We have all seen people in the gym just walking around carrying weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells, and maybe even sandbags. It may look easy since they are just walking, but carries are a complex exercise that, when you give it a try, you will realize are actually pretty challenging. Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them!
Ways to Carry Weight
There are several different carries:
- Farmer’s carry: Two heavy kettlebells or dumbbells, one held in each hand.
- Suitcase carry: One heavy kettlebell or dumbbell, held just on one side.
- Racked carry: Two kettlebells or dumbbells, held in the clean position in each hand.
- Waiter walk: One kettlebell or dumbbell held overhead.
- Bottoms-up carry: Kettlebell held upside down. The bigger part of the bell is in the air.
- Rack and suitcase: One kettlebell is held in the racked position while the other is in the suitcase position.
- Rack and waiter: One kettlebell is in the racked position, while the other is in the waiter position.
Reasons to Add Them to Your Workouts
Carries are total-body exercises that have many benefits. Here are five reasons you should add them to your workout.
- Work capacity—do total-body work. If you want to work on building overall strength, adding farmer’s carries or any type of carry to your routine will be beneficial. It’s a total-body exercise that should not be left out. They are taxing and will help increase your heart rate.
- Improve grip strength. Carrying weight is one of the best exercises to improve your grip strength. Farmer’s carry really works in the development of your grip and the strength of your forearm. If you want to step it up and really challenge your grip, try kettlebell bottoms-up carries.
- Help with your posture. Doing carry exercises forces you stand upright. If you round your shoulders and have a forward head position during the carry, you will not be able to hold the weight. The carry forces you into good posture and helps build posterior strength (for example, the backside).
- Build a stronger core. No matter which type of carry you choose to do, your core is firing and working. If you choose to do a carry on one side like the suitcase carry or single-arm racked walk, you will really feel your oblique muscles working.
- Shoulder health: Farmer’s carries help build shoulder stability. Gripping the weight turns on the rotator cuff and shuts off the deltoid, allowing the shoulder to get into the right position.
Carries are one of the most functional and effective exercises. You should add them to your program if you are not already doing them and see the many benefits in a short time!
This blog was written by Kaci Lierman, Health Fitness Instructor. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.