|Inside the gym, we carry and walk with heavy stuff 3 main ways: with it overhead (waiter walk), with bent elbow, weight sitting near shoulder (racked position), and with arm straight, weight at side (farmer’s carry if two-sided, suitcase carry if one-sided).
Our friends at StrongFirst explain what happens when you walk with heavy weights in your hands:
Your hand has to clinch like a clamp, your forearm and upper arm tighten up like a steel cable, your shoulder has to stabilize, your lats fire from broadening your back, and your traps have to hold that eccentric load. Also, as you walk around with iron held in one or both hands, you learn to stabilize your gait. Your balance and stability are challenged as you move.
We coach our members on ‘packing their shoulder’ into their back pocket, on bracing their abs, on keeping upper back taut and chest tall. The result? Healthy, stable shoulders, iron abs, strong forearms, ripped upper back, increased work capacity…in other words, carrying heavy things properly helps you look, move, and feel more awesome.
Try these three types of carries: waiter, racked, and suitcase in your next workout – or even try them just holding and walking with heavy* objects around the house.
*Don’t go too light! For the strength and body change outcomes we’re looking for, you should be pretty taxed after walking with the object for about 40 yards 2-3 times. This is different for every body but for reference, here I am with a 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebell as my weight for the rack and overhead positions and 24 kg (53 lb) kettlebell for the suitcase carry position. Since these are all one-sided carries, my core is working really hard to keep me stable and not ‘give in’ to the rotation…you can see the diagonal lines on my shirt, similar to how theobliques (diagonal ab muscles) are firing to keep me from rotating as I do these carries! Aren’t muscles cool?