overhead plate carry

SAPT Exercise of the Week: Zelda Plate Carry

I realize that many of our readers don't have access to special equipment such as prowlers, ropes, farmer walk implements, etc. so I've been doing my best to be cognizant this fact during these little "Exercise of the Week" bits. For example, while an alligator crawl with a prowler attached to you is certainly challenging, looks awesome, and will make your abdominals rip into two pieces....

it's most likely NOT the most practical option the majority of you due to equipment limitations.

This being the case, I hope you find many of the ones I do feature on here requiring minimal equipment (things like turtle rolls, bodysaw pushups, stir the pot alphabets, goblet squat to stepback lunges, etc.) useful for your individual scenarios.

Anyway, on to this week's featured movement:

Zelda Plate Carry

Why is it called the Zelda Plate Carry: If you don't know the answer to this, shame on you. Whenever Link (hero in the The Legend of Zelda series) picks something up, he holds it over his head and walks with it in a similar manner to the demonstration video. I suppose, technically speaking, this should be called the "Link Plate Carry," but more people are familiar with the name Zelda so I went with that one.

Giving full disclosure, this entire blog post may or may not be an excuse for me to somehow include my love for all things Zelda into a strength and conditioning website. I mean, come on, if you had played through Ocarina of Time six times in your youth, and eventually beat the game in under 24-hours in one sitting, wouldn't you want to find a way to incorporate it into your lifting routines?

Not that I did that, or anything, but just hypothetically speaking.


Okay, I might have totally done that. I'm not judging you though, okay?

Why I like it: See above. It resembles how Link carries heavy stuff around. Okay, just kidding (but not really). I like it because:

1. You can do it in virtually any gym. Heck, even if you live in the middle of nowhere you can perform it. Just pick up something heavy (a rock, backpack, whatever) and go with it. 2. It hammers scapular stability and shoulder mobility, along with providing a slight "cardiovascular" training effect. 3. You're practically forced to hold the plate in a neutral grip, which tends to be more "shoulder friendly" as it opens up the subacromial space within the glenoid.

How to do it: "Pack" the shoulder down and back, and don't allow your arms to drift forward or backward (think "keep them next to your ears) and keep the elbows locked. I also like to use this cue from Kelsey for overhead carries: "Think about shoving your shoulder down while simultaneously pressing your hand up through the weight. Like you’re trying to lengthen your arm." Brace your entire midsection, making a cognizant effort not to hyperextend ("over arch") your low back as you hold the plate overhead.

I would go for time ( beginning with :60-:90), or for a total number of steps (ex. 100 steps), and toss this in at the end of a workout for 3-4 rounds. You can increase the difficulty by adding the amount of time or steps you need to complete before setting the weight down. It's a great variation to toss in alongside other farmer walk exercises (dumbbells held at the side, in the goblet position, etc.), or in the middle of a conditioning circuit. You're only limited by your imagination in its application.