How Farmer’s Carry Can Help You Build Muscle
And Increase Strength
If you’re just starting out with weight plate workouts or looking to change up your normal regime, then you should consider the farmer’s carry. It’s a great, simple way to work out all facets of your body and only requires basic equipment.
What Is The Farmer’s Carry?
The farmer’s carry is a great strength training type of workout that involves holding weights (such as weight plates or dumbbells) in each hand and then walking for a set distance or amount of time. The Farmer’s Carry targets several muscles to improve your overall strength, including:
If you do the farmer’s carry right, you’ll feel the effects instantly. Not only will your heart rate go up, but your core and target muscle groups will be engaged right from the onset.
How to Perform a Farmer’s Carry
As explained above, to perform the farmer’s carry all you have to do is hold weights in each hand and walk around. The farmer’s carry is a popular exercise because of its simplicity; you can integrate it into almost any workout, and you don’t need very complex tools to do it. It’s a quick and relatively straightforward way to strengthen your core.
You can do a farmer’s carry exercise using dumbbells or kettlebells, or, if you want to challenge yourself some more, a trap bar and weight plates. Once you’ve chosen your weight, you need to pick a way to measure your workout: time or distance.
In a timed workout, you’ll just walk until your timer is done–you can adjust the time depending on the weight. For example, if your weights are lighter than usual, then you can make up for this by doing the workout for a longer period of time.
You can apply the same logic to a distance workout; if you are using lighter weights than normal, then walk for a longer distance. Conversely, if you’re using heavier weights than what you’re used to, just shorten the distance. You can do a distanced workout even if you don’t have much space; just walk back and forth or in circles.
If you get bored of the classic farmer’s carry, there are variations of the farmer’s walk that you can try out.
The suitcase carry, also known as a loaded carry, is similar to the farmer’s carry but with an increase in difficulty level. It targets your core, shoulders, arms and upper and lower areas, serving as a holistic workout for your entire body.
The first step in the farmer’s carry is to stand tall, keeping those shoulder blades upright; if you are staggering or slouching, then you will not be able to reap the full benefits of this workout.
Like the farmer’s carry, the steps of this exercise are fairly simple; hold