It’s one of the most bang-for-buck exercises, but although it seems simple, there’s a lot to master in the Farmer’s Carry. Michael Coggins explains how to carry it off perfectly.
The action of carrying a weight or load is a normal part of our daily activity. We all do this in some form — carrying shopping bags to your car, giving your child a piggyback ride or carrying a basket of washing upstairs. By including the farmer’s carry in your training regimen, it just might make these day-to-day activities feel that little bit easier.
A farmer’s carry is probably the most bang-for-your-buck exercise as it uses almost every muscle in your body. It can be performed by anyone, from beginner to advanced, and can be done anywhere using many different objects as weights.
It may not look like much, but done correctly you’ll feel it in your forearms, shoulders, back, abdominals and legs, leaving you gasping for air at the end. It can be used to increase overall strength, build muscle, improve cardiovascular fitness and even reduce body fat.
When performing a farmer’s carry you’ll engage all the muscles of your core, shoulder and hips. These muscles must be braced to create full body stability while carrying the load. Think of it like performing a plank, only walking.
Your grip strength will also be tested and strengthened with this move.
6 steps for performing a safe and effective farmer’s carry
- Pick up a weight that will challenge you, ensuring you bend at your knees while maintaining a neutral spine alignment.
- Stand tall with the weights by your side, keeping palms facing in. Shoulder blades should be down and back while keeping the rib cage still.
- Embrace all the muscles of your core throughout the duration of the exercise.
- Start by taking short, deliberate steps while keeping your feet underneath your hips. This will provide you with a stronger base of support while carrying the weight
- Keep your head still and in a neutral position, looking straight ahead. This will keep tension out of your neck and keep your spine in a safe position.
- Carry the weight for the designated distance or time and ensure you place the weights down in a safe and controlled manner by bending your knees and not rounding your back. Rest then repeat for the required number of sets.
Michael Coggins is a personal trainer based out of Fitness First Pennant Hills. He has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry, specialising in strength and body composition, and is very passionate about the wellbeing, achievements and performance of his clients.
P: 0424 574 547