A weighted carry is anything that involves physically moving weight from one point to point. Whether you are moving something heavy for a few steps or running a few miles with something on your back, you are carrying weight. Carrying is a part of everyday life. By incorporating that functionality into our training, it makes us better at life. Weighted carries also challenge your spine through external load, which helps build core strength in the safest way possible. Besides being able to carry almost anywhere, there are also endless styles and implements to vary weighted carries. Here are some different types of carries and what they can do for you:
1. Sandbag Carry. The sandbag carry is as functional and simple as fitness can get. This movement forces you to engage your abs and upper back to secure the bag. When you lean back slightly in the walk your posterior chain is forced to support the bulk of the load! Challenge yourself to build up your endurance with the bag and you will see not only physical gains but mental gains as well!
2. Farmer’s Carry. Farmer’s carries build both grip strength and grip endurance. They also improve postural control and strength as muscles of the back, core, and shoulders are engaged to resist spinal rotation, flexion, and extension. Farmer’s carries can be done with light to moderate loads for longer time domains, or heavier and shorter to really tax the grip and kickstart the heart rate.
3. Yoke Carry. The most common way to use a yoke is to pick it up and carry it, but it can also be pushed, pulled, and used for holds. You can carry the yoke on your back, over your head, or even in a front rack position. Most yokes are heavy by nature and can be loaded with a ton of weight. Back-rack yoke carries challenge your core to maintain a stable, neutral spine. Your abs, obliques, erectors and deep core muscles are all engaged, building you a stronger, safer back.
4. Overhead Carry. Shoulder injuries are a common occurrence in the fitness industry. Typically, these types of injuries can be traced to underdeveloped upper back and shoulder muscles. Carries are a perfect way to target some of those weak back muscles and provide some protection towards unnecessary injuries. Additionally, overhead carries help build strength and stability in the shoulders and midline as we are required to control an object overhead while moving from place to place. Improve overhead stability will build a better lockout in the snatch and the jerk as well as improvements in your gymnastics pressing movements.
5. Front Rack Carry. Holding a heavy object in front of your body and trying to breathe simultaneously is one of the most challenging yet simplistic tasks. Front rack carries will also help build your shoulder stamina and core strength. Resisting the pull of the weight in front of the body requires a strong focus on bracing the abs and keeping the back in a good position. These are especially helpful for those who collapse with heavy cleans and lose their positions when performing kipping gymnastics movements.