The growing fitness trend known as Loaded Movement Training can be defined as, “…task-orientated movement patterning with resistance training (source).” This is a fancy way of saying “lifting and moving around with heavy objects.” Like most fitness trends this form of functional exercise is not new. Exercises like the farmer’s walk and heavy bag carries have been around since the ancient Greek Milo of Croton carried a growing calve around everyday. Total body workouts are generally the way to go, and Loaded Movement Training emphasizes this.
BENEFITS OF LOADED MOVEMENT TRAINING
According to Dalcourt, the benefits of loaded movement training include (Dalcourt 2013):
- Integration of a number of physiological systems: muscle, fascia and connective tissue, nervous and skin. (The largest organ in the body, skin is very elastic and multidirectional exercises can help improve its elasticity and appearance.)
- Lower compressive forces on the joints and skeletal structures of the body; traditional resistance training focuses on lifting heavy loads directly against gravity while loaded movement training focuses on movements through gravity, which increases tension on the fascia rather than compressive loading of the joints.
- Using a variety of loads combined with different starting positions and movement patterns can improve multidirectional stability, mobility, strength and power (ACE).
Total Body Workouts
The more muscles you engage with an exercise the harder you force your nervous system and skeletal system to work. This translates into greater increases in metabolic activity leading to muscle growth and fat loss. In layman’s terms, you turn in a fat burning machine!
Exercises like step-ups with dumbbells or a barbell, farmers walk, and bag carry will do this. Exercises such as leg curls and legs extensions will not. The exercises mentioned above don’t just work a particular muscle group; they work the body as a whole. Loaded Movement Training reminds us to avoid breaking workout routines into body part specialization that emphasize muscle group isolation. To instead perform total body workouts that treats it as a functional whole.
Buzzwords regularly come and go in the fitness world and “functional exercise” is one of these. Strictly speaking, most exercise is functional one way or another, but what people who advocate loaded movement training are getting at is this: exercises that tax your whole body with a load, with variable speed or multiple planes of movement are more effective than less functional exercise (source) .
Fitness Tips: Instead of going for your usual run try doing sets of 30-40 yard sprints while pulling a tire behind you or vertical jumps onto a low picnic table or bench.
Loaded movement training is less of an “emerging fad” and more of an old movement done by our ancestors. They had no problem staying lean and trim. They also lived through harsh conditions, diseases, and stressors. Go back in time and re-establish exercises that really make a difference in your metabolism and your ability to perform daily tasks.