Carry your weights

by Ross Curtis

Sometimes just one missing ingredient can ruin everything: flour when you’re cooking, ID at the airport, or rings on your wedding day (thankfully I did not screw that one up!).

And I am willing to wager there is one missing ingredient in your fitness regimen that might be ruining it all — and I promise it’s not what you think. This one ingredient can help you build muscle faster, disrupt homeostasis or create an optimal cellular environment within the body (heat and acidity), and drive you to your body composition dream. I know, I know; it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not, so read on.

First and foremost, the 7 primal movement patterns:

  1. Squat
  2. Bend
  3. Push
  4. Pull
  5. Lunge
  6. Twist
  7. Gait

These should ALL be a staple in your training programs… but gait, or human locomotion, is the one that typically gets overlooked for resistance training.

The loaded carry, aka “Gait with Weight,” is that one movement you aren’t doing that will push your fitness, body composition, or performance to the next level.

The loaded carry does more for the body than possibly any other loaded movement. It can develop athletic abilities, increase hypertrophic potential, improve strength gains, fine-tune motor control, speed up fat loss, and develop core stability like no other. I’ve personally seen individuals who could pick up 400 plus pounds and put it overhead and not be able to carry 100 pounds in each hand without looking like Gumby.

The true way to stabilize the body is through the anti-movement. Such as anti-rotation, extension, and flexion. The loaded carry, when done with its variations, can train all of those at once, while loading the entire skeleton the same way the squat or deadlift does.

And remember… this is all while walking or moving, the most “functional” movement of all time!

Loaded carries can be done in multiple ways that deliver results and can be catered to your specific goals:

Farmer carries are when you carry heavy weights at your side bilaterally, suitcase carries are where the heavy weights are unilateral in one arm, mid-rack is where the weight is in the front rack position at the shoulders, and overhead carries are where the weight is locked out above the head.

The common theme with the carry is HEAVY and cueing proper mechanics with ribs being down and the pelvis underneath you. This carry shouldn’t be a breeze; it should force you to stabilize, your heart rate should elevate, and it should feel like you will drop the weight. That’s how you know it’s working.

Do these carries for time, do them for distance, heck just pick something up that you haven’t before and hold onto it as long as you can. These things are a game changer and will produce results almost instantly.

When I was a weightlifter, I wish I was doing much more of these things as assistance work. If you aren’t doing them, give them a try, do all the variations and see which one you like best.

 

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