Though it is not the most appropriate carry style when speed is required, the waist carry is a very economical approach, which should be preferred as the distance to be covered increases and time isn’t an issue. Apart from the practical aspect of the technique, if properly performed, this movement has great conditioning and postural benefits. The waist carry position can be assumed after a deadlift, lapping, or by simply grabbing the object if it is already resting on a elevated surface at a level close to the waist. If you are a beginner, choose a flat surface and a light, compact, smooth, easy-to-hold object.
Assume an efficient waist carry position. The hips are slightly pushing forward and the torso is slightly leaning backward, which helps support the load on the hips and keeping the combined center of gravity aligned with the feet. Both arms are lengthened to avoid unnecessary tensions in the arms and back.
While maintaining postural stability and avoiding any unwanted motion or loss of balance, shift bodyweight to one single foot and immediately extend the other foot forward.
Push off the back leg, especially from the ball of the foot, while making sure to keep your ankle very stable. Avoid bending your legs. Instead, focus on continuously driving the waist pushing the load forward. Always breath abdominally and preserve the starting posture as you are stepping forward.
This is what happens when you try to carry at waist level with a bad starting position, or if you lose position on the way.
Gravity combined with inefficient position will defeat you more surely than the weight that you carry. The hips are neutral or even going backward, providing no support to the load, forcing the arms to forcefully bend to prevent it from sliding down. Ultimately, posture is also compromised, creating intense, unnecessary, and unsustainable tensions in the whole upper body. Drop the load safely, rest a moment, and start again with greater focus on good technique.
It’s always better to get the position just right from the beginning for maximum safety and minimal energy expenditure.
Once you have the basic technique down, there are many ways you can increase the challenge:
- Try practicing with objects that are difficult to grab and hold onto (e.g. stones, sandbag, etc.).
- Try it while balancing on a narrow surface. Make sure it’s safe, stable, wide enough and low enough for your skill level.
- As your skill improves, try it while walking on uneven surfaces, going uphill or downhill, or having to step over or under things.
- Work on your strength and conditioning by either lifting and carrying a heavier object, or walking a longer distance, and/or at a faster pace.
The waist carry is one of many carrying techniques taught in the MovNat curriculum. Each technique has unique benefits and some potential drawbacks depending on the circumstances. The key is that you know which technique is best to use in any given situation and how to perform it with the maximum amount of safety and the least amount of energy expenditure. This way, you’ll be able to do more work and get better results from your daily movement and training, while also minimizing your risk of injury.
- The Single Shoulder Carry Technique
- Lumbar Carry: How To Carry a Person or Heavy Object Efficiently
- How To Get Ridiculously Strong with Natural Movement
Note: This article contains material from Erwan Le Corre’s book, The Practice of Natural Movement.
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