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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
  • Equipment Needed
  • How to Do The Farmers Carry
  • Farmers Carry Benefits
  • Variations and Progressions
  • Farmer’s Carry Sets and Reps
  • FAQs

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. 

Primary Muscles Worked

1.Forearms and Grip Strength

  • Flexor Muscles: These muscles are heavily engaged as you grip and hold the weights. The sustained grip required for carrying the weights helps build grip strength and endurance.


  • Deltoids: Carrying heavy weights engages the deltoid muscles to stabilize and control the movement, particularly the anterior and lateral deltoids.

3.Upper Back

  • Trapezius: The traps, particularly the upper traps, are engaged to keep the shoulders stabilized and to support the weight.
  • Rhomboids: These muscles help to retract the shoulder blades and maintain proper posture during the carry.


  • Rectus Abdominis: The "six-pack" muscles work to stabilize the torso.
  • Obliques: Both the internal and external obliques are engaged to prevent side-to-side swaying and to maintain an upright posture.
  • Transverse Abdominis: This deep core muscle helps to stabilize the spine and pelvis during the movement.

5.Legs and Hips

  • Quadriceps: The quads are used to keep the legs straight and support the body's weight.
  • Hamstrings: These muscles help in stabilizing the legs and maintaining balance.
  • Glutes: The gluteal muscles help in stabilizing the hips and providing the necessary strength to walk while carrying weights.
  • Calves: The calf muscles, particularly the gastrocnemius and soleus, are engaged to support the body's weight and aid in walking.

Secondary Muscles Worked

  • Lower Back (Erector Spinae): These muscles work to keep the spine erect and stabilize the body during the carry.
  • Adductors and Abductors: These inner and outer thigh muscles help maintain balance and control during the walk.

Equipment Needed

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

  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Barbells
  • Trap Bar
  • Specialized Handles
  • Sandbags and Buckets
  • Weight Plates


Dumbbells farmers carry

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 farmers carry

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.


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 Carry 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

Buckets farmers carry

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.

Farmers Carry Benefits

barbell Farmers Carry

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. 

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


The Uneven Farmers Carry involves walking with two dumbbells, barbell or kettlebells of different weights. Keep your core engaged, and shoulders square, and walk in a straight line. This variation challenges stability and grip strength, offering benefits for the forearms, core, and overall strength.

Overhead Farmers Carry


The Overhead Farmers Carry is a challenging variation where you hold a weight overhead while walking. It targets the shoulders, upper back, and core. Lift a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells overhead with one arm, engage your core, and walk in a controlled manner. This exercise enhances shoulder stability and overall strength.

Single-Arm Farmers Carry


The Single-Arm Farmers Carry is a simple yet effective exercise that primarily targets the muscles in the core, shoulders, and grip strength. To perform this exercise, grab a weight, such as a dumbbell or kettlebell, in one hand, keeping your core engaged and shoulders level. Walk with a straight posture, ensuring that the weight doesn't pull you to one side. This exercise helps improve unilateral strength and stability.

Loaded Carries with Implements


Loaded carries with implements involve walking while carrying various heavy objects, such as sandbags, kegs, or other irregularly shaped items. This exercise engages multiple muscle groups, including the core, shoulders, and legs, while also challenging your grip strength and overall stability. To perform loaded carries with implements, pick up the object, maintain a tall posture, and walk for a specified distance or time. This dynamic exercise not only builds strength but also enhances functional fitness by simulating real-world activities that require lifting and carrying objects.

Farmers Carry Medley 


A Farmers Carry Medley is an advanced variation of the traditional Farmers Carry that involves carrying different implements or weights in succession. This adds complexity and challenges various muscle groups and stability in different ways. The medley could include carrying dumbbells for a distance, followed by a kettlebell carry, and then transitioning to a trap bar carry.

Performing a Farmers Carry Medley not only targets the muscles involved in a standard Farmers Carry but also introduces variety and unpredictability, forcing your body to adapt to different loads and shapes. This exercise is particularly beneficial for overall strength development, grip strength, and functional fitness.

Always ensure proper form and start with lighter weights before progressing to more challenging variations in a medley. If you're new to this exercise, consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Farmer’s Carry Sets and Reps

The farmer's carry can be adapted to suit various fitness levels and goals by adjusting the sets, reps, distance, or duration. Here's how to structure your farmer's carry workouts:

General Guidelines

  • Warm-Up: Always begin with a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints.
  • Weight Selection: Choose weights that challenge you but still allow you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

Sets and Reps Structure

1.Strength Focus

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Distance/Time: 20-40 meters (or 20-40 seconds)
  • Weight: Heavy weights (80-90% of your max carry capacity)
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

2.Endurance Focus

  • Sets: 3-5
  • Distance/Time: 50-100 meters (or 45-60 seconds)
  • Weight: Moderate weights (60-70% of your max carry capacity)
  • Rest: 30-60 seconds between sets

3.Hypertrophy/General Fitness Focus

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Distance/Time: 30-60 meters (or 30-45 seconds)
  • Weight: Moderate to heavy weights (70-80% of your max carry capacity)
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets


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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