Exercises I Used During My Playing Days, Wished I Had Incorporated While Playing, & Will Continue to Use: Loaded Carries

My hope is that by now you have a clear understanding about the purpose behind my website – this is the channel I want to use on a regular basis in order to help young athletes and women become a stronger and better version of themselves. 

I know that some of you have no intention of making a division 1 or national team roster, but I do know that most of you that read my material want to move, feel, and perform better than you currently do.

Since hanging up my boots, it’s become my sole purpose to help as many young athletes and women fearlessly step up to the barbell, kettlebell, and dumbbell in order to find their inner athlete and gain an understanding of their own body and it’s capacity to perform.

So,

Going forward one to two times per month I’m going to provide you with an exercise that I used during my playing days, wish I incorporated while I was playing, and exercises that I will continue to use forever.

Let’s get started.

 

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Photo Credit: QuickMeme

 

I’ve had the fortune of being exposed to some top-notch strength and conditioning coaches throughout my career. In turn, this has exposed me to some great programming and exercises that improved my athleticism and kept me injury free.

One exercise I wish had been incorporated during my playing days are loaded carries. Loaded carries have been a staple in the Strong Man competitions and were popularized a handful of years ago by renowned strength coach, Dan John.

Just so we are on the same page a loaded carry is picking up something heavy (ie. dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell) and walking around with it.

This exercise has direct carry over to everyday life. We all pick things up and carry them on a daily basis (i.e. groceries, laundry or backpacks). My favorite aspect of loaded carries is that they are a great developer of overall strength, which has positive correlation to performance on the field.

As we all know if you want to run faster, jump higher, and move better than you need to be strong. Loaded carries are a great starting point to achieve this.

However, you can’t be strong without being stable and the loaded carries will help create stability in the hips, core, and shoulders.

There are many variations of loaded carries – today we’ll focus on my three favorites.

 

One-Arm Farmer’s Walk (You might also see it referred to as a Suitcase Carry)

I prefer the one-arm variation as it challenges core stability in the form of anti-lateral flexion – meaning your oblique’s on the opposite side of the weight are working hard to prevent your body from bending to the side.

The Ins and Outs

  • Grab a kettlebell that is ¼ or ½ of your bodyweight in one hand. Don’t load these too heavy, you want to make sure you’re maintaining good posture throughout.
  • Grip the bell hard, carry the bell as if you were carrying a suitcase and walk.
  • Don’t allow the bell to pull your shoulder down. Instead think of shrugging your shoulder slightly.
  • Stand tall, but not so tall where you find yourself exposing your ribs or hyperextending your back. A good way to think about this is by pulling your ribcage down while bracing your core.
  • Don’t allow your body to bend towards the side you’re carrying the bell. Maintain an upright position.
  • While walking pretend you’re walking on a tight rope – one foot in front of another in a controlled manner.
  • Switch hands and repeat.

 

 

One-Arm Waiter Carry

This particular carry involves using a lighter load as your holding the weight overhead making it a great variation for improving shoulder health and challenging your shoulder stability.

The Ins and Outs

  • Grab a kettlebell and press it overhead as if you were carrying a tray.
  • Grip the bell tight and keep your arm straight overhead while walking.
  • Make sure you aren’t shrugging your shoulder instead think about maintaining stability throughout your torso and shoulder.
  • Maintain an upright position – not allowing your lower back to arch or your body to bend to the side.
  • While walking pretend you’re walking on a tight rope – one foot in front of another in a controlled manner.
  • Switch hands and repeat.

 

 

Cross-Body Carry

This variation combines both the one-arm farmer’s walk and one-arm waiter carry. Making it even more difficult because they require overhead shoulder stability and while challenging the core to prevent lateral flexion at the same time.

The Ins and Outs

  • Grab one kettlebell (usually a lighter load) and press it overhead.
  • Grab another kettlebell (this one can be a heavier load) and grip it next to your body as if you’re carrying a suitcase.
  • Grip both bells tightly.
  • Stand tall and strong – not allowing your lower back to arch or your ribs to flare.
  • While walking pretend you’re walking on a tight rope – one foot in front of another in a controlled manner.
  • Switch hands and repeat.

 

 

Feel free to incorporate these into your warm-ups or at the end of a training session. These are just a few variations I love and use regularly. Give them a try and let me know what you think. If you have another variation that you love and find beneficial let me know by leaving a comment below. Get creative.

 

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