Which loaded carry is best for your fitness goal?

Feb 28, 2019

We’ve all been there before. We pick up bags of groceries and we think we can walk them from our car to our house without breaking a sweat. And then, when we finally put them down, we’re dead-ass tired because it was tougher than we thought. That in itself is a workout called a loaded carry. Walking while carrying a large load is a worthy challenge for burning fat, building muscle, and making you stronger.

In the gym, sadly, it’s one of the most underutilized workouts. But fear not, it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Learning how and when to use loaded carries can easily transform your workout routine, and may even get you the results you’ve been wanting all this time.

What is a loaded carry?

Calling it simple may be an understatement. It’s basically picking up something heavy, moving it somewhere, then putting it down. Despite looking and feeling easy, its benefits are staggering. You’re actually tapping a vast group of muscles in your shoulders, arms, traps, core, legs, and feet.

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What matters?

Placement

Where the weight rests is very important. Holding one big weight on one side will challenge your core while holding equal weights on both arms will evenly pull downward on the body.

Height

It’s not always about holding weights on your sides. You can put weights on your shoulders, or even overhead. Each move has its challenges.

Pro tip: The more the weight moves overhead, the bigger the challenge to your core.

Style

Different objects, as expected, will challenge your body in different ways. Barbells challenge your wrist and forearm stability. Kettlebells and dumbbells will pull directly down on your body. Thing is, you have to choose a load style that will help you focus on a specific muscle or area in your body.

And here’s how

Conditioning: Hex Bar Farmer’s Carries

Also called a Trap Bar, carrying the Hex Bar around will challenge your system to its limits. This stable piece will get you to load up on weight and elevate the stress on your body.

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Start with a loaded hex bar. Remember to try it first with a weight that you’re comfortable with. Lift it off the ground with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hands at your sides, walk forward. The goal is to cover at least 20 yards in a controlled fashion. 4 to 6 sets of this will do.

Shoulder Strength: Farmer’s Walks

It’s practically the same thing, with the main difference being that you’re using dumbbells and kettlebells. With individual weights on each hand, your shoulders and arms will do their own work, challenging your shoulder girdle.

Start with relatively heavy dumbbells, and, of course, have one on each hand. Once you’re comfortable with your stance, slowly walk forward while maintaining control of the weights, keeping your hands at your sides. 20 yards again in 4 to 6 sets.

Core Strength: Racked Carries

Testing the core with more attention than it’s used to means developing strength. The Racked Carries need you to have your weights on your shoulders, and the challenge is to not have your lower back collapse. For your own sake, start with light weights on this one. It will still challenge your core and reap some core stability benefits.

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Start by lifting dumbbells or kettlebells off the ground, feet shoulder-width apart. Next, lift them to your collarbone on each side, making sure your palms should face each other. Your arms need to be tight to your body to maintain some tension in your mid-back. Once you’re comfortable standing with those weights, start walking. 4 to 6 sets of 20 yards.

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