Loaded Carries: 2 Variations for Strength and Fat Loss

Pick up something heavy and take it for a stroll. That’s the basic gist of performing any variation of a loaded carry.

You can do farmer’s walks, cross-body carries, 1-arm suitcase carries, and a whole lot more.

In today’s article, I want to show you two variations you’ve probably never done before. The best part is, they can be modified depending on your strength level and are easily programmed for better strength gains and faster fat loss.

Are you ready?

Simple But Brutally Effective

Farmer’s walks have been around for a very long time. You’ve most likely seen them performed during events like World’s Strongest Man where those guys carry incredible amounts of weight.

They’re one of the best exercises to build your grip, abs, traps and upper back.  Your legs, shoulders, and arms also get taxed as well. They’re also very effective at melting body fat due to the metabolic effect they have on the body.

A lot of people shy away from doing them because they’re too simple. Everyone wants the fanciest exercise, but in reality, loaded carries are phenomenal for getting into great shape.

2 Variations for Strength and Fat Loss

Most people won’t have access to actual farmer’s walk implements like these:



If you don’t have these, what are you supposed to do?

You can always use dumbbells, kettlebells, or a trap bar if you have it. Today, though, I want to show you 2 barbell variations you can do in place, or even inside of a power rack.

Barbell Farmer’s Walk

The longer barbell simulates actual farmer’s walk handles, while also providing a bit more of a challenge to stabilize the weight during the exercise.

To set up:

  1. Grab an empty space in your gym, or steal the power rack.
  2. Set up 2 barbells parallel to one another and grab onto the middle knurling.
  3. Brace your abs tight, create a nice long torso and stand tall.
  4. Then simply march in place to simulate walking with the barbells.

Key Points:

  1. Be sure to grab evenly on the barbell.
  2. Maintain a tall spine and aim to stand with good posture.
  3. Take little sips of air while marching so you can keep tension in your core.
  4. March in place. You can bring your knees up a little bit but make sure to keep them pointed straight ahead and limit any swaying movement.

At the end, I’ll show you how to implement these into your workouts.

1-Arm Barbell Suitcase Carry

This next variation will challenge your rotary stability and really forces you to stay tight in your entire core. With the weight in one hand, you must resist letting it pull you down. Here’s what it looks like:

The set up is pretty much the same as the 2-arm variation, you’ll just be using one barbell instead. Use the off arm to create tension on the opposite side of your body and remain tense in the obliques to prevent any tipping motion. Stay nice and upright the whole time.

Don’t go too heavy to the point you won’t be able to maintain an upright posture.

Programming These Bad Boys

The first option is to tack one of these on at the end of every lifting session.

You could do the 2-arm variation at the end of an upper body push day. Load up the bar with a challenging weight and march in place for as long as possible. Record the time and repeat this 3 times. The following week go for a longer duration with the same weight.

On a lower body training day, give the 1-arm variation a try. Be sure to do both arms 😉

If you’d like to perform either one of these as part of a metabolic conditioning circuit to crank up your heart rate give the workout below a try.

A1) Kettlebell Swing

A2) Pushup

A3) Goblet Squat

A4) Barbell Farmer’s Walk (2-arm or 1-arm variation)

Do 10 reps of A1-A3 and then the farmer’s walk variation of your choice for max time. Rest 30 seconds before going back to the kettlebell swings. Begin with 3 total rounds and aim to add one round per week for the duration of your program.

Wrap Up

Loaded carries are a staple movement and are incredibly simple to perform. If you want faster fat loss, more muscle, and better strength, give these 2 variations a try in your next workout.

Build Strength and Burn Fat Now



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