T Nation

Loaded Carry Substitution for Leg Growth?


Hi CT,

so far i'm making great gains on the following carries;

Overhead carries after Muscle Snatches
'Squeeze Press' Carries after Bench Press (can't get comfortable with Bear Hug style!

it seems that yoke carries/ catch position carries/ Trap Bar carries don't really stimulate my legs much.

is there any type of layer i could use to stimulate the same effect?

-maybe some occlusion work, wrapping the top of the quads?


Even though carries do involve the legs (after all, you're walking) their purpose is to build mass in some of the neglected muscles from the main movements. They will build hypertrophy mostly in upper body muscles. The effect of carries on the lower body is more in work capacity. If you want the same effect for the lower body you need to do prowler work.

I'm not a fan of occlusion work (wrapping the legs).


I have been using the carries to supplement upperbody workouts also and have found them very effective! Thanks for the great tip CT!!

But since I don't have a prowler for work capacity after squats I was planning on using a static bike for the same time interval:

i.e. 1 min work, 1 min rest (repeat 3 times)- Using a relativley hard resistance but keeping the rpm up above 50 at least.

CT, to you think this could be an approprite replacement for the prowler work or would there be a better alternative in your opinion?


thanks CT!

yeah and my results in overhead carries completely relate to what you just said. my shoulders actually feel healthier as well as being wider/fuller, and my core is a lot more stable!

I think i need to invest in a prowler, thought about it a few times.

i can only use it in my garden though, which is probably 35-40ft long. how would you go about programming sets/reps/layer in this amount of space?

-sorry for all the questions!


Oh by the way Iboro21, sorry for butting in on your thread - Since you were askin about extra work after squats/leg days I thought it could relate since not everyone has a prowler...


its fine! the more people that a thread can help, the better! -makes life easier for CT too haha

just fyi, i've tried what you suggested before (about the bike) it was in a Chad Waterbury article. the theory kind of makes sense (cyclists have large quads), but for me personally it did little but hurt my performance/recovery during deadlift/squat sessions. but thats just me haha


Yer I'm pretty sure that's were I read it too! I think it was in a high frequency training article he did.

Ok, well that's good to know. Thanks very much for your input Iboro21- I mainly just want to pump as much blood into the legs after the strength work as possible.

In the past I've done higher rep lep presses but find that they are a killer on the knees!


why do you just want to pump the legs? surely it would be better to do it constructively so you can build mass/work capacity?


True - That is important part of the aim too, but I'm getting a lot of work capacity from the density work after the ramp. So I just feel i need an extra layer for legs that's not too demanding but creates a lot of blood flow to deliver nutrients etc. But I don't have a prowler so was wonderng wht the best option could be...

Since the bike doesn't have am eccentric portion, similar to the prowler, that sprung to mind as thiswould sggest it would be easier to recover from (but obviosly not in your case...)

But no i agree, it should always be constructive - this forum inparticular is excellent for championing that!!


tbf i was diong the 'bike' workouts every day (as per Waterbury's guide) which is probably why it didnt work. maybe it will work done as a last layer following a squat layer session..

by the way, i'm not knocking CW in any way.. his ABBH progrom has given me, and my friends, the quickest muscle gains ever -until the layer system which IMO has provided equal size gains with a hell of a lot more strength gains - plus more fun to do! haha


the thing is, Waterbury's methods are better applied to the average joe trying to get fitter, loose a little fat and gain a little muscle. Whereas CT's workout's focus on high performance mass (couldn't think how to word this without quoting the 'high performance mass' system haha).

again, CW knows his stuff and his systems DO work.

in the long run i think the layer system can help you reach any goal, quicker; i for one have enjoyed the fat loss, and muscle building effects depending on the layer set up (and diet) i'm using. the strength and speed gains are a welcomed bonus for me personally!


For me the main benifit of the layer is the simplicity of having one main exercise - that's why I spent a lot of time on pogrammes like 10x3 and advanced GVT (Poloquin style) and the layer system is kind of the next step up in my eyes with many more tecnical advancements, which does make it more challenging and a lot more fun!

Anyway, I'll see how the bike thing works out for now,we can only try these things out and see I guess. Enjoy the prowler if you get one, I wish my gym would even entertain that idea but there's no space what so ever!

All the best!


you may want to look into a quadruple layer for legs


You can also go the route that a lot of us have gone who either can't afford a prowler or don't have access to a location to properly use one and just create a sled. It's stupid easy and costs about $10 - $20. Get a large truck tire (free from any tire shop), get a heavy duty eye bolt from hardware store ($5) and drill it through the tire, get some straps from hardware store and tie them to the eye bolt. Done and done! Is it exactly the same as a prowler, maybe no, but IMHO the difference is pretty insignificant but the cost saving is huge!

Some of the best hypertrophy (and healthiest knees) I've gotten have come from doing high frequency reverse tire sled drags. If you need to add weight to your tire sled just cut a couple pieces of wood and jam them inside the tire and put weights or large rocks in there.


@CT could overhead walking lunges, barbell back lunges, clean grip (or kettlebell) lunges and dumbbell lunges for long distances be considered loaded carries geared toward more leg growth?


It would force you to use very little weight. I don't like it. If you want to do that simply do lunges and don't call it carries just to fit it into a cool mold.


ever consider loaded carries up hills or stairs? preferably stairs like these... http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Red_Rocks_Amphitheater.JPG <-carrying a 200+ lb dude up these covers many things