Despite the many benefits of loaded carries, they are often a missing movement from training programs. Carrying exercises are usually associated with specialized equipment like farmer’s handles and heavy sandbags without handles. But these aren’t really all that necessary to begin incorporating loaded carries into your training. Dumbbells, however, are available at most gyms with a smidgeon of self respect and that should be enough to get acquainted with loaded carries and create some significant progression.
I’ll be one of the first to tell you there are huge benefits to incorporating strongman style movements and events into your training program. But I’ve also pointed out that depending on your goals and level of conditioning there are particular exercises which are inappropriate and more specific to competition than general strength or fitness. Strongman starts with strong, and as that implies, it is helpful to have some basic tenants of strength before going all out with strongman (or strongwoman) training and implements.
You need to be doing farmers walks and loaded carries. I can think of very few people that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of carrying something from point A to point B in their workouts. But you still don’t see them being done very often in gyms. Loaded carries are great for training the grip, building muscle, work capacity, core strength, coordination, and even improving function of the shoulder girdle. They really do offer something for everyone, and I’m not the only who thinks so.
I’m not your typical strongman. I compete in a category often referred to as the “little fellas.” My fellow competitors and I have to weigh in at a weight of 175# or less. We’re not exactly the gargantuans you see on ESPN. But if you are fortunate enough to witness one of our competitions you see some amazing ant-like feats of strength. If you have ever thought you were too small, too “normal” sized, or too average to compete in strongman or train like one, this story is for you.
There's always a new great exercise or exciting new training program, but does it always fit your training goals and needs? Here are a few exercises that you may be better off avoiding in your training.
This month I was given the opportunity to write an article for the Performance Menu regarding my unique perspectives on training and competing as a 175# strongman. I discuss some of the things that I feel are important for performing lifts as efficiently as possible as well as optimizing the heavy training to stay athletic, move well, and avoid injuries/overtraining.