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Unlock your Functional Core with the Suitcase Carry

Posted by Sean Garner on
Unlock your Functional Core with the Suitcase Carry

Today, we're going to discuss one of the best functional training exercises you can add to your routine: the suitcase carry.

This loaded carry exercise will help you develop a strong, chiseled physique without wrecking your joints.

In this blog post, we'll cover the benefits of the suitcase carry, how to perform it correctly, and common mistakes to avoid.

Let's dive in!

What is the Suitcase Carry?

The suitcase carry is a simple yet highly effective loaded carry exercise that targets your core, grip strength, and shoulder stability.

As the name suggests, it involves carrying a weight in one hand, much like carrying a suitcase.

This unilateral exercise helps improve your overall functional strength and balance, making it an essential part of any functional training program.

Benefits of the Suitcase Carry

The suitcase carry offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Improved Core Strength and Stability: As you carry the weight in one hand, your core muscles work hard to maintain balance and keep your spine aligned. This helps to strengthen your core and improve stability.

  2. Increased Grip Strength: Holding onto a heavy weight for an extended period challenges your grip strength, which is crucial for various everyday activities and other functional training exercises.

  3. Enhanced Shoulder Stability: The suitcase carry requires you to engage your shoulder muscles to maintain proper alignment and prevent the weight from pulling you down. This helps to build shoulder stability and protect against injury.

  4. Better Posture: By engaging your core and maintaining proper alignment during the suitcase carry, you'll develop better posture and reduce the risk of back pain.

  5. Unilateral Strength Development: As a unilateral exercise, the suitcase carry helps to identify and address any muscle imbalances between your left and right sides.

How to Perform the Suitcase Carry

Follow these steps to perform the suitcase carry correctly:

  1. Choose Your Weight: Select a dumbbell, kettlebell, or any other weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.

  2. Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the weight in one hand by your side. Engage your core and ensure that your spine is neutral.

  3. Begin the Carry: Keeping your shoulders level and chest up, start walking forward while maintaining a steady pace. Focus on keeping your torso as upright and stable as possible.

  4. Switch Sides: After you've completed a predetermined distance or time, switch the weight to your other hand and repeat the carry.

  5. Progression: As you become stronger and more proficient with the suitcase carry, increase the weight or duration of the exercise to continue challenging your body.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Here are some common mistakes people make while performing the suitcase carry and how to avoid them:

  1. Leaning to One Side: It's essential to maintain a neutral spine and avoid leaning towards the weighted side. Engage your core and focus on keeping your shoulders level throughout the carry.

  2. Gripping the Weight Too Tightly: Over-gripping the weight can lead to unnecessary strain on your forearm muscles. Use a firm grip that allows you to maintain control without overexerting your forearms.

  3. Walking Too Fast: Rushing through the exercise may cause you to lose proper form and stability. Maintain a steady pace and focus on proper technique.

  4. Not Engaging the Core: Forgetting to engage your core can lead to poor posture and decreased stability. Always keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise.

Incorporate the suitcase carry into your functional training routine to reap the benefits of improved core strength, increased grip strength, enhanced shoulder stability, better posture, and unilateral strength development.

By performing this exercise correctly and avoiding common mistakes, you'll be well on your way to building a strong, functional, chiseled physique that lasts.


Remember, the key to getting sustainable results with functional training is finding the right balance between pushing your physical limits and building your body up without tearing it down.

The suitcase carry is an excellent example of an exercise that can help you achieve this balance.


If you're ready to take your functional training to the next level, consider incorporating the Functional PUMP, a comprehensive training program that combines functional compound movements, traditional bodybuilding techniques, conditioning, sports performance, and mobility/prehab exercises.

The Functional PUMP has helped thousands of people all over the world make incredible physical and mental transformations by building strong, muscular, mobile, and lean physiques.

So, start training today and commit to the Functional PUMP or other functional training programs like it.

With consistency and dedication, you'll be well on your way to gaining functional strength, building muscle mass, and shredding body fat with results that last.

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