Loaded Carries: The Secret To Getting Really Strong

Most gyms in the industry are offering a wide range of stationary machines so you can “hit” every muscle in the body. This is OK if you want aesthetic performance, but if you want an #alldaystrong body, this isn’t the best way to go about gaining it. Whatever your main goal is, I think that everybody wants to be stronger and faster in their everyday life. That too is the main purpose of our bodies.

To have the strength to endure an everyday life situation, not just for lifting heavy stuff for 1, 3 or 5 reps. I like that type of training, but when you pack your backpack with some weight (army standard issue is 40kg of gear) and you have to march up to the hills and meadows, I think that is the real deal. So these routines will give you some ideas how to prepare you for the real training sessions.

Why have loaded carries in the first place?

Your grip is one of the best training partners. You can have a strong body but with a weak grip, you can’t operate with weights and object around you. Also, your grip is connected to your core strength and shoulder health. If you have clients with shoulder problems, test the grip on both sides and you will see the difference or weakness on the side of the injured shoulder.

A kettlebell is a great tool for that task. It comes with a handle so it is similar to the bags, wheelbarrow but also you can load your torso similar to chopping wood or carrying a sleeping child. The most basic loaded carry is like performing a farmers walk with either two or a single kettlebell. Just lift two bells and walk with them by your side. With my clients, I call this a moving plank exercise or some sort of dynamic stability of the midsection. The goal would be to walk with your Bodyweight, in either hand for as long as you can.

To perform a loaded clean, clean the bells and walk tall and proud, do not break the form and do not rest with the elbows on you pelvis during the walk. First, try this with the one hand and switch it after some time and continue to walk. This is also a good drill to teach your client the proper position of the bell for the clean.

Try this with your clients:

  1. Start with one clean and then walk (choose a distance) and then do two cleans and return to start position and do three cleans. Then switch with your partner. If you are feeling fresh you can add some planks, bodyweight squats while you are waiting your turn. Avoid grip demanding exercise like swings and pull ups. There is nothing more functional than with weight above your head. Walking with weight above your head is a great drill for healthier and stronger shoulders.
  2. Press your preferred kettlebell weight for max reps and count the time for how long you are pressing the bell.
  3. After you press overhead and walk with it for longer than you are pressing it. You can perform the same workout scheme with cleans as you can with the press. Press the bell overhead and walk, then press it twice and walk back and then press it for the third time. Add some goblet squat in between the sets for more fun. If you really want to add some pull ups.

With two bells you can mix clean and overhead press at the same time.

  1. At starting position clean two bells and then press just one bell. Walk to the marked position and then make the press (with racked kettlebell) and rack the bell (which is in an overhead position) and walk to the starting position and put the bells down. Also, you can add reps to your press if you like it.
  2. Grab the bell in the goblet style manner and walk with it. This is a great drill for beginners because it reinforces the anterior core but also shoulders and upper back. If you want to prepare your clients for the kettlebell press, add a two hand press or a torch press. You press the bell overhead. This is a real life situation for your everyday clients. Sometimes I get them the walk with slightly bent knees or I change the distance between the bell and torso.

Always use common sense when you teaching your clients.

Loaded Carries: The Secret To Getting Really Strong | Strength Matters
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Loaded Carries: The Secret To Getting Really Strong | Strength Matters
People often ask the secret to getting really strong. With a simple answer, I always reply, do loaded carries. Loaded carries are often the missing piece of the training puzzle that carry over into real everyday life. Perfect for the aspiring Everyday Athlete.
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