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Weighted Carries for Deadlift

I pull sumo so if I round my back and lose positioning I end up failing or turning 85% 1RM to something looking like 95%.

Am currently pulling both sumo and conventional frequently and practicing better bracing. Have also started to add front squats in but am looking for more.

Would front loaded carries be a good way to get a bigger stronger upper back?

How could this be added to a program without affecting the rest of my lifting or being really taxing on recovery?

How can carries be programmed in effectively?
What equipment should I carry or how should I do carries?

I have limited experience with this kind of stuff, but I found that it is indeed hard to recover from. If your goals are strictly powerlifting then I’m not sure that it will provide any benefit than more specific exercises (deadlift variations, rows).

Some strongman competitors would know more about this than me - @flipcollar @T3hPwnisher @strongmangoals

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My quick advice: Why hunt two hares? Focus on just one style of deadlift and constantly refine it. Note that, for example, the Russian lifters almost don’t change the variants of the exercises and are one of the most powerful in the world.
If you are more or less constantly changing the sumo and conventional deadlift, you will not begin the adaptation process. Without adaptation syndrome, there is no progress. This is written, for example, by mentor and sports scientist Zatsiorsky.

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My deadlift is pretty strong for my class and have found row variations the best to build a bulletproof back. I’ve never done any sort of carries. Not that they aren’t great, they just aren’t programmed in by my coach.

I’ve also found that a strong core and learning to brace really helps back positioning.

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If you’re under the Implement, it’s smashing you the whole time. Yoke is super strenuous, or taxing, so it’s takes more out of you.

Dragging is easier. You’re under “tension” but not getting crushed the whole time.

I can’t find a good picture, but backwards sled drags with the hands behind knees Look kinda like a deadlift.
Imagine dude’s hips a little lower, arms back, pulled into almost a Pullover position. The back has to stay tight, hamstrings stay loaded.

I don’t know how super effective it is, but it definetly Feels tough enough to be working.

I also like the Suitcase Walk, or like a Farmers Walk loaded on only 1 side. The whole opposite side has to stay tight to counter the weight on the other side. Again, I don’t know how much super effective carry over there is, but I Feel my obliques, and I Feel like it makes me stand straighter.

Regarding Front Loaded Carries and Upper Back;
I think you can count the Front Squat for this.


carries have helped my back size/strength more than anything else from previous programming. A game changer for me.

For me, carries involving grip like frame and farmers are very strenuous and hard to recover from, and also yoke. I don’t think front carries are difficult to add in, mostly because you’re generally going to be using lighter implements. For example, a typical comp in my weight class would involve something like a 200-250 sandbag or keg for front carry, but I’d be looking at 500+ for frame and 550-700 for yoke. It should be clear what would be harder to recover from, lol.

For programming them, you could stick them in as an accessory for deadlifts, or back work, depending on how your current program looks. You could do 25-50 foot sprints for a few sets. Not a ton of volume. Just use a weight that feels difficult, but you can still keep foot speed relatively high with. Not so heavy you feel like you can barely take a step.


I like doing carries for speed, distance and weight.

So one week you pick a light weight and a time limit (e.g. 15s) and you keep doing runs with a fixed rest time (e.g. 90s) until you cant make the time limit.

The next week, you pick a bit more weight than the previous week and you do 2 sets. You carry the weight as far as you can, rest 3 minutes then try carry it back further.

The last week, you pick a distance and keep increasing weight until you can’t carry the thing without a drop.

That manages stress pretty well.

Flips suggestions are good ones. keg/sandbag carries or a cross if you have access as assistance.

The other thing to note is that I don’t believe many powerlifters do these. That probably tells you something, it may be better as an offseason activity.

Another consideration is if your back rounds (even at lower weights) in sumo, it may not be the right pull for you.

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Thanks for the responses all.

@chris_ottawa & @knobby22. So as far as rows go which row variations do you recommend for this purpose or as all round like bang for your buck movements?

@gaelic. Is use conventional as assistance for sumo and when it goes up so does sumo

I heard vaguely about Russian lifters having great success with less variations but I was under the impression that this is after they have spent many years building a base with variations, GPP stuff and sports like in Sheiko’s novice program. Isn’t it more the elite level lifters who do the really low variation training?

@strongmangoals. How do you know what powerlifters do… are you coming over to the light side of the Force? Haha it’s a good point though. Im thinking that if I could squeeze in a bit more work maybe in something that I hadn’t done much before that at worst it’d be more gains and at best I’d find something really effective that works well for me.

There’s only two styles of deadlift I think and my sumo is more than conventional so…

It’s pretty much all the same except for barbell rows. They put a lot of strain on your lower back which can be a good thing if you need to build up your lower back but if the volume/intensity of all your lower body lifts is already hard on your back then you might want to avoid them.

Sheiko doesn’t use the opposite stance at all. However, there are some Russian lifters who train both such as Yuri Belkin and Andrey Malanichev. I think Malanichev is sticking with conventional at the moment since he tore a hamstring pulling sumo.

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I thought that Sheiko coached Belkin but now that I think about it there’s never been a coach mentioned for Belkin. Is he self coached then?

I once got hit in the head and did powerlifting until I came to my senses.

I trained at a powerlifting gym for a long time. The powerlifters rarely did any of the strongman conditioning outside the prowler. I think they were frightened of the equipment because it hadn’t been calibrated plus a slight breeze would come through that area of the gym and they were worried it didn’t properly simulate a meet.

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I remember a video of a guy who got hit by a keg during keg toss when it bounced off the bar and came back down. The video comments said he was dead but articles said he was discharged fine from hospital.

When I’m at the Powerlifting/Strongman gym I gotta be careful because if I touch anything that’s not IPF Approved I geta lifetime ban from Powerlifting Australia


No idea. I would be interested to know. Maybe @khangles has some inside information from his ex-KGB contacts.

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I thought Powerlifting Australia got a lifetime ban from the IPF.

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Late to the fight here, but what sort of carries in particular were you thinking about doing?

I’d look into some Kelso shrugs for this specific problem.

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I don’t really know any specific kinds of carries. Was kinda thinking like some thing with the load to the front to challenge the back to stay upright.

I just looked up what Kelso shrugs are and they look along the right lines but can I do a variation of with an unsupported torso… it’s pretty much a paused or halting deadlift at that stage.

I wouldn’t. If you’re interested in them, I’d read some excerpts from the book, or just buy the book in general. A lot of variations, insight on training, and everything you need to know about shrugging and more.

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Without knowing the specific carry, it’s hard to judge how it’ll affect recovery. A keg carry is going to be different than a zercher yoke carry.

The kelso shrug should NOT be like a halting deadlift, even with an unsupported torso. Your focus is on shrugging the entire upperback back backwards rather than upwards.

I’m a big fan of resting my forehead on an incline bench to do them. Doing them on a bench never worked for me.

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I can not agree. The sumo deadlift is helper exercise for the sumo deadlift, or the sumo deadlift from of boxes. The helper exercise must be very similar to the exercise you want to improve. However, this does not mean that you will fundamentally change the style of the deadlift.

Lifters under Boris Sheiko train only the sumo deadlift because his lifters are very small in terms of body height (except Kirill Sarychev, he trains the conventional deadlift).

Note: Sheiko never train Belkin and nor Malanichev. However, they train very similarly.