Loaded Carries for Strength and Conditioning

Loaded carries are super helpful for developing stability in all three planes of motion. But that’s not the only benefit you get from this simple yet effective workout. Aside from making your body stronger and more stable, loaded carries can be a viable choice for conditioning.

Not only can loaded carries help maintain foundational movement patterns, but they also enhance the aerobic abilities of fast-twitch fibers, improving your body’s ability to maintain high power reserves for longer durations.

The primary job of loaded carries is to recruit high-threshold motor units and enhance their oxidative abilities by providing them with a consistent oxygen supply. For this reason, cross-fitters are often advised to perform these carries.

Important Things to Know

  • Loaded carries can be quite helpful in both strength and conditioning. For strength, you will need to walk short distances while carrying heavier loads. Conditioning, on the other hand, requires walking longer distances with lightweight loads.
  • You can modify these exercises to add variations, such as pulling a sled during load carries.
  • Be sure to perform long-distance loaded carries on the conditioning day. On the day when you perform strength training, use loaded carries as a concluding part of the training session.



Different Workouts Based On Loaded Carries

Below is a brief overview of workouts based on loaded carries.

Single Arm Farmer Carry

This exercise is a simple yet highly effective way to train your quadratus lumborum, frontal core, and aerobic system. A set of single-arm farmer carry involves walking with the heaviest load you can carry in one hand for 20 minutes. Ensure to switch hands evenly to train both arms. The rest between each set is 90 seconds or until your heart rate goes back to normal.

Front Rack Carry

This exercise involves walking with two kettlebells held in the front rack position. When carrying the loads, ensure that your elbows are not flared out. Engage your anterior core when carrying loads.

Perform each set of the front rack carry for 20 minutes with as much weight as you can carry. This exercise will speed up your heart rate, so rest for 90 seconds between every set. Start exercising again when your heart rate is 130-140.

Crossbody Carry

This workout involves carrying two kettlebells: one light and one heavy. The heavy one is carried on the side, while the light one is held on the front rack. You will need to walk with these loads for 20 seconds and switch loads. The resting time between every two sets is 90 seconds.

Sled pulls with a Heavy Med ball

To perform this variation of loaded carries, you will need to attach a sled to your weight bell and hold a heavy med ball against your stomach. The med ball must be 50 lbs. or more. Since this workout will make your heart race, its training recommendations will be different.

This variation involves four sets of 60 years. The resting time between every two sets is two minutes.

The position of the med ball can be changed; you can hold it against your chest or hips instead of the stomach.

Sled pulls with Two Light Kettlebells

This variation involves carrying two kettlebells: one overhead and the other on your rack. A sled will be attached to your weight belt. This form of load carries requires you to cover the maximum distance you can in 10 minutes during a set. Switch sides with every set.

There is no limit to how much you want to rest between every two sets of this form of load carries.

Heavy Med ball Carry against the Stomach

As the name suggests, this exercise involves carrying a heavy med ball or any other heavy object against the stomach. The med ball to carry during this variation must be 100 lbs. Not only does this exercise challenge your breath, but it also works your anterior and posterior chain quite well.

You will need to carry the load through a distance of 40-60 years. Or if you want to improve your aerobic function, you may carry a lighter ball over a longer distance.

Front Rack and Overhead Carry

This workout is a great option if you are a cross-fitter and want to improve your overhead isometrics strength and maintain the stability of the anterior core. All you have to do is carry a kettlebell overhead and the second kettlebell on your front rack through 20-40 years.



Trap Bar Farmer Carry

The trap bar farmer carries can test your breathing and gripping capacity. This workout can be done with:

  • 100% of your body weight for 30 seconds
  • 150% of your body weight for 30 seconds
  • 200% of your body weight for 30 seconds

Double Kettlebell Overhead Carry

You can carry two kettlebells above your head using both of your hands and walk a distance of 400 meters. Other types of weight to use for this variation can be a barbell or a bamboo bar if you want an extra challenge.



Loaded carries are a highly effective way to improve your overall performance. If you do not already perform this exercise, add it to your workout regimen, and you will notice a performance spike in other aspects of your training almost immediately.

Getting an extra time slot out of an already overstuffed workout routine may seem intimidating, but you will not regret it once you start reaping the benefits of loaded carries. With so many variations available, you can choose the one you like and incorporate it into your training regimen.


Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]
Vitruve Team

You may also like…

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get your FREE VBT guide!