Is the heavy carry a gaping hole in CrossFit programming? In the last year, I’ve grown close to strongman as both a coach and an athlete. Naturally, the heavy carry has been injected into my training as a result.
A staple in any strongman’s training regimen is the heavy carry. It’s low skill, but it’s both a great developer of fitness and can be soul-crushingly difficult. In strongman, the implements used vary from sandbags and farmer’s handles to yokes, stones and kegs.
In CrossFit, the hallmark definition of a functional movement is the ability to move “large loads long distances quickly.” To which I’d say, can you show me a better example of this than carrying a yoke more than triple your bodyweight 100 consecutive feet?
My point isn’t to drive down the value and importance of CrossFit and, in turn, talk up strongman. It’s quite the opposite, actually. My point is that the heavy carry may be the easiest, most critical addition to your GPP game there is.
The heavy carry stands up on its own as a legitimate exercise for building exceptional strength and fitness, which in my book, is enough to consider it. A bonus, however, for gym owners, coaches and athletes alike is the mere simplicity of the movement. “Carry this heavy object from here to here. Period.” How simple is that?
Sure, there can be nuances surrounding shoulder carries or Zercher carries, but you’d be surprised what hugging a 200-pound keg and moving it 100 feet can do. Which, by the way, is good news, because it’s not like I’m saying, “Great news, athletes and coaches! One-handed handstand push-ups are guaranteed to get your people fit.” This is basic stuff, and chances are if you’re a CrossFitter you aren’t doing enough of it.
Heavy carries are low-hanging fruit often left unpicked by the CrossFit community. There’s nothing more scalable and critical than variations of the heavy carry for novice to expert athletes.
— Logan Gelbrich