, your aerobic energy system will be engaged as you recover between sets.
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Should you try the wheelbarrow exercise complexes? If you’re an athlete, they are a great way to add variety to your training program. I especially like them to train for Strongman/woman competitions and even CrossFit events, since Wheelbarrow Walks are sometimes featured in these events. They are also a great way to see if your fitness level is up to par.
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- Pay attention to proper sprinting form. Keep a slight forward lean and drive backward through the ground to push the wheelbarrow forward.
- Keep your core engaged and your back flat.
- Start slow and gradually pick up speed as your control improves.
- Increase the loads gradually; remember, technique comes first.
- Tighten your grip to increase the tension.
- Pay close attention to the structure of the complexes in the video above.