Daily Dose of Coach #120: Why We Carry


"What's the point of this," Is usually one of the first questions I get from my clients when asking them to do suitcase or farmers carry. My short response is it's a full body exercise that teaches you to maintain strong posture and improves your grip strength.

But the main reason I use them is because they are one of the most fundamental, bang-for-your-buck-exercises you can do.  Carrying is a fundamental activity that's become more of a lost art.  Besides carrying groceries from the car from time to time, carrying doesn't happen too much, especially carrying heavy weight.

Carrying is not only fundamental but also provides the training effect of muscle gain, fat loss, total body strength, core strength, improved posture, as well as some intense metabolic effects. If you've ever tried carrying heavy weight for 80-100 yards, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Like all great exercises, if they aren't done correctly they are just another pointless way to make you tired, hurt or both.  During a suitcase carry (holding one kettlebell or dumbbell at the side) do the following:

1.  Pick up the kettlebell with one hand using your legs and hips.  When picking up the weight extend through your hips and exhale, sticking your other hand out as the counter weight. 

2. While walking, do your best not to lean to one side or get move your same side shoulder towards your ear.  The goal is staying as neutral as possible in good posture with you shoulders down and back.

3.  Walk the given distance, put the weight down and pick it back up with the other hand.

4.  Carry for 40-100 yards each arm. Generally, males can use a 50-80lb range while females can use a 25-60lbs range.

Start adding carry's to your workout.  Not only will you start to become the hero of your family when you're carrying all the grocery's in at once, but you'll also see and experience the great training effects as well.