Carries are among the most unassuming tools in the strength toolbox. But the capacity to move different loads around is one of the most useful expressions of ability. Kids, pets, suitcases, buckets, storage bins, briefcases, and shopping bags, furniture, shovelfuls, yard bags, trash cans, the list goes on. Picking up, holding and moving a load is something we do nearly everyday of our life. Yes, the virtues of standing in place and picking things up and putting them down are many. They are the underpinnings of strength work. But in life, you usually pick things up to move them around.

Carries stimulate every inch of the body. They demand quality of alignment and structure. Good carry patterns are among of the best natural posture strengtheners (along with front squats and KB swings). We mix in overhead carries, body carries (think over the shoulder), neutral arm carries (think bucket), bent arm carries (think forklift), and others.

Our focus exercise for carry patterns is the Get Up. Often called the Turkish Get Up, we remove the Turkish. There are many variations of getting up with or without a weight, most of which don’t hail from Turkey. But more importantly, why the Get Up?

  • It’s a carry, a push, a lunge, a squat, a bridge, a support, a brace, and odd angle lift, a sit up, and a ground transition. It’s a whole mess of good movement wrapped up into a glorious exercise.
  • It teaches you to brace your torso through in flexion, extension, & rotation.
  • It passes through all 3 planes of movement: sagittal, frontal, and transverse.
  • It’s a corrective tool and an ability building one.
  • The ability to smoothly get down to and up from the ground is one of the most significant patterns for life. The science is clear: those who can get up live longer than those who can’t. The real world experience is clear, too: those who can’t are also more miserable in all movement.
  • It’s a core strength exercise in the first degree: it bridges the entire body between, feet to fingers.
  • It’s a perfect blend of strength and movement. It’s yoga or dance with a weight, a demonstration that balances supreme strength and movement mastery.

Unlike the performance videos of people carrying people and extreme weights, the get up is more of a inner strength practice than an all out, 1 rep max to shoulder failure. We also perform them in an unusual way: starting from a stand. We like that someone can’t just meatball up a too heavy weight, but rather must control it all the way down first. It then gives it gives them a safer place to bail at the halfway point. A Get Up is a high complexity lift and we like to keep the focus there, asking movers to think more about the process than the load. Lastly, it puts the mover in more time under tension for better inner strength work. From feet to fingers, it’s core to the core!

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