Coach: I need you to grab these two logs and follow me into the woods.
Me: Where are we going ? How heavy are these logs?
Coach: That doesn’t matter. None of that matters. Just follow me!
Welcome to Duff Park, located about half an hour from the city of Pittsburgh. I found myself at the bottom of the mountain at the park with two wooden logs that weighed roughly 20 pounds each. My coach, a Spartan Obstacle Racing Expert (SGX is the official title), gave me quite the challenge as we marched on in the cold. I was responsible for carrying both logs up and down a mountain. It is half a mile on the way up to the summit, and half a mile on the way down. I was given 10 minutes to reach the top of the mountain, and 5 minutes to run back down with the same resistance. I had a brief moment to shake of my anticipatory anxiety, and I joked with my coach, stating that there should be an addition to the Spartan Code that states “Spartans don’t care about your feelings.” Truly, this training session was one of the more challenging sessions I have done. No, my coach offered me zero help with the loaded carries (again, this proves my point that these types of people test your limits and won’t take any whining in between). If you sign up for these sorts of competitive obstacle courses, expect nothing less. This training is NOT for the faint of heart.
Racing or not, if you are working towards serious endurance under the demands of carrying objects for yards upon yards, I welcome you to add in loaded carries to your training (most often referred to as farmer’s walks). This is especially helpful for your obstacle training as well as those of you big into Strongman competitions. Loaded carries challenge your grip strength and conditioning in many different ways. Today, I want to discuss three separate variations of the loaded carries using two kettlebells.
Suitcase Carry: The suitcase carry will require you to hold two kettlebells at the same time. One kettlebell will be in your right hand, and the other in your left. Start by suitcase deadlifting your kettlebells up to a standing position, then begin to walk forward.
Half- racked Carry: This carry variant will require one kettlebell to be in a racked position, and the other in a suitcase dead lift position. Clean on kettlebell up to the racked position and then suitcase deadlift a second kettlebell to a tall standing position. This carry will require different levels of grip strength and stabilization as you move forward. You are welcome to alternate which weights are in the racked position as well by setting both kettlebells down and resetting your form.
Full Racked Carry: This carry variant will require you to clean tow kettlebells up to the full racked position, and then begin walking.
Loaded Carry Training for Distance: Beginner
Choose any style of lift mentioned above and walk at an even pace for 50 yards. Do this 8-10x as part of your strength training.
Instructor note: if you are doing half racked carries, be sure to alternate your kettlebells in each arm every 50 yards to be sure each kettlebell has a chance to be in the racked position on the right and left sides of your body.
Loaded Carry Training for Distance: Intermediate
Choose any style of lift mentioned above and walk up a hill at an even pace for 50 yards. Once you reach 50 yards, walk back down the same 50 yards. Repeat this process 8-10x.
Loaded Carry Training for Distance: Advanced
Choose any style of lift mentioned above and walk up a hill at an even pace for 50 yards. Once you reach 50 yards, walk back down the same 50 yards. You will use two kettlebells of different sized weights. I recommend 1 kettlebell size above or below your usual snatch test weight (ladies: if snatching a 12kg, use an 8kg or a 16kg for your other weighted carry. If you are using a 16kg for snatching, use a 12kg or a 20kg for your other weighted carry. Gentlemen: if you use a 20kg for snatching, use a 16kg or a 24kg for your other weighted carry. If you use a 24kg for snatching, use a 20kg or a 28kg for your other weighted carry). Be sure to alternate the weights in each arm so you don’t fatigue one side over the other. You may switch weights in each arm every 50 yards. Repeat this process 6-8x.
Instructor note: One full repetition on this particular routine will count as 50 yards up the hill and 50 yards back down.
Find yourself some terrain and hills and get to work this week folks. I want to hear how you do on this strength challenge should you decide to give it a go!
Be on the look out for some more training on part of all the new strength and endurance combinations folks. In a few weeks I will be launching a test program to test the limits of those that dare to dig deep. 2017 is a brand new era of strength for us all! If you want in on the details, join my mailing list or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next round of coaching will be nothing shy of incredible!
Let nothing stand in your way!