5 Loaded Carries for Conditioning

It’s no mystery that loaded carries have a multitude of uses. The fact that we are able to effectively check off multiple boxes in terms of benefits is an added bonus.

We know that loaded carries can help us to develop stability in all three planes of motion, but we often don’t consider the value from a conditioning standpoint.

Enter the “High Resistance Aerobic Method.” The purpose here is to improve the aerobic abilities of the fast twitch fibers, which means high power can be maintained longer.

The high resistance aerobic method works by recruiting high-threshold motor units and increases oxidative abilities of these fibers by supplying them with constant oxygen.

Some examples of modalities that can be used for this method include uphill sprints, sledpulls, very high resistance bike (Jamieson, 2009).

We can also use a variety of loaded carries that will fit the bill quite nicely as well as help our athletes develop core stability; from a maximal heart-rate perspective, performing sets of loaded carries will allow us to hover right on the anaerobic threshold line.

If you don’t believe me grab a set of heavy kettlebells and walk for 20s. You’ll be pretty winded, but not in the sense that you’re not able to repeat this effort for multiple bouts.

Movement Review of Loaded Carries


1. Single Arm Farmer Carry: No mystery here Рjust a good ole fashioned carry with a weight (dumbbells, kettlebells, farmer handles) in one hand. Perform sets that last around 20s with the heaviest weight you can handle, alternating between both sides evenly. Rest roughly 90s or until your heart rate is around 130-140. The single arm carries will get your heart rate up and also develop frontal core stability.


2. Front Rack Carry: Grab two kettlebells and place them in the front rack position. Your elbows should be in front, not flared out, and your ribs should be down/anterior core engaged. Same guidelines as above; perform sets that last around 20s with the heaviest weight you can handle. Rest roughly 90s or until your heart rate is around 130-140.

3. Asymmetrical Carry: With this variation, you’ll carry two kettlebells; one heavy and one lighter. You’ll hold one by your side (heavier kettlebell) and one in the Front Rack. You’ll carry an equal distance on each side using the same guidelines as the 1st two categories we mentioned.

4. Sledpull w. heavy medball against your stomach: For this variation, you’ll attach a light sled to your weight belt and grab a heavy medball (50#s or more). Make sure you start light with this one. This variation will likely get your heart rate up a lot higher than the first two variations, so the training recommendations are going to differ. You’ll want to perform 4 sets of 60 yards, resting 2 minutes between sets.

5. Sledpull w. two light kettlebells: For this variation, you’ll want to use the sled the same way you did for #4, except this time you’ll use two light kettlebells. For this variation, you’re going to go for max distance in 10 minutes, alternating between overhead carry, front rack carry, and farmer carry. You can rest as much as you need to between intervals in order to repeat your output for the duration. This can be used as a “fun” finisher after just about any training session.

Add these loaded carries to your repertoire and you’ll notice the carryover to other aspects of your performance almost right away, especially if you don’t already perform loaded carries on the regular.

Loaded carries are in an integral part of any intelligent training plan so make sure to devote some time to include them in your programming. There is a long list of variations too so don’t just perform the same variations each week. Get creative and have fun with it!

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