It's surprising to me that more gym-goers don't perform loaded carry exercises. Occasionally you see someone walking around with one or two dumbbells, but most people spend their time on old-school ab exercises, like Sit-Ups or Crunches. As coach Dan John said, "Loaded carries are a secret because no one wants to do them."
A loaded carry involves carrying a heavy object for a specified distance or time. It could be dumbbells, a barbell, a trap bar or any number of other implements. Loaded carries are designed to give you a strong and functional core by increasing your core muscles' ability to prevent movement of your spine, especially with anti-extension (extending your lower back) and anti-flexion (leaning to the side).
Let's look at a person during an average day. He or she might have to carry a suitcase or a dufflebag with one hand or lug a bunch of grocery bags. You might not realize it, but these activities require core strength to keep your body stable and upright. Walking while carrying things is a way of life.
The same thing applies to sports. Unless you're in a strongman competition, you're probably not walking while carrying heavy weight in your sport. However, you still need to be able to keep your core tight and your back straight when loading up one side of your body during fundamental skills. Loaded carries keep you more resilient when you make unpredictable movements in your sport, and they help increase overall power.
Below you'll find loaded carries besides traditionial Farmer's Walks. Using different implements such as buckets challenges your core by forcing it to compensate against the shifting center of grvity.
Bucket Carries Up Hill/Down Hill
These will prepare you for any obstacle race and build grip strength. To finish the Super Spartan in Charlotte, N.C., we had to carry a bucket for nearly a mile. Being prepared is the key! Therefore, perform this and other variations for exceptional grip strength, forearm development, traps and core strength. Hold the handles on the bucket, squeeze and walk. Variations include the Bucket Hug and Walk and Bucket Shoulder Carries.
Wood Holds with Sprint
This complex is great for skill position players in football and for rugby players. If you're around some wood, grab it, hold it and run. If that's too easy, add a sled and sprint.
Zercher Holds While Walking
This complex relieves the boredom of performing Zercher Squats and their progressions in the gym. Place the bar in the cusp of your forearms and engage your core. Lunge up the hill breathing evenly and staying focused. I'm not a stickler on steps, but execute the movement as comfortably as you can. Performing the movement downhill is the trick. If your core is not tight and the bar is oddly placed, you'll fall flat on your face.
Focus on keeping an upright torso and an effective lunge pattern. I'm telling you, this is not for the weak. If you don't feel comfortable or lack the strength to perform this complex with weight, use a wooden stick to master the efficiency of the movement.
Overhead Walking Lunges
Same as above, but use the training plates as demonstrated in the above video.
Wheelbarrow Run Complex
With this complex, I wanted to get creative. There is nothing technical about it. If you are up to the challenge, follow the video and tailor it to fit your training needs.
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