Move of the Month - Loaded Carries by James Stanton aka Evil Jimmi
Do you carry heavy stuff regularly? ...No?
Well, I have some good news for you! Including this one simple suite of exercises in your training will have a dramatic impact on your strength & conditioning, athleticism, and general health & well-being.
Ladies and gentlemen: welcome to the Loaded Carry.
I said "simple", right? Well it is. You basically just pick up something/things heavy (e.g. loading) and then move through space while holding it/them (e.g. carrying).
This isn't exactly string theory. However, there are some fine points you'll want to take note of.
Always make sure to engage your internal weight belt by activating your core stabilizers before picking up something heavy. The easiest queue I've found for this is to "pretend it weighs 700 pounds". No one is going to mess around when trying to pick up 700 pounds of anything. This also goes for setting the weight down. Don't get sloppy. With good form and technique loaded carries are a very safe way to level up.
Use "sip" breathing. This will ensure that you...
Maintain core tension and keep good posture while moving with the weight. Think of it as a moving plank. Keep your eyes on the horizon; chin parallel to the ground (if not a little bit tucked); and stack your ear/shoulder/hip/knee/ankle on either side of your body.
Pack your shoulders!
Grip tightly. No, really...CRUSH IT! Grip engagement will add to overall body tension, including core stabilization.
Use short, choppy steps -- especially if you have to turn at any point while carrying. You don't want any of those "CL" ligaments in your knee snapping like a broken guitar string. Again, with good form and technique loaded carries are a very safe way to level up. Be smart, not sloppy.
And don't forget to GO HEAVY!
The loaded carry is an implement agnostic exercise. Dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, weight plates, medicine balls, sand bags, slosh pipes, atlas stones, the bodies of your slain enemies -- you name the implement and I guarantee it will work...as long as it's heavy enough to be a challenge.
Did I mention to GO HEAVY!?!
I've found that the two easiest ways to program loaded carries into a training session are for distance and for duration/time. I suggest adding variations of each.
Want a real challenge? Try a mile of loaded carries a week for three weeks. That's just a little over 1,000 feet of carries (e.g. ten 100-foot trips) five days a week. Completely savage! But totally doable. And the changes in your body will be undeniable.
Don't take my word for it. Look up the work of Stuart McGill or Dan John -- or ask any strongman competitor for that matter. I didn't invent any of these exercises, but I can tell you from personal experience that including them as a regular part of your training system will make everything else in life much, much easier.
Check the video for some of my favorite loaded carries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtVj4GNmD0E