Oftentimes, while I am visiting a customer, I will see a new helper struggling to carry some of the heavy loads that are common on the drill site. Additive pails, core boxes filled with core – they all weigh a lot. This happens to young guys who are fit and train often at the gym and they are annoyed and puzzled by how hard it is to carry heavy things. They reason that if they can deadlift 300 pounds easily, they should be able to carry a fifty pound bag or box from one part of the drill site to the other without difficulty. However, there is a big difference between training to lift something heavy and training to carry something heavy.
When you are in a gym and deadlifting a barbell off the ground, the actual movement is pretty simple. You lift the bar up and then you bring it back down. The exercise is very short as well. It may be intense but it lasts for a short time. You are pretty much using the same muscles every time you perform this exercise. Finally, while being able to say you can deadlift 300 pounds gives you some bragging rights, it isn’t common in everyday life that you will only need to lift something heavy up and then put it right back down.
Try to use the right technique when you are lifting something heavy. It is what allows smaller drillers to get through a shift of pulling 3 meter NQ rods out of a hole. Always remember that when you are lifting anything heavy, you should use your legs and keep your back straight to avoid straining it. And make sure you have a good grip.
Being able to transport something heavy requires many more muscles. Carrying something heavy requires that your body stabilize and brace itself with every step you take. Your legs and your core muscles are working hard and the exercise itself takes a lot longer so your muscles are exerting themselves for a longer period of time. Carrying heavy objects builds your grip strength as well, and it helps with overall conditioning.
Of course there is some advantage to being able to simply lift a heavy load. Someone who is able to deadlift a lot will be able to carry heavier objects further, so you should train to do both kinds of exercises.
Training to carry heavy
The simplest way to incorporate this kind of training is to find something heavy and carry it. You can use dumbbells at the gym or use try to use something more similar to what you will be carrying on a drill site, like pails of additives.
You can carry two heavy dumbbells in each hand and practice walking as far as you can. Start with carrying them for 30 seconds and work up to a full minute. Then switch it up and use only one dumbbell on one side. This will force you to try and stand straight while you are carrying. Do the other side. You can also keep the dumbbells in the air while you walk. Try carrying large bags in your arms or on your back.
You can also vary the way that you walk to use even more muscles and make it more challenging. Try to walk over and under obstacles while carrying items. How much weight depends on you but the rule is that the lighter the weight, the further you should be able to walk, making it more of an endurance workout. The heavier the weight, the shorter the distance you can walk, making it a strength workout.
As is often the case, after the holidays, everyone hits the gym to try and compensate for the extra food and drink they consumed over the last few weeks. Try to incorporate some carry heavy exercises in your routine. Not only will it help you at the drill site, it will help at home when you have to carry your kids, or bags of soil or any other awkward object.
Our goal is to make drilling lives easier and we would like to wish all our subscribers, readers and customers a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.