Loaded Carries

Kettlebell Static Strength

Woman Farmer's Carry. Getty images

Kettlebells are perfectly suited for not only Swinging, Snatching, Cleaning, Squatting or Pressing, but also for holding and carrying. 

What are the benefits of loaded carries with one or two kettlebells?

During most kettlebell exercises, to achieve your maximum development, it is necessary to develop different kinds of strength. Most common in all sorts of strength training exercise is what is called Dynamic Strength, which is when you produce force quickly.

To move a heavy weight, or to move the weight fast, requires dynamic strength.    

However, another important kind of strength that should be trained is Static Strength, and for success in kettlebell exercises, it is a necessary strength to develop. Static Strength is the ability to hold a weight, or to exert force against something that cannot be moved.

Some common everyday activities demand the application of static strength. Need to hold and carry your sleeping child? Have to catch a connecting flight with your carry-on bag? Have a car full of groceries with no one to help you? Those simple activities all require a degree of static strength to get the job done. 

Now that you know why you should include Static Strength training into your kettlebell workouts, how do you do it?

Loaded Carries are the easiest way to train static strength and adds an element of “fun” into your workouts, for those that consider physical agony fun.

 

Loaded carries can be performed with one or two kettlebells and in assorted positions. 

There are 3 most common and most important foundational positions to train static strength.

In this article, you’ll learn the Low Static Hold/Carry and you can click here to read about other loaded carry exercises.

 

The low static hold, aka “Farmer’s Hold” is holding the kettlebell by the handle with arms (elbows) straight (fully extended) and down by your sides. This can be performed with one kettlebell or with two. It is commonly called Farmer’s Hold or Farmer’s Carry because it resembles a farmer walking with a bail of hay in each hand, or pushing a wheelbarrow and this exercise mimics the same muscle activity. A carry is a hold, the only difference is that a hold is performed standing in one place and a carry is done while walking around. Either way is fine and it depends on your preference and how much space you have to move around in. Walking instead of just standing may give you a mental distraction as you see the scenery changing, but the body does not really notice much difference between the hold and the carry.

If using just 1 kettlebell, make sure to keep your core upright and do not lean to the weighted side. It’s a bad habit that encourages poor posture, and can contribute to injuries from overloading only one side of the body.

Refer to your midline and aim to keep your torso and spine upright and neutral throughout the movement. 

To increase your static strength with the Farmer’s Carry, you can progress by increasing length of time, the amount of weight, or degree of difficulty.

For example, hold 2 medium-weight kettlebells and walk or stand for as long as you can, until you have to drop them (put them down gently if there is the possibility of damaging the floor). Increase the duration of time to build endurance. A good starting time is 30s and work up to 2-3 minutes or more.

Another option is to choose heavier kettlebells and walk or stand for as long as you can to increase strength. 

Alternatively, increase the difficulty by walking up a hill to challenge your balance and coordination. 

Loaded Carries are typically performed at the end of the workout as a “finisher”. Give them a try to build your strength in the key Static positions of kettlebell lifting. 

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