Loaded carries are a style of exercising that involves moving weights for a set distance or time. Some forms of loaded carries include rucking, farmer’s walks and sled pulling. This style of training has grown in popularity because it efficiently combines the benefits of resistance training with cardiovascular training. Often this type of training is also done outdoors and with minimal equipment which makes it appealing for people that don’t have access to gyms.
Rucking involves walking or hiking while carrying weight in the form of a rucksack, weighted vest or weighted backpack. Rucking is considered a form of vigorous aerobic activity. Rucking involves key muscle groups like the shoulders, traps, hips and back, these muscle groups play a role in maintaining a good posture.
A good starting point for beginners who want to try out rucking is to ruck for 20 minutes continuously. As your conditioning improves you can try to ruck for longer periods and once you’re comfortable rucking for at least an hour straight then you can start progressively increasing the weight that you carry.
Here's a sample rucking workout:
Start with a 5-minute brisk walk to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up.
Load your rucksack with a weight that is challenging but manageable. Keep in mind that you’ll be walking with this weight for awhile during your workout, so it may feel relatively light at first but the weight will feel heavier as you fatigue.
Begin with a 20-minute ruck walk at a moderate pace, focusing on maintaining good posture and a steady breathing pattern. If you’re a beginner or going for a lighter workout, you can move to the cool down from here.
If you’re more advanced, continue for another 20-minutes ruck walking at a faster pace than before, focusing on maintaining a steady pace and keeping your core engaged.
Finish with a 5-minute slow walk to cool down your body and bring your heart rate down. Stretch your major muscle groups for 5-10 minutes, focusing on your legs, hips, back, shoulders, and chest.
Farmer’s walks involve holding weight in one or both hands and walking for a set time or distance. The most common form of weights used for farmer’s walks are dumbbells because their structure allows them to be held easily. Kettlebells, sandbags and even barbells can also be used by experienced individuals as farmer’s walk implements. Farmer’s walks are typically incorporated in training programs to increase total body strength and grip strength specifically.
A good way to start using farmer’s walks in your workout can be to walk with a pair of dumbbells that combined equal 50% of your lean body mass for a set distance. As this becomes easier you can try progressively increasing the amount of weight that you carry in each hand.
Here's a sample 30-minute workout that only involves farmer's walks:
Start with a light jog or a brisk walk for about 5-10 minutes to warm up your body.
Farmer's Walks (20 minutes): Pick up a set of heavy dumbbells that are challenging but manageable to carry for a distance. Keep in mind that as you get tired, the weight will feel heavier.
Walk with the dumbbells in each hand for as long as you can before needing to rest. Rest for about 30 seconds to a minute, then repeat for a total of 15-20 sets. Focus on maintaining good posture, engaging your core and keeping your shoulders relaxed.
Finish with a light jog or walk for about 5 minutes to cool down and bring your heart rate back to normal.
Sled pulling is a type of training that involves an athlete pulling a weight with a harness or their hands for a set amount of distance or time. Some of the common devices used for sled pulling include weight sleds and tires. Strength and conditioning coaches often use sled pulls and other forms of resisted sprinting in their programs to develop greater sprinting ability. Sled pulling requires upper and lower body strength, and it can help increase peak horizontal forces 
Here's an example of an interval sled pulling workout:
Start with a light jog or walk to warm up your body.
Attach a weight to your sled and set it up for pulling. When choosing a weight, have in mind the aims of your workout. A lighter weight will allow you to develop speed and power while a heavier weight will be ideal for strength.
Sprint Intervals: Sprint pulling the sled for 10-15 seconds, then rest for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for 6-10 sets depending on your fitness level.
Backward Sled Pulls: Attach the sled to your waist and pull it backwards while walking backward for 20-30 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat for 6-10 sets.
Lateral Sled Pulls: Attach the sled to your waist and pull it to the left side while walking sideways for 20-30 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat for 6-10 sets. Repeat the same for the right side.
Finish with a light jog or walk to cool down and bring your heart rate back to normal.
If you’re going to start implementing loaded carries like rucking, farmer’s walks, or sled pulling into your training program, make sure you’re also paying attention to your hydration and recovery. This style of training can be intense so it’s important to replenish electrolytes. XTEND® Sport features 7 grams of BCAAs and a 1.89 gram Electrolyte Blend that includes Electrolytes, BetaPower® Betaine, and Coconut Water Powder. Best of all it’s also NSF® Certified for Sport, which is one of the most respected third-party certifications in the world. NSF Certified for Sport® products are free from over 270 banned substances and are trusted by pro athletes and sports organizations around the world.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.