The Hand Truck Workout

by George Corso on March 24, 2015

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George Corso Handtruck Workout

My clients count on me to be an innovative trainer. In fact, I’ve always enjoyed finding new and effective ways to work with people way before the trend of ‘being different just to be different’ became popular. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when my client Lorraine came in for her training session at my studio carrying a dolly that she grabbed from her dumpster at work. Her dad had made it but decided to get rid of it so she brought it with her and said “I have a very bad feeling that you can make good use of this”. Immediately my wheels started turning with all the fun ways I could use this thing. I took my time and experimented. I found movements that were safe and distinctly purposeful for my clients.

After a lot of thought and even more practice I came up with 24 useful ways to train with the dolly. Most of them stem from the prone position but each one remains unique with different neuromuscular firing patterns. Like all bodyweight training regimes, every exercise is a progression to more advanced movements. These movements are all accomplished with a “slow is smooth, smooth is fast approach. (Thank you Phil Dunphy.) They all not only require stability, but also an understanding of how the muscles of the body have to behave as one cohesive unit.

Here are the exercises in order from beginner to advanced.

THE PLANK WALK. I believe that the plank walk is the most important exercise of the 24 exercises I have listed. This one movement will set you up for all of the rest. It is excellent for developing control and discipline and it teaches a client how to become patient when learning and performing a new exercise. The plank walk is performed by keeping the body rigid while the forearms are resting on the dolly. The only parts of the body that are moving are the feet and ankles while you SLOWLY move towards your destination. It is imperative that this be mastered before moving on.

The next 4 videos demonstrate the plank walk:

  1. Plank Walk
  2. Injured Bear Crawl
  3. Wheel Barrow
  4. Reverse Wheel Barrow

Series 1 Hand Truck Workout

Be sure to continue to move slowly during the next progression.

THE TRAVELING PUSHUP. Now we will be adding additional movements. In the introductory phase we kept the body rigid while traveling with the dolly. Next we will be moving the body in different planes of motion while emphasizing control. Bodyweight practitioners discipline themselves to move with utmost precision in order to reap the greatest rewards. This is important to convey to the newcomers to this kind of conditioning.

The next 4 videos demonstrate the traveling pushup variations:

  1. Traveling Pushups
  2. Travel Bus Driver Pushups
  3. Single Leg Wheel Barrow
  4. Rotational Wheel Barrow

Series 2 Hand Truck Workout

THE TRAVELING V WALK. During the next series of exercises there is more emphasis on the transfer of weight onto the shoulders. This series is ideal for the client who wants to progress to walking on their hands in an inverted position. These selected exercises will definitely help them attain that goal. The traveling v walk will specifically strengthen the wrists. It also aids in teaching the client the proper forward lean that is needed while also adding flexibility to the wrists.

The next 4 videos demonstrate the traveling v walk and the variations:

  1. Traveling V Walk
  2. Traveling Inch Worm
  3. Tuck Walk
  4. Swimmers


Series 3 Hand Truck Workout

THE 360. The next series is called the 360 because there is a shift from developing strength towards developing stability.   These exercises require control and concentration from the client. There is an emphasis on 100 percent body compression as well.

The next 4 videos demonstrate the 360 and its variations:

  1. 360
  2. Side Walk
  3. Bus Drivers
  4. Single Arm Walk

Series 4 Hand Truck Workout

THE LEG SEQUENCE. This series emphasizes balance and leg strength. I was trained as a track sprinter and have come to the conclusion that it is important to isolate the hamstrings and fire up those fibers first by performing some bridges before moving on to squatting and lunging techniques.

The next 4 videos demonstrate the leg sequence:

  1. Hip Bridges and Leg Curl
  2. Straight Leg Bridge
  3. Injured Animal Run
  4. Pistol Sweeps


Series 5 Hand Truck Workout

PRESSING. These last 4 exercises will require that clients move while pressing. Your clients will need adequate shoulder stability and full body awareness before moving on to this advanced series. If your client has stalled in a particular calisthenic movement, these applications may help him or her to achieve a goal that at one time seemed impossible, or your client may just feel like these are achievements on their own! Either way, whatever your level, proceed slowly and own the move!

The next 4 videos will demonstrate the press sequence

  1. Hop off the Press
  2. Rotational Hop Press
  3. Sweeping One Arm Press
  4. Press and Slide

Series 6 Hand Truck Workout

You can pick up a dolly at the local hardware store and easily incorporate it into your training. Use your imagination and come up with variations specific to your clients’ needs. I use this piece of equipment in group training, with one on one, and during my own training. My clients love to tell me how much they have come to hate the dolly but always admit in the end that they love the results they are seeing!!!!

