Try These Two Carry Variations
Today I planned on posting “A Day in Life of Nia Shanks”, but I’ve been on a semi-vacation the past week and half, so I don’t have it completed yet. In that post I’m going to share my current training and nutrition habits, along with some fun stuff that provides a peak into my life, including several videos. That should be up next week at the latest.
With that in mind, today I want to share some amazing carry variations with you; so read on.
I confessed a while back in Random Thoughts August 2011 (number two) that I abhor direct abdominal work; it bores me to tears. I prefer a “two birds, one stone” approach to my training; that is why I love compound exercises.
What I am about to share with you are two carry variations that you can use for conditioning work and a little extra “core” training – farmer walks and waiter carries. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells, or anything else you can hold onto.
Not only are these carry variations “more entertaining” than other forms of core training, but you also have the added bonus of training your grip, shoulder stabilizers, and upper back.
Note - I highly recommend you use chalk for all forms of carries.
These probably aren’t new to you, but I want to make sure you do them properly. So many people have terrible posture when they perform this movement, and I want to make sure you get the most benefit from your effort.
Please be sure to keep the following coaching cues in mind when performing farmer walks:
- Deadlift the dumbbells/kettlebells into position (use proper technique to do so)
- Squeeze the dumbbells hard
- Keep shoulder blades down and back
- Squeeze glutes and abs
- Maintain a neutral pelvis throughout
You can use a heavier weight and walk a shorter distance, or lighter weight and walk a longer distance. Or, you can do a few sets of each. Just make sure you maintain proper posture.
Farmer walks are an excellent exercise for people who need to improve their grip strength. And, don’t be surprised if your upper back and traps are sore the following day.
This one may be new to you, and for those who love the feeling of sore abdominals, you’ll really enjoy this exercise. I first learned about this carry variation a while back from my friend, Tony Gentilcore.
Note – I only recommend this carry variation for individuals with sufficient thoracic mobility. For more information on this and to see if you qualify, I highly suggest you read this article from my friend Mike Robertson. If you can safely and properly perform an overhead press, then you can perform a waiter carry.
Just like the farmer carry, be sure you use proper form.
Coaching cues for the waiter carry:
- Squeeze the dumbbell tightly and push press into position
- Lock the weight overhead
- Squeeze abs and glutes throughout entire movement
- Maintain neutral pelvis
You will use a much lighter dumbbell for this carry variation. Start with a fairly short distance and focus on using proper form at first; about 30 yards for five carries per arm is a good place to begin.
When to Use Carries
I prefer to throw in a carry variation at the end of my training session. For example, after a lower body training session I like to perform several sets of farmer walks. After an upper body training session I’ll perform the waiter carry.
Give one of these carry variations a shot at the end of your next training session and let me know what you think. And if you have another carry variation that you use, share it below.