How to Stay Fit During Thanksgiving Reading Farmers Carry: How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits, Variations 8 minutes Next 16 Back Workouts for Muscle Building [Infographic]
Farmers Carry

Farmers carry are an exceptional, full-body exercise designed to enhance strength, endurance, and overall functional fitness. The exercise involves walking while carrying heavy weights, typically in each hand. It's an exercise derived from real-world activities such as carrying heavy groceries, luggage, or any heavy objects, making it a fundamental movement mimicking everyday tasks. It engages multiple muscle groups, enhances grip strength, improves core stability, and boosts overall endurance.

Whether you're a seasoned athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or someone looking to add a challenging exercise to your routine, mastering the farmers carry can yield incredible results.

This guide will cover: 

  • Farmers Carry Muscles Worked
  • Farmers Carry Benefits
  • Proper Technique
  • Variations and Progressions
  • Farmers Carry FAQ 

Get ready to elevate your strength and unleash your inner powerhouse with the farmers carry!

Farmers Carry Muscles Worked

Farmers Carry Muscles Worked


Farmers' Carries are a fantastic full-body exercise engaging multiple muscle groups. The primary muscle groups involved in this exercise include:

Forearms and Grip Strength: The forearms, especially the wrist flexors and extensors, are significantly engaged due to the requirement to hold and carry heavy weights, contributing to improved grip strength.

Shoulders and Upper Back: The muscles around the shoulders, including the deltoids and trapezius, are engaged in stabilizing the weight and maintaining posture during the carry.

Core Muscles: The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, are constantly working to stabilize the body and the spine while carrying the weight.

Legs and Glutes: The legs, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, are engaged throughout the walk, working to support and stabilize the body.

Calves: The muscles in the calves are also involved in maintaining balance and stability during the exercise. 

Farmers Carry Benefits

The farmers carry is not just a simple exercise; it offers a multitude of benefits that can enhance your physical performance and transform your physique. 

Full-Body Strength: The farmers carry engages muscles throughout your entire body, including your grip, forearms, biceps, shoulders, back, core, glutes, and legs. It helps build functional strength and improves muscular endurance.

Grip Strength Development: Holding heavy weights for an extended period challenges your grip strength, which is essential for various exercises such as deadlifts, pull-ups, and rows.

Improved Posture and Core Stability: Carrying heavy weights requires you to maintain an upright posture, engaging your core muscles and promoting spinal alignment.

Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness: Walking with heavy weights elevates your heart rate, making the exercise a great addition to your cardiovascular training.

Everyday Functional Strength: The strength gained from farmers carry transfers to real-life activities, such as carrying groceries, moving furniture, or performing physical tasks at work. 

Proper Technique

Before getting into the nitty gritty of performing a farmer’s walk, let’s discuss the various equipment used for this exercise.

Dumbbells: These provide an excellent and convenient tool for Farmers' Walks. They allow a free movement and can be easily gripped for a walk that targets the forearms, shoulders, and the upper body.

Kettlebells: Kettlebells offer a different dynamic as they have a unique center of gravity compared to dumbbells. This challenges grip strength and core stability in a different manner. You can use one kettlebell or a pair for a varied workout.

Barbells: Farmers' Walks with barbells are typically performed by carrying the barbell in the power rack position or, for a more challenging option, resting it on your back across your shoulders. This method targets the upper back, traps, and core muscles more intensely.

farmers walk trap bar


Trap Bar: The trap bar, also known as the hex bar, is specifically designed for Farmers' Walks. It allows you to step into the bar and hold the handles on either side, engaging the muscles while minimizing stress on the lower back.

Specialized Handles: Farmers' handles, designed for these walks, offer a dedicated tool for this exercise. They have increased weight capacity and a more ergonomic grip, making them optimal for loading heavy weights.

Sandbags and Buckets: Carrying sandbags or buckets filled with sand or other heavy materials offer a unique and functional workout experience. They provide an awkward shape that tests your grip strength and forearm endurance.

