Heavy carries are one of my absolute favorite exercises ever. They are challenging metabolically and muscularly, they are incredible “core” work, and it doesn’t get much more “real-world" than having to carry odd, heavy objects (ever tried to move a latex mattress? YIKES!) For real, though, picking up heavy things is not only fun, it's functional.
Most of you are probably familiar with a basic Farmers Walk exercise where you pick up dumbbells, kettlebells, plates, or farmer walk implements and carry them for each time or distance.
Today I am going to introduce you to 3 of my favorite carry variations that you may not have seen. Keep in mind that these are not for beginners. You should have at least a year or more of lifting under your belt, and be cleared to do deadlifts and Turkish Get-Ups before attempting these exercises.
The first exercise is called a goblet carry. It’s very simple and you can use a dumbbell or a kettlebell. It doesn’t get much easier than this. You simply pick the weight up in the goblet position, and start walking (as shown by my buddy, Kevin Carr, in the video below). In this photo, Jen Sinkler demonstrates the Goblet Carry hand positions for a dumbbell and kettlebell, respectively.
1. Brace your core! Stay very stiff and rigid in your core during this whole movement.
2. Pull your ribs and your pelvis towards each other! This will help your lower back stay in a solid position.
3. Stay up tall (don’t lean back)! It’s easy to lean back and hang on your spinal erectors during this movement. Stay long and tall through your spine so that doesn’t happen.
This can be done with a straight bar or a trap bar as shown in the video. The bar can be deadlifted from the ground or from blocks, as shown. Similar to above, you simply deadlift the weight up, and start walking. You can walk for time or distance. It’s up to you. If the weight is extremely heavy, then set the weight down and turn around, and pick it up again. If the weight is not exceptionally heavy, then you can turn around with it in your hands as shown in the video.
1. Brace your core! You should stay very tight throughout the hold movement.
2. Squeeze the bar and pull your shoulders back and down! This will help you hold onto the weight and put your shoulders in a good position.
3. Walk under control at a moderate pace! Do not rush as you do not want the weight to get away from you.
I had this nutty idea the other day to do a Turkish Get-Up, then halfway through when I was standing with the weight overhead, to do a Waiter Walk, and then TGU the weight back down. I thought of this because I was wanting to improve my shoulder stability, but the heaviest weight I can press or snatch overhead is 24kg/53 pounds. So the lightbulb went off when I was doing TGUs and realized that I can easily do a TGU a 65 or 70-pound kettlebell, so that would be another way to get the weight overhead.
Keep in mind, this should not be attempted with a max weight. In fact, start with about 40 to 50 percent of your TGU max (so if the most you have done is a 20 kg/44-pound kettlebell, start with 15-20 pounds). You can work your way up once you’re more comfortable with the movement.
1. Take your time! This is not a race, and this movement should be very controlled.
2. Ribs down! Think of pulling your ribs down towards your pelvis.
3. Shoulder packed! Think of pulling your shoulder blade back and down.
There you go—three different carry variations for a stronger core! Give them a try in your next workouts and let us know what you think!
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