This week I’m going to talk about a movement category that you may be missing from your gym routine and give you a few examples of how to implement heavy carries. This is something I have done on and off for many years in my strength training.
Lifting heavy barbells and dumbbells and doing bodyweight exercises in the gym is a great thing, in fact it is essential for the health and maintenance of your body. But what you may be neglecting is the basic human movement of carrying heavy things.
Carrying heavy objects recruits muscles in a different way than performing the basic push, pull, squat and hip hinge categories of movements that make up the majority of modern training. I’m not saying not to do these movements by the way, they MUST be done to create a strong and resilient body. Just don’t neglect heavy carries!
Carries can serve as a great warm up for the trunk muscles before heavy squats and deadlifts, for some conditioning work or as the main lift of the day.
Unless you have access to specialty farmers carry bars you can simply grab a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand and go for a walk. These can be done for time or for distance.
See how far you can go or how many lengths you can do in a given time frame (eg. 20-60 seconds) and then increase the weight the next week.
Try and improve your time to carry a given weight for a given distance eg. 50 meters, or the length of your gym.
These can be done the same way as the farmers carry but you are only carrying weight in one hand. These will really tax the lateral stabilizing muscles of the trunk and are a great way to get ready for heavy squats and deadlifts. Pick up a dumbbell or weight plate in one hand and pace the gym in between your warmup sets.
These can be done with a weight in one or both arms raised overhead and are a great option to warm up the shoulder stabilizers before pressing movements (bench press, dumbbell presses) or overhead work (overhead squats, snatches, jerks).
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