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The loaded carry is one of the most efficient ways to get more volume, more intensity, more strength training and more conditioning into your training. It's functional by definition, and it's effective at improving cardio and muscular endurance.

For most of us, form goes well before we can’t actually train any more. One of the accusations leveled at CrossFit is that it involves using Olympic lifts as conditioning tools and thus endangers its athletes, because their form falls apart when they use complex technical lifts for conditioning. 

Yet, a mix of strength and cardio offers the best all-round conditioning there is.

So how can we program for this?

There are some great tools in gyms, like Prowlers or kettlebells, and barbell complexes, body weight circuits and rope climbs are great too.  If you already swear by one of these, that’s great.  But there’s something even better, even easier to implement, and even more effective than any of them.  Something you can throw in after your kettlebell work or your barbell complexes. Something that’s easy on the central nervous system, doesn't require a huge amount of skill (though as we’ll see, it does take some) and that produces results fast.

Weighted carries.

A weighted carry is exactly as simple as it sounds. You carry a weight. It is Forrest Gump simple. It requires stabilization, strength and endurance – the second two are factors in any good conditioning program but a conditioning program that improves posture and bulletproofs endangered areas like the hips, shoulders, knees and elbows? Who wouldn't want a piece of that?

Weighted carries require you to stabilize a weight and the structure of your own body while you walk. 

If you ‘creep’ – sink under the weight to escape it – it will chase you right down to the ground if you let it. 

Most people figure out early that holding good, braced posture is the easiest way to carry something that heavy and that lesson gets passed on into everyday life. You’ll find you stand better. Your lifts will go up as your postural muscles get stronger. And your conditioning will go through the roof. 

If you’re not really a strength athlete or if you want a fast, simple way to get fitter and stronger… folks, this is it.  If this was all the strength training you did you’d be ahead of the game.

How it’s Done:

1: Pick up weight.

2: Walk.

Ahem. There is more to it than that. One of the major virtues of a weighted carry is that it forces you to maintain good posture while the weight tries to convince you otherwise. You won’t get those benefits if you curl up and stagger.

Use one of the variations laid out below to get the most from your weighted carry training.

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