 

***

George Corso, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, PCC, RKC, I360, WKC, is the co-owner and founder of CORSO. Over the last 15 years, George has been a successful varsity track and field coach, working with athletes to reach district and state championships. He actively trains in the art of Jeet Kune Do (JKD) as a level 3 student. George can be contacted at george@corsofit.com.

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  • Gerri Lee Schafer

    cool

    • George Corso

      Thank you Gerri!

  • Coach J Moss

    Good stuff sir! I like the attention to pace and control.

    • George Corso

      Thank you Coach Moss! That is one thing I preach day in and day out from here and that is all about control, own the move. Show me you can move slow and smooth. A strong person can lift a lot of weight? The strongest control their own.

  • Thanks for sharing your creative workout, George! 🙂

    • George Corso

      Thank you very much Adrienne! Seeing the level at which you train that means a lot coming from you! Have you tried any of these yet? I would love to hear your professioak feed back from it! Thank you again!

  • Les Gross

    Wow, I never thought to use one of these, what a great idea. This, a pullup bar, a floor, and a bag of rocks (if you enjoy lifting), are the best setup I can imagine.

    • George Corso

      I agree Les! With calisthenics the sky is the limit. A hand truck a swing set even the tail get of a truck all turn out to be great ways to train your own most weight. The world is our gym!

  • Matt Schifferle

    Next stop the hardware store on the way home tonight!

    Thanks George!

    • George Corso

      Thank you Matt! We’re you ever able to get to a hardware store and pick one up? Big so how did you like some of the movements? Did you think of any other ones? I’m about to pick up 11 more for our new training facility as well!

  • einheit

    Great ideas here!

    • George Corso

      Thank you!

  • Mike Escobar

    True to the spirit of calisthenics! Using your environment and the tools you find lying around to create an awesome workout. Thanks for sharing – will have to play around with some of these myself …

    • George Corso

      Thank you Mike! Calisthenics is such a wonderful thing because there are no limits to what one can come up with. Have you been able to trybanybof these out yet? I would love to hear others feed back on this.

  • Eric Buratty

    If there were ever an obscure tool lying around in the shed, we could count on George to find it, and put it to good workout use! Thanks for your time investment in putting those demo videos together. I don’t think people realize what all goes into that process to appreciate it.

    Anyways, those press and slides from the advanced series look pretty vicious. I’m also digging the hamstring series since I’ve been trained with an athletic background as well. The bottom position of that straight leg bridge could have some potential carryover for aspiring L-sit enthusiasts.

    Was great meeting you at the PCC event in Virginia last year–you have a wealth of knowledge–keep up the great work!

    –Eric

    • George Corso

      Thanks you Eric! That was a extremely flattering comment. It was more then a pleasure meeting and training with you last year in the PCC in Alexandria, Virginia. I agree with you as an athlete myself that the hamstring are so important in speed and movement. This is what I’m puah towards my athletes the most.

      Te lateral stability walks are amazin as well! Try a little added pressure on them. Add a light or medium band on your wrists forces you to have more control ad completely changes the exercise

  • Americanadian Badass

    Moving dolly bridges coming up. Love it. Just the thought how much more challenging the lateral instability is going to make things gives me goose bumps.

    I also know for the next few days im going to be looking at all kinds of things wondering how i can use them in a work out.

    Fantastic- and inspired- post.

    • George Corso

      Thank you! How have you enjoyed working on the doll this far? I can begin to tell you how much it ha helped me in my own personal workouts and that of my clients. We have leaned so many progreasions on this piece of equipment. I love the moving dolly bridges a ton! own it!

      • Americanadian Badass

        After busting my face a couple of times, i love it. I love the challenge of putting myself in a very disadvantaged position and the dolly is perfect for that.

        This kind of stability and purposeful, slow control is, in my humble opinion, the other half to Coach Wade’s explosive techniques.

        It seems my list of “required” equipment is growing though: pull up bar, rings, paralettes, and now a moving dolly.

  • George Corso

    I would like to apologize to everyone for my lack of responding to everyone extremely kind words about my article. I would like to also thank all of you for your time in reading it. Lastly, a big thank you to Al and Danny Kavadlo for always there amazing inspiration to keep pushing us forward to become better at what we all love to do.

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