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Let's Talk Loaded Carries

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

If you know anything about the way I train and write training programs, then you know I love loaded carries. I love all types of loaded carries, and all different things to carry. Who doesn’t love picking up something heavy and moving a long distance? It is a very empowering thing to do.


That’s not what we are here to discuss, what we are here to talk about is why you should do loaded carries. We will also talk about some of the different types of loaded carries.


Muscles worked

The quick answer, all of them. With carries we are working every muscle beneath where the load is held. Yes, the load is held in your hands, usually at your side. The weight is then transferred up your arm to your shoulder and pressed back down into your entire body.


Every muscle from your shoulders to your feet are used to help stabilize and move your body.


Why do loaded carries?

We are taking the most used exercise in the world, walking, and adding a load to it. Find something else that trains you better for life. An added benefit of heavy carries is the bone crushing grip.


If you do get asked why are you doing those? Here is how you should answer it every time.


We workout and go to the gym to be more functional in life. We run and walk, we squat, deadlift, bench press, and do pull ups. All great and life mimicking movements. However, the one thing we do everyday and almost all day, loaded carries, we never train.


Let’s get those loaded carries in.


This would be a good time to say, with all carries we want to stay upright. We do not want to lean to either side, forward or backward. If we are leaning then the weight is too heavy and we need to grab a lighter weight.


Here are some of the different carries we can practice.


Farmer carry

This is a two handed carry. You will carry a weight on each side. This is going to be the heaviest one since you have a load in each hand. You may not be able to carry as far as the other carries due to where the weight of this carry is held.


Suitcase carry

This is a single hand carry. Think carrying a briefcase at your side. This is a personal favorite due to the crossbody loading of the movement. This one is also the most taxing on your core muscles. You should feel this one pulling you to one side.


Goblet carry

This is a two handed front carry with a weight chest height. You are holding the weight like you are about to do a goblet squat. If you are planning to do a Spartan Race you need to do a lot of these. This one is very taxing on your lower back.


Rack carry

This is the single arm front carry. This can be done with a kettlebell or a dumbbell. The weight will be held shoulder height with the elbow bent in your front rack position. This is another must do if you plan to do a Spartan Race. This one is not as taxing on your lower back as the goblet carry, it does hit your abdominal muscles a lot more.


Overhead carry

This is a two handed carry where you hold a weight overhead directly above your shoulders. This can be done with a barbell, weight plate, two dumbbells, or two kettlebells.


Waiter carry

This is the single hand version of the overhead carry. This can be done with a single kettlebell or dumbbell.


There are many different types of loaded carries we have to choose from. The loaded carry is a very functional movement. It is something we do in everyday life and we lack preparing for it. Next time you are at the gym and you have no idea what to do. Just pick up heavy things and walk with them. That is a much better workout then what most everyone else is doing.


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