Strength Training Workouts: What is the Farmer’s Carry?

No farm is necessary for this strength training exercise. Learn how to do the farmer's carry with these Pro Tips.

Want to bring the farm to the gym? Exchange hay bales for dumbbells with the farmer’s carry exercise.

The farmer’s carry is a strength training and conditioning exercise. It challenges your core while helping to improve both total body and grip strength.

“The farmer’s carry is a total body strength and stability exercise that enhances an athlete’s overall work capacity,” performance enhancement specialist Jowan Ortega says. “This will enable an athlete to do more work [and] build strength and endurance.”

For this exercise, you can choose to use dumbbells or kettlebells. You’ll need two of the same weight. Your personal preference and comfort level will decide the heaviness of the load.


Woman Doing Farmer's Carry

Begin by bending down to pick up your weights. Be sure you’re bending your knees and not just lowering your upper half toward the floor. Practicing good form to pick up your weights will properly start the steps for the farmer’s carry.

After you pick up one weight with each hand:

  • Stand up tall, keeping the weights next to your thighs. Your arms should be straight down with no bend.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back. This will help create a neutral spine.
  • Brace your core to ready yourself for movement.
  • Begin to walk at a slow pace in a straight line. Your spine should remain neutral and your shoulders should still be down and back. Avoid slouching or leaning over.

Ortega suggests to avoid swaying from side to side and to keep your natural gait. Do not speed up the pace of your walk, but maintain a slow, casual speed.

“You will perform this exercise over a given distance, number of steps or time,” Ortega says.

Now that you know how to do the farmer’s carry, it’s time to move on and work on the suitcase carry.