Walk Your Way to Strength: 4 Benefits of the Farmer’s Carry

Walk Your Way to Strength: 4 Benefits of the Farmer’s Carry

The farmer’s carry… aptly named for those hidden and hard-working strongmen and women that you won’t likely see flexing on TikTok or in the gym. But if you’ve ever shaken a farmer’s hand, you may have gained insight into how the farmer’s carry came to fame.

This simple exercise is one of the ultimate tests of real-world strength. You may not be wrangling the cows or hoisting hay bales, but mastering this movement will help you with everything from carrying the groceries to building hardcore endurance. You might just be surprised with the full-body benefits of this humble workout.

Let the gain harvest begin!

What is the Farmer’s Carry?

The farmer’s carry, also known as the farmer’s walk, is a resistance-training exercise that involves lifting and carrying heavy objects for an extended period. It is a full-body movement that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, providing a comprehensive strength and conditioning workout. Traditionally used by strongmen and strongwomen, the farmer’s carry has now gained popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

Reap the Benefits

The farmer’s carry may look deceptively simple, but as this study suggests, it packs a powerful punch when it comes to its benefits. Let's dig into five advantages of incorporating the farmer’s carry into your home gym routine.

1. Greater Core Strength and Stability

A strong core is the foundation of a strong and healthy body. Core strength refers to the strength and stability of the muscles in the torso, including the abdomen, back, and pelvis. The farmer’s carry forces you to maintain an upright position, engaging your posterior chain and promoting proper spinal alignment. By strengthening your core and back muscles, the farmer’s carry helps counteract the slouched posture commonly associated with our sedentary lifestyles. With regular practice, you'll notice improved posture not only during your workouts but also in your daily activities.

2. Injury Resilience and Shoulder Health

Injury prevention is a top priority for any fitness enthusiast. Or if you’re one of our over 40 friends, you might just want to be able to make the bed without tweaking your back! The farmer’s carry has been shown to improve resilience, particularly in the spine and shoulder muscles. Spine stability facilitates the efficient transfer of force between the upper and lower body, therefore minimising the risk of numerous injuries. Additionally, the farmer’s carry promotes proper scapular positioning, reducing the likelihood of shoulder instability.

3. Total Body Strength and Conditioning

If you're looking for a workout that targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the farmer’s carry is a great option. This exercise engages muscles from head to toe, including your neck, shoulders, back, abs, glutes, and legs. You’ll also see massive growth in your grip strength which will boost your performance for other workouts whether you’re into CrossFit, Callisthenics or body building. Farmer’s carries are a true test of strength and endurance, so it’s no surprise that they’re a staple of strongman and strongwoman workouts around the globe.

4. Mental Toughness and Work Capacity

Fitness is not just about physical strength; it's also about mental resilience. Performed rightly, the farmer’s carry pushes you to your limits, challenging your willpower and mental fortitude. Carrying heavy loads for extended distances requires focus, determination, and the ability to push through discomfort. Conquering the mental challenges of the farmer’s carry will help you develop a mindset that extends beyond the gym, rain or shine!

How to Perform the Farmer’s Carry

Now that you're aware of some benefits of the farmer’s carry, let's talk about how to perform this exercise correctly.

  1. Choose Your Equipment: You can use dumbbells, kettlebells, or any other weighted objects that challenge you without compromising your form. My personal preference is a pair of kettlebells. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable.
  2. Create a Clear Path: Think about where you’re going to perform the walk, and do a quick safety check. If it’s a home gym workout, you might want to do laps on the driveway or the down the footpath. Make sure you’ve got a clear path as you don’t want to be dodging obstacles while carrying weight.
  3. Set a Goal: This is supposed to be challenging, so aim for something that’s going to require you to work hard! It could be 100m split up into four 25m rounds, or maybe you want to do it for 60 seconds without putting the weights down. Start somewhere, and build up from there.
  4. Proper Set Up: Stand between the weights, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips and knees, maintaining a neutral spine, and grip the handles of the weights.
  5. Lift with Power: Initiate the movement by driving through your legs and hips to lift the weights off the ground. Keep your core tight and maintain an upright posture throughout.
  6. Walk with Purpose: Begin walking forward, taking small, controlled steps. Keep your shoulders back, chest up, and eyes focused straight ahead. Maintain a strong belly brace to stabilise your body as you move.
  7. Maintain Control: Walk for the desired distance or time, focusing on maintaining proper form and control. Avoid excessive swinging or swaying of the weights. If you feel your form deteriorating, it's better to reduce the weight than compromise your technique.
  8. Gradual Progression: As you become more proficient in the farmer’s carry, challenge yourself by increasing the weight, distance, or duration. Remember, progress is not always linear, so listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

Here’s a quick video showing the farmer’s carry in action.

Variations For Harvesting More Gains

As some famous fitness guy once said, “routine is the enemy!” To challenge your body in new ways and prevent plateaus, here are some variations of the farmer’s carry that you can incorporate into your training routine:

  1. Suitcase Carry: Perform the carry with a single weight in one hand while keeping your core engaged and maintaining an upright posture. This variation adds an extra challenge for your core and lateral stability.
  2. Split Carry 1 - Suitcase and Front Rack: Grip one of the weights in a suitcase carry and lift your second weight into the front rack position. If you have access to different weights, you’ll want to go heavy for the suitcase hold, and a little lighter for your front rack. Here’s a demo video.
  3. Split Carry 2 – Front Rack and Overhead: Lift one weight into a front rack hold, and press a lighter weight overhead with your opposite hand. Lock out your elbow and keep your arm straight up as you walk. Be sure to select a weight that you can safely press overhead and hold – no injuries please! Switch the weights around at your half way point to work both sides equally. This exercise is also known as the Filly carry – here’s a 10 second demo.
  4. Trap Bar Carry: If you have access to a trap bar, you can use it for the farmer’s carry. The trap bar allows for a more balanced centre of gravity, making it a great option for beginners or those with specific stability needs.

Remember to always prioritise proper form and technique, regardless of the variation you choose. Safety should be your top priority to prevent injuries and maximise the full-body benefits of the farmer’s carry.


The farmer’s carry is a versatile and effective exercise with major full-body benefits. By incorporating this functional movement into your home workout or gym routine, you're setting yourself up for greater core strength, injury resilience, full-body fitness, and mental toughness. To get yourself equipped, you’re going to need some kettlebells or dumbbells that will challenge your inner farmer – and we’ve got everything you need in the ChasingBetter WOD Supplies store! Go ahead and grab the gear, dig deep, and sow the seeds for real-world strength with the farmer’s carry.

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