One of the biggest benefits of picking up a weight and carrying it for a set distance is that it presents a serious challenge for your core muscles and a stronger, tighter core gives your arms and legs a more powerful base for performing heavy lifts. But the benefits aren’t limited to individual muscles. “loaded carries build work capacity,” says Dan John, who invented the exercise. So you can do more gym work and do it better (and stay safe!). “It’s really hard to hurt yourself when you’re walking around”, he says. Do carries at any point in your workout they’re especially great at the end, when you’re fatigued and your balance and coordination are hindered. But no matter when you do them, the payoff is the same: a bigger, stronger body that’s better at anything you ask it to do. Use the following tips to get the most from your carry. “PACK” YOUR SHOULDERSWhether you’re holding the weight at your sides, overhead, or anywhere in between, keep your shoulders as tight as possible to improve joint stability. TUCK YOUR CHINDon’t crane your neck! Keep your ears directly over your shoulders and hips. This aligns your spine, keeping it injury free. KEEP YOUR RIBS FLATIf they flare out, you’re putting undue stress on your back. Breathe in through your nose and then forcefully out through your mouth. That helps push your ribs down and keeps your core engaged. STEP LIGHTLYA shorter stride your feet less than 12 inches apart gives you a stronger support base. STRAIGHTEN YOUR BACKThink of carries as walking planks: Keep your lower back and pelvis aligned throughout the exercise. GRIP HARDA tight grip increases tension in your core muscles. GO HEAVYCarries are self limiting exercises. That means any weight that you can hold for the recommended distance or duration is safe to use.