4 Movements for Big Gains With Low Risk

These functional movements are safe, effective and low-tech options designed for maximum gains.

Logan Gelbrich, CCFT October 26, 2016

We know that functional movements are beautiful fitness choices for a number of reasons. But did you know that functional movements are theoretically safe at even super-maximal loads? Pulling on 150 percent of your one-rep max might not yield a rep, but it shouldn’t yield an injury, either (though the bar won’t move). The same can’t be said for the 150 percent of your one-rep max lateral shoulder raise.

Incorporate these exercises into your training regimen if you’re looking for movements with high return and low risk.

Sled drag: It’s just walking, after all. For maximum benefit, stand tall and walk (don’t run) heel to toe. This excellent hamstring and glute exercise is a winner whether you’re going light and long (like a mile of continuous walking) or heavy and short (like eight to 12 efforts for a couple of hundred feet with a couple of hundred pounds).

Airdyne: These machines are like awful baby sitters. With no instruction or skill, virtually anyone can get access to soul-crushing wind work on the bike.

Front carry: Selfishly, I’d like to see these done with a heavy sandbag or a keg for low-tech, high-return training. Similar to the sled drag, athletes will walk with an upright posture, pulling from heel to toe. Most applications will be heavier and incorporate faster turnover than the sled variation. With minimal skill, athletes of all levels can get extremely strong and extremely winded instantly.

Prowler push: If you’ve ever trained with a Prowler, you know its capacity for death and destruction. Regardless of the weight, the harder you push, the harder it pushes back. Any athlete with two working legs can dive deep into fitness gains without any consequences with this death tool.

Sometimes training is about maximum gain with the least effective dose. These four movements can wreck shop without wrecking your body with injuries seven days a week.

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About the Author

Logan Gelbrich, CCFT

Logan Gelbrich, CCFT

Logan Gelbrich, CCFT, is the owner of DEUCE Gym in Venice Beach, California and ORIGINAL Nutritionals, a CleanAthlete sports nutrition company. He's a four-year alum of the nationally acclaimed University of San Diego baseball program, as well as an ex-pro with the San Diego Padres as a catcher. In addition, he currently travels the world coaching the CrossFit Strongman Seminar.