Strongman Mitchell Hooper Shares Strategies for Stronger Front Carries

According to Hooper, any front carry is "essentially leg curls."

Medley events are a staple of competitive strongman competitions. Whether its the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest, the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) contest, the Rogue Strongman Invitational, or a show on the Giants Live circuit, its a safe bet to expect some kind of medley in the event structure.

On Feb. 15, 2023, 2023 Australia’s Strongest International champion Mitchell Hooper continued his educational seminar series on his YouTube channel with a session on improving sandbag front carries. The information translates to what he deemed “key takeaways for any loading medley.” Check it out below:

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What Are Medleys?

Strongman medleys typically fall into one of three categories: a loading medley, a carry and drag medley, or a yoke walk plus movement. A loading medley is a race to traverse a handful of heavy implements across a course onto a platform in the fastest time possible.

A carry-and-drag medley is exactly like it sounds — a carry of some kind, such as a sandbag carry, a farmer’s carry, etc., followed by a drag of a heavy chain or anchor. Sometimes the drag will be substituted with a tire flip, a wheelbarrow walk, or the like, but the event is still for the fastest time.

If a yoke walk is included in a medley, it will combine with another discipline as an A plus B event structure. For example, at the 2022 Rogue Invitational, the yoke walk was paired with a log press. Athletes moved the yoke down a course and then attempted three log lifts of a fixed weight as quickly as they could.

[Related: 2023 Europe’s Strongest Man Roster Announced]

Front Carry Breakdown

When carrying any implement in a bear hug, such as a sandbag or a Husafell stone, the athlete is “essentially doing leg curls over and over,” according to Hooper.

When your hamstrings burn out, you’re done.

For sandbag carries specifically, the first point of order is to shuffle all the sand to the bottom before lifting it so that the weight doesn’t shift. The heaviest part of the sandbag, when held, should be at the bottom of the grip.

During a front carry, the sandbag should sit high on the chest. If it is held too low, it could knock against one’s quads and/or place unnecessary strain on the lower back. If held over the abdomen, it could be harder to breathe. Carrying it high on the chest will take pressure off the lower back and not disrupt the legs while walking.

For a medley involving a wheelbarrow, the optimal position for the load in the wheelbarrow is over the axle, meaning as far away from the athlete as possible. This provides the best leverage and, therefore, the most advantageous to move heavy loads efficiently. When holding the wheelbarrow’s handles, the arms should remain straight at all times so as not to apply any unwanted stress to the biceps.

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Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram