Exercise Of The Week: The Suitcase Carry - Indianapolis Fitness And Sports Training

Exercise Of The Week: The Suitcase Carry

written by Zach Moore

For those of you not familiar with the suitcase carry it is performed exactly like it sounds – you basically carry a heavy weight (we often use kettlebells) in one hand for a specified distance or length of time.  Doesn’t sound like much, right?

Well, the suitcase carry is actually an awesome exercise if performed correctly as it helps to build strength and/or endurance in the core and shoulder.

How many of you have had to carry a heavy weight up or down a flight of stairs or over a long distance?  I am willing to bet many of you have?  It often feels awkward or sometimes even painful for some.


The suitcase carry is helpful in building the stability and strength to carry out these maneuvers, and even if you don’t plan on carrying a heavy bag anytime soon, it will still go a long way in building you a rock hard core and shoulder.

So let’s look at how to perform the exercise.

Simply grab a heavy weight in one hand.  Next, I want you to think about making yourself as tall as possible.  If you are looking straight on at yourself in the mirror you should look nice and straight.  And the same is true for the side view – you should be able to draw a straight line connecting your ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and ear.

The next step is getting your shoulder into a good position.  If you pick up and carry a heavy weight in your hand it is likely to pull your shoulder down and forward.  This can put stress on the shoulder joint.  So you want to think about slightly shrugging your shoulder up and back.  You only want a very slight lift of the shoulder.

The shoulder position on the left is much better

Now that we have your trunk and shoulder in a good position it is time to walk.  We either have clients go for a specified distance (roughly 100-200 feet, on average) or a length of time.  After the time or distance is up you simply switch hands and do the same.  I suggest starting with your weaker side first.

Lastly, here is a video I filmed on some tips for how to perform a suitcase carry correctly.

Now go give the suitcase carry a try and let us know what you think.

Have a good week!!

Zach Moore

Leave a Reply