The Animal Ability Kettlebell Carry Workout

If you want to get highly conditioned and really build bulletproof strength, then you need to be adding a loaded kettlebell carry variation into your routine. This Kettlebell Complex may look easy, but it is no “walk” in the park.

For today’s discussion on performing loaded carries as part of your workout, I’m going to focus on using kettlebells, but don’t worry, you can substitute with dumbbells in any of these carry variations. I prefer Kettlebells because they are less awkward on your wrists. Believe me when I say, you want to focus on the different carries and not on wrist pain.

Always warm-up prior to your workout. After a general warm-up of basic movement patterns I like to follow up with a specific warm-up. A general warm-up simulates the basic movement patterns that people SHOULD use while a specific warm-up uses “lighter” versions of a few of the first drills for that session. Remember the point of a warm-up is to warm-up, NOT wear out.



What I describe below is a workout unto itself, though you can chose to do a FEW other things, but make sure it is a FEW!

The Kettlebell Carry Complex Workout

Complete 4 rounds for the bulk of the training or just use 1 round as a finisher.

  1. Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk
  2. Double Kettlebell Overhead Carry
  3. Double Kettlebell Rack Carry
  4. Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk
  5. One Kettlebell in the Rack position and One Kettlebell in the overhead position (one carry with each arm overhead)
  6. One Kettlebell in the Rack position and one Kettlebell in the Suitcase Position (one carry with each arm in the suitcase position)
  7. Single Kettlebell Waiter’s Carry
  8.  Single Kettlebell Suitcase Carry (Complete one carry with each arm)
  9. Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk

How to perform the Kettlebell Carry Complex

For this workout use two pairs of kettlebells; a fairly heavy pair and a medium pair that will allow you to use a wave loading to modulate your fatigue. This trains your body to find parts of the movement or positions where you can get some active rest. I have to carry kettlebells from my backyard to the street where I have some distance lines marked. It is a touch over 30 yards.

Start with the heavy kettlebells and Farmer’s Walk them to the street. Then, without rest clean and press them or if you’re feeling frisky, snatch both kettlebells overhead. Proceed to carry them for 25 yards. Then drop them to the Rack position (by shoulders) and carry another 25 yards. Next lower them to the Farmer’s Walk for another 25 yards.

Now comes the fun, either clean both kettlebells to shoulders and while keeping one at shoulder (Rack) press the other (1) Overhead. This is a Cross Carry; 1-KB Rack and 1-KB Overhead. I do this for 25 yards. Then I let the overhead drop down to rack position and I press the other side to overhead and go another 25 yards.

Seamlessly when you reach the mark, let the overhead drop to Rack and the rack drop to Suitcase (one hand hanging at the side) position. This is the Cross Carry; 1-KB Suitcase and 1-KB Rack.  From this position, go another 25 more yards, then switch and repeat. With one more Cross Carry to go let the Racked kettlebell drop to Suitcase position and take the other from Suitcase to Overhead. Go 25 yards switching arms and repeating.

Now that you have done the last Cross Carry; 1-KB Overhead and 1-KB Suitcase for 25yds each, move on to the final carry that “ices the cake”. Put the Overhead kettlebell down and put the arm that was carrying Suitcase fashion Overhead. This is called the Waiter’s Walk (one kettlebell overhead) which I perform for 25 yards each. Switching arms to the “rested” arm  and do the same using a one (1) arm Rack position.

When both of those are finished,  I do a last Suitcase carry each side, swooping up the kettlebell from the ground and then Farmer’s Walk both kettlebells to my backyard.

If you are only doing one round you are now finished.

If you are brave enough to tackle the whole workout, shake out your arms and repeat the whole process for a second (2nd) round with the medium weight kettlebells. This allows enough time for you to recover actively so that you’ll be able to use the heavy kettlebells for the third (3rd) round. For the forth (4th ) round, perform the complex with the medium kettlebells which don’t feel medium anymore. By this time your whole body should be feeling it from head to toe.

By no means do you have to follow my exact protocol, it is just the one that has worked well for me. There are spots within the complex where you can rest, but if you do, do not sit the kettlebells down. Rest is definitely an active rest, not a full rest.

There you have it,  a simple but far from easy Kettlebell Carry Complex.

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Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Originally from Yorktown, Virginia (Where Independence was won!) & now living in Hawaii, Jim Smith is the owner of Jymbodies Personal Fitness Training & creator of the Animal Ability Method. The Animal Ability Method is the result of over 30 years of research and testing a large variety of modalities based on Nature. This method uses primitive innate knowledge & modern scientific findings to create an ever evolving lifestyle.

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