Weight Plates: Carrying weight plates by the center hole, with one or several stacked together, presents an additional grip challenge due to the plate's size and weight distribution.

How to Do The Farmers Carry?


Select the Appropriate Weight: Choose weights that challenge you but allow you to maintain proper form and complete the desired distance or time.

Stand Tall and Engage Your Core: Begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button toward your spine.

Maintain a Neutral Spine: Keep your back straight and avoid excessive rounding or arching. Imagine a straight line extending from your head to your hips.

Grip the Weights Firmly: Hold the weights with a strong grip, ensuring that your wrists are aligned with your forearms.

Lift the Weights and Walk: Take small, controlled steps while maintaining an upright posture. Focus on keeping your shoulders back, chest lifted, and core engaged.

Walk for a Set Distance or Time: Aim to walk for a predetermined distance (e.g., 50 feet) or a specific time (e.g., 60 seconds) before safely setting the weights down.

Variations and Progressions

Once you have mastered the basic farmers carry, you can explore various variations and progressions to keep challenging your body and making progress. 

Uneven Farmers Carry


Hold different weights in each hand, challenging your core stability and balance.

Overhead Farmers Carry


Press a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells overhead and walk while maintaining an active shoulder position. This variation further engages your shoulders, upper back, and core.

Single-Arm Farmers Carry


Carry a weight in one hand while keeping the other hand free. This variation increases the challenge on your core and grip strength.

Loaded Carries with Implements


Utilize non-traditional implements such as sandbags, kettlebells, or farmer handles to add variety to your training routine.

Farmers Carry Medley 


Combine the farmers carry with other exercises, such as lunges, squats, or kettlebell swings, to create a challenging and dynamic full-body workout.

Farmers Carry FAQ

What muscles do Farmers Carry work? 

Farmers' Carries primarily target the muscles of the upper body, particularly the forearms, shoulders, upper back, and traps. They also engage the core and lower body for stability and support.

How do you perform Farmers Carry correctly?

To perform a Farmers' Carry, grip the weight, stand tall with a straight spine, and walk a certain distance. Maintain a neutral spine and engage the core muscles throughout the walk.

What is the optimal distance for a Farmers Carry?

The distance of the walk can vary, but many start with about 50 feet and progress from there. The key is to maintain proper form throughout the walk. 

What weight should I use for Farmers Carry?

The weight will largely depend on your strength level and workout goals. Start with a manageable weight and gradually increase as you build strength. It's crucial to maintain good form over lifting heavier weights.

Are Farmers Carry a suitable exercise for beginners?

Yes, Farmers' Carries are beginner-friendly but should be approached with proper form and a manageable weight. They offer excellent functional benefits for strength and endurance.

Are there variations for Farmers Carry?

Yes, there are multiple variations. Some of the common ones include using different equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, trap bars, or specialized handles. Each offers a slightly different feel and focuses on varied muscle groups.

Are Farmers Carry suitable for conditioning or strength training?

Farmers' Carries are excellent for both conditioning and strength training. They help to improve grip strength, muscular endurance, and overall functional strength.

How frequently should I incorporate Farmers Carry into my workouts?

Farmers' Carries can be performed several times a week, but it's advisable to listen to your body and provide adequate rest between sessions, especially when starting. Adjust the frequency according to your recovery.

The farmers carry is a versatile and challenging exercise that can take your strength and functional fitness to new heights. By incorporating this exercise into your training routine, you can reap numerous benefits, including full-body strength, improved grip strength, enhanced posture and core stability, and increased cardiovascular fitness. Remember to prioritize proper form and technique, gradually progress in weight and distance, and explore variations to keep challenging your body. Whether you're an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or a beginner, the farmers carry is a powerful tool to unlock your strength potential. So, grab those weights, stand tall, engage your core, and embark on a journey to unleash your inner powerhouse with the farmers carry!

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