Carrying is one of the most fundamental movements patterns for humans yet is often overlooked in strength & conditioning. Here’s why you should carry something: Grip strength: The first thing most people will tell you after a farmer’s walk is how blown up their grip muscles are. Grip strength is important for athletic performance as well as being one of the key indicators for longevity. Grip strength is often a limiting factor for athletes when trying to lift heavier loads in movements like chin-ups and deadlifts, so it’s important to add specific grip work into your training. Core strength & postural development: With carries, our aim is to maintain the best posture we can. Loading our spine in different ways (i.e. heavy balls, single arm carries etc.) forces our body to recruit the deeper postural muscles, helping to protect the integrity of the spinal column. Our deep core and spinal stabilising muscles help prevent spinal flexion, lateral flexion, extension and rotation. Resisting these movements can develop strength that carries over to other exercises such as squats and deadlifts. Aim to keep your shoulders back and walk under control. Muscular hypertrophy: The increased time under tension leads to increased muscle mass. The grip, upper traps and upper back are where you’ll ‘feel’ the exercise the most and will result in specific hypertrophy to that area. However, carrying heavy weights has been shown to result in hormonal changes that align with systemic hypertrophy (total-body muscle gain). Work capacity: If you’ve ever done heavy farmers walks or even lighter walks for longer periods, you’ll realise that all this bracing and movement under load can get you blowing! We like to incorporate farmers carries as part of our conditioning sessions in the off-season to help develop work capacity under load.
In the video we see 3 different variations of carries; double arm, single arm and bear carry. We’ll do future posts on each type of carry, but for now, just try and accumulate 3-5 minutes of carrying at the end of each session with a single grip, double grip or a bear carry #one22