Advanced Carry for Paleo Fitness: The Bottoms-Up Carry

This advanced carry isn’t necessarily more difficult than the perspective of loading or mobility. What makes this movement “advanced” is the high degree of concentration and tension that you must maintain throughout. Also, the bottoms-up carry pulls a balancing component into the mix.

The bottoms-up carry can really only be performed with a kettlebell because it’s one of the very few weight-training devices with an offset center of gravity. The bottoms-up carry, as the name implies, involves carrying the kettlebell in an inverted position — that is, with the handle below the actual weight. As you may expect, this position presents a colossal challenge for the grip, the abs, and the shoulders.

Don’t expect to walk with this position at first. It will take you some time to be able to “catch” the kettlebell in the bottoms-up position from the clean and hold it there. It will take you double the time to get the hang of it on your non-dominant side.

Be sure to work with a kettlebell that’s heavy enough; it must be a challenge to hold it in the bottoms-up position. If you choose too light of a weight, this profitable task becomes a joke.

Here’s how to do the bottoms-up carry:

  1. Start to clean a kettlebell but, as the kettlebell begins to roll over onto your forearm, stop it halfway and hold it in the bottoms-up position (with the bottom of the kettlebell facing up toward the ceiling).

    [Credit: Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ulmer]
    Credit: Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ulmer

    To maintain the bottoms-up position, you have to squeeze everything — your abs, your butt, and, of course, the handle of the kettlebell!

  2. Stabilize your position. Keep your forearm perfectly vertical (otherwise, the bell will topple), and let the handle of the bell rest deep in the base of your palm.

  3. When you’ve owned the position standing, start walking with it.

To get better at the bottoms-up carry, you may want to start by practicing bottoms-up cleans for a while. The bottoms-up clean is simply performing a clean but catching the kettlebell in the inverted or “bottoms-up” position rather than the rack position.

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