Want To Improve? Add Loaded Carries

loaded carries

Loaded carries have been around for a very long time. Moving things from one point to another. There is your loaded carry. There are not many movements out there that are more functional. Picking things up, walking with them to a different location and putting that thing down again, and repeat. I do not think it gets much more primal than that.

Loaded carries are a great way to get in some serious conditioning while training strength at the same time. That translates into a bigger, faster, stronger athlete. The loaded carry is great for building up all the aspects an athlete needs, including Posterior chain development, grip strength, core development, improved conditioning, and coordination/balance.

Posterior Chain Development

Moving forward with weight with a neutral spine, packed shoulders, and tight glutes make it easy for you to develop every muscle from your heels all the way to the top of your head. A strong posterior chain is going to increase your athletic abilities.

Grip Strength

Farmers walk/suitcase carries are some of the greatest ways to increase your grip strength. Having to squeeze and hang on to a load for as long as it takes to complete the trip can be extremely taxing on the grip and hands as a whole. If you want to increase your bodies grip strength you can simply start carrying dumbbells around the room or if you are lucky enough to have a set of farmers handles you should add those to your program asap.

Core Development

Moving the weight from one point to another is going to need your core to be strong. You need to be as stable as possible while moving the weight. Your limps should have a strong base to work from and that base is a strong core. That is weight loaded carries are going to build. Specifically unilateral (one hand or side) loaded carries.

Improved Conditioning

Adding weight to movement is going to ask more of your system. Loaded carries add more demand of your cardiovascular system. Your overall workload will increase. Your body is going to have to work harder to keep up with the external load during the carries. All of this if programmed correctly is going to add to your ability to produce force for longer periods of time during your competitions.


When you are moving around with a load you better make sure each step is calculated and placed in the right spot. If you are not right on with your movements you risk the potential for injury. Specifically using unilateral loaded carries. These one arm or one-sided movements put the body in an off-balance state off the bat. All this will force you to be coordinated and balanced without it you will fall over, or be sloppy with what you are doing. The act of moving deliberately is going to increase your bodies balance and coordination directly.

Examples Of Loaded Carries

Farmers Carry/Suitcase Carry

As stated before the farmers carry and the suitcase carry are a great way to increase your grip strength. The farmers carry is when you grab two implements and walk from one point to another. The suitcase carry is when you grab one implement and move from one point to another. You much have packed shoulders, a neutral spine, and an engaged core throughout the entire movement.

The pick up is the same as any deadlift. Once you have the load in the upright position moving the load should be of short quick steps. Long steps will force you to be off balance. Short steps will ensure your legs stay inside your base of support.

Overhead Carry

Moving with a load of overhead may sound like a dangerous position. You would be correct in that assessment. However, moving with a load in a correct overhead position is a great way to get time with load overhead. That time spent in the locked out position is going to help create some good shoulder stability and strength. The rules for the carry remain the same as the farmers carry.

The only change will be how you get the load overhead. If you are using a barbell you can use the clean or a rack to get it from the shoulders to overhead. If you are using a kettlebell or dumbbell you can use two hands to get it to the shoulder and then press it overhead. Once it is overhead and secure you can use the same movements as stated prior.

Bearhug Carry

This is the carry that can be used with a sandbag or a stone. It is simply the act of carrying an object by hugging it. Much like the other movements the actual act of moving the load universal. It is getting the object into the position in which you can move it that is the difference maker.

When you are getting ready to do the bearhug carry you should learn all of the mechanics of the atlas stone load. Those sets of movements will get you set up for the proper position of the bear hug carry. If you are lucky enough to have long arms that can connect on the other side of the object then you should use that to your advantage.

Rack Carry

The rack carry is when you move the load from the shoulder. The front rack position if you will. Another movement that can be done with both arms or with a single arm. I will state it one more time. The actual act of the movements will remain the same as others. If you are going to do it from the shoulders bilaterally you will need to use a barbell. A barbell can be brought to the shoulders using a clean or from a rack.

When you want to train it unilaterally it is best done using a kettlebell. A kettlebell can be brought to the shoulders using both hands or you can use the kettlebell clean. Once the load is on the shoulders you can lock it down and get the movement going.


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