Loads for Loaded Carries

When assessing a strength program, there are generally two gaps in the training. Almost universally, trainees fail to do appropriate depth in squatting. And simply adding Goblet Squats can do wonders and miracles for every trainee from elite performer to home gym enthusiast to big box gym rat.

 

The other gap is Loaded Carries. Pushing Prowlers, pulling sleds and Farmer Walks can be the answer to issues from getting leaner to adding work capacity. They are game changers for most athletes!

 

By themselves, Farmer Walks can train the grip, core and gait as well as anything else you can do. But there is an issue: load.

 

 

Load has been the topic of a lot of serious discussion in our gym. Sophomore girls in high school can use eighty-five pounds per hand, yet this is well over bodyweight total. Some have argued for bodyweight in each hand, others half of bodyweight per hand. That’s a big difference. Going too heavy makes the exercise a stumble and fumble. But going too light is not the answer either. Like Goldilocks, we want “just right.”

 

The downside of going too lights is that people can go a long way…a loooong way. Most people using this test have discovered that erring on weights being too heavy seems to work better.

 

Mike Warren Brown pointed out that so many people have issues trying to get a handle on loads in the farmer walk. We came up with a reasonable answer: Use the standards from the squat numbers in my book Mass Made Simple for individual people, and the trap bar numbers for gym members or large groups or teams.

 

Trap Bar Farmer Walk (Mass Made Simple Squat Standards)

Bodyweight on the left, load on the right

 

  • Under 135 pounds: 135 pounds
  • 136–185 pounds: 185 pounds
  • 186–205 pounds: 205 pounds
  • Over 206 pounds: 225 pounds

 

We experimented with half of bodyweight per hand using actual farmer bars, and it worked well, but we realized it’s not universally repeatable since many people don’t have the specialty bars.

 

Kettlebells work well, too, and more people have those. Strive for bodyweight (half in each hand), but be aware that many places don’t have enough bells at that weight.

 

Kettlebells (One in Each Hand)

Bodyweight on the left, load on the right

 

  • Under 135 pounds: Double 24s
  • 136–185 pounds: Double 32s
  • 186–216 pounds: Double 40s
  • Over 216 pounds: Double 48s

 

Load up and walk away. And, yes, it is that simple.