Based on the title, you may be expecting some elaborate warmup of band pull-aparts and rotator cuff exercises, but that’s not the case. While those exercises are good for warming up your joint, it won’t strengthen it—and a strong joint is a safer one, which is why we recommend loaded carries to promote shoulder health.

The primary responsibility of the rotator cuff is to keep the head of the upper arm in the joint socket. When you walk with heavy weight, your rotator cuff is called upon to maintain stability, and reinforcing this reaction will create a more prepared joint over time. Oh, and your rear delts will get huge, too.

Work loaded carries into the end of your program, which will double as conditioning (trust us). Walk for 25 yards with 40-50% of your bodyweight in each arm. Repeat four times. And remember to walk slowly and with controlled steps. Don’t let the weight touch the side of your legs. (This takes tension off the shoulder.)