How to Enhance Your Whole-Body Strength Using Loaded Kettlebell Carries and The Spiderman Crawl
by Filip Dryla, RKC-II
Today, most cities have many well-equipped gyms. And the equipment at these facilities is designed to make training "smooth and easy". We are surrounded—nearly attacked—by innovative devices and ever more creative exercises which are supposed to miraculously strengthen the core, develop stability, improve mobility—and train the whole body.
Even though I don’t remember ever using a gym ball, BOSU or other special equipment (I hadn’t made a point to exclude them), I never had much difficulty doing bodyweight exercises like L-sits, strict pull-ups, pistol squats, handstands—even when I first started training. From the very beginning, I also haven’t used machines, and my training sessions have consisted of all-around exercises with weights such as: deadlifts, squats, bench press, military press and of course, basic bodyweight exercises
like pull-ups. Later, I added exercises with kettlebells to my training sessions. I soon realized that various loaded carries with kettlebells are the ultimate full-body multitasking compound exercises—and you can take them with you wherever you go. Walking with weights is easy and safe, and delivers a head-to-toe workout, but unfortunately this activity is often missing in traditional gym training.
Kettlebells also yields incredible improvements in cardio, endurance, balance, strength, and fat loss. Kettlebell training
also helps to maintain the proper posture, strengthens the grip, improves breathing, and of course, much, more.
Here are some example exercises based on walking with kettlebells:
The farmer’s walk, is a fundamental exercise which every trainer should know. Begin by standing between both kettlebells. After gripping the handles, stand up while making sure your shoulders are neutral and back. Your posture should be straight and your head up with eyes looking forward. Walk with short, quick steps, and don't forget to breathe!
Double Kettlebell Rack Carry
The double kettlebell rack carry is yet another relatively easy exercise. Clean two kettlebells to a rack position, then keep the kettlebells tight and steady. The extra load on your chest will create a respiratory challenge as well, so remember to stay calm and breathe while walking and bracing.
Double Kettlebell Overhead Walk
The double kettlebell overhead walk is another very effective exercise, and a little more advanced. Clean both kettlebells to the rack position, then press them overhead. Walk while keeping them overhead, and make sure to execute these movements properly and safely. Remember to keep the core stable, your shoulders neutral, and to keep breathing. This is a much tougher and more demanding exercise. Only attempt it if you are prepared for the movements, and have the shoulder mobility required to perform these movements correctly.
Even when I used and combined all of the kettlebell carries mentioned above, my training sessions still lacked some mysterious element for building every part of an athletic body—then I found the spiderman crawl.
The spiderman crawl is my favorite exercise because of its simplicity. Even though it is simple, you will need to have well developed mobility and stability to do it. To perform the spiderman crawl, place both of your hands and feet on the floor. Look forward, and while keeping your body as close to the floor as possible, crawl like Spiderman: Bend and drive your right knee forward and out to the to the side of your body until your knee is level or nearly level with your hips, or touches your elbow. Then, lift your left hand off the floor and move it forward about the same distance that your right foot moved forward. Place the left hand and right foot on the floor, then repeat with the opposite hand and foot to continue moving forward. How simple is that?
I decided to bring each of the exercises mentioned above together into a workout to build an athletic body. Here’s a video of the entire combination:
The exercises in the video are in the following order:
- Double kettlebell overhead walk
- Double kettlebell rack walk
- Farmers walk
- Spiderman crawl
One set consists of performing each exercise smoothly, one after the other without breaks for a distance of 30-40 meters each. Perform 6-12 rounds with 30-120 seconds rest between rounds.
The weight used is 80% 1RM kettlebell military press.
There are as many variations of exercise programs as people who create them. I’ve found that this combination works very well for me. It’s important to remember a few more things while working with kettlebells
, and in your training sessions: make sure you are using the right weights and let your body rest properly between rounds so that you can complete everything with good form. Otherwise, even a "simple" workout can have a painful surprise. Try it, and let us know how it goes!