The quest to get in great shape has many challenges. These include lack of equipment, skill, space and most of all time! Today many folks use high intensity finishers as a fast, time-efficient way to boost conditioning and melt off unwanted body fat. However many of these workouts are high skilled, high impact and high risk. Here is a fast, simple, safer high intensity finisher to crank your metabolism into overdrive!
Loaded Carry Complex Finishers
Loaded carries are exercises where you walk with additional load. A classic example would be the Farmer’s Walk. They are an incredibly simple, yet effective way to build real-life, functional fitness. You can also adjust the training variables for various goals such as: strength, hypertrophy, fat loss and conditioning.
Related: The Magic of Loaded Carries
Complexes refer to a series of exercises that are done back-to-back with the same implement and without putting this implement down between exercises. This provides an incredible, time-efficient metabolic hit!
Related: Complexes for Fat Loss
Like complexes, this finisher involves seamless transitions from one movement to the next. However, unlike complexes, which traditionally require complex movement patters, this finisher uses simple loaded carry movements. This gives you the following benefits:
- Better fat loss and conditioning because you are not limited by skill
- Time efficient
- Lower risk of injury
- Fast to learn so you quickly move from learning mode into training mode
- Low impact – no running or jumping
- Functional fitness – what can be more functional than walking with load?
- The movements go from hardest to easiest so you can keep going without changing the weight
- Easy to adjust loads and distances to adjust for virtually any fitness level
- This workout is for educational purposes only and is not to be taken as an individualized exercise prescription. Consult your doctor before trying this or any exercise program.
- Overhead work is not for everyone. If you have high blood pressure, a history of shoulder problems, have a job or sport that puts a lot of stress on your shoulders, lack shoulder and thoracic spine (upper back) flexibility or experience pain when pressing weights overhead, skip the overhead part.
- This also requires the skill to safely get the kettlebells in and out of position. If you don’t have this skill, work on that first before attempting this. Another option is to use both hands to get one of the kettlebells to the racked position and then have a friend help you with the other bell.
- If you have never done these movements, practice them separately before you try to bring them all together.
- If at any time you feel you are about to lose control, stop and lower the kettlebells to the ground – you don’t want them crashing in on your head or smashing your feet.
- Clean the kettlebells to your chest and then press them up overhead
- Start walking – you don’t have to go slow, but stay in control
- When you reach your desired length for the overhead carry, bring the kettlebells down to the racked position
- Continue walking with the kettlebells in the racked position
- When you reach your desired length for the double kettlebell racked carry, bring the kettlebells down to arms length
- Continue walking with the kettlebells in the farmer’s walk position
- When you reach your desired length, carefully return the kettlebells to a bench or the floor (note: if going to the floor, I recommend using a sumo kettlebell deadlift technique)
Here is the whole thing in action:
Frequency: 1-3 times per week (more is not better!)
When: At the end of your resistance training session
Load: Start with lighter kettlebells than you think you need (you can always use more weight the next set)
Distances: Start with relatively short distances and progress as you are able. Because you are moving from hardest to easiest position, try to increase the distance with each position change. For example:
- Double kettlebell overhead carry: 2 room lengths
- Double kettlebell racked carry: 3 room lengths
- Kettlebell farmer’s walk: 4 room lengths
Sets: 1-3 sets
Rest times between sets: About 2-3 minutes (you can go longer if needed)
Progression: Start at a do-able intensity. Remember the goal is not to finish your first workout collapsed on the floor in a sweaty, puky mess. Also, a kettlebell dent in your forehead or foot is not a badge of honor. Because kettlebells typically go up in rather large jumps, you want to use double progression. Stay with the same weight and increase your distance each workout. Then, when you do increase the weight, drop the distance back down and slowly build it up again. For example:
Double kettlebell overhead carry: 18kg x 20meters
Double kettlebell racked carry: 18kg x 30meters
Kettlebell farmer’s walk: 18kg x 40meters
Take as many workouts as needed to get to:
Double kettlebell overhead carry: 18kg x 30meters
Double kettlebell racked carry: 18kg x 40meters
Kettlebell farmer’s walk: 18kg x 50meters
Then, next workout try:
Double kettlebell overhead carry: 20kg x 20meters
Double kettlebell racked carry: 20kg x 30meters
Kettlebell farmer’s walk: 20kg x 40meters
Note: start with even less distance if needed to account for the weight increase
Q: What if I can’t go overhead?
A: You can do this with just the racked position and the farmer’s walk.
Q: What if I don’t have kettlebells?
A: While kettlebells work the best with this, you could try it with dumbbells.
Q: What if I don’t have a lot of space?
A: While some space is needed, you don’t need that much. Unlike big farmer’s walk bars, which are awkward to turn, kettlebells are easy to turn when walking. If you have limited space, try going in a figure-8 pattern so you spend equal times turning in each direction.
Q: What if I only have 1 kettlebell?
A: You can do this with one kettlebell. Just alternate sides before you change position. Also, keep the focus on walking upright as if you had a kettlebell in both hands.
As always, I welcome your comments and/or question below. If you give it a shot, let me know what you think!