Weightlifting Tip: The Farmers Carry

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Weightlifting Tip: The Farmers Carry

Are you looking to lose weight, improve grip strength, get your heart rate up quickly, or even improve your overall core, shoulder, and posterior chain strength? Then you should be incorporating farmers carries into your training regimen.

The most important thing to elicit a good burn is to use some HEAVY weights! Often I see athletes pick out weights that are much lighter than they can handle. To provide the benefit this exercise can offer the athlete should be choosing weights that really challenge them.

In order to challenge yourself you should be struggling to walk with these weights approximately 100-300 feet with the weight you choose and if you can do 300 foot repeats without setting the weight down, you probably underestimated your strength!

Are Farmers Carries Safe?
Given that this exercise is fairly safe to execute and you don’t need to have any special equipment to execute this one – it should be something you use in your training regularly!

Since there is very little spinal loading, and the shoulder are in a safe position to hold the kettlebells, the most dangerous part is the picking up and setting down of the weights which is typically only done for 1 repetition per carry. Easy peasy!!

Brittany Weiss, CJ Martin & Sarah Loogman


“Hike, hinge, root, float”

  • Grab two HEAVY weights – dumbbells, kettlebells, sand bags, or even two heavy grocery bags (oh wait you’ve done this before right?). Something that’s heavy and will challenge your grip (think thicker handles is better).
  • To pick the weight up off the ground safely you’ll need to half squat-half deadlift yourself to them with a flat back. Pick up your head and chest after taking hold of the weights and then make a big belly brace and press your legs through the ground and to extension.
  • The weight will now be at your sides with your palms facing towards your hips. Pin back your shoulder blades, make your spine as long as possible and walk as far as you can. Make sure you keep your ribcage down and braced throughout your walk.
  • If you can make it more than 200 meters, go back for a heavier load. I find it easier to walk with my knees slightly bent so I’m not bobbling around as much.

Another fun variation is the suitcase carry, which is a single-arm farmer carry that forces you to stabilize your midline. All the same rules apply here. Just alternate hands instead of using both at once.

Try the farmers carry in your workout or as a post-workout challenging finisher. You’ll likely be surprised at how sore your abs are the next day and how out of breath you get performing the farmers carry!

Here’s a quick example of the famers carry. Notice the athletes flat back while picking up and putting down the weights.

Not sure if you’re doing this one right? Then come in and get a free assessment by signing up for a “no sweat intro” below!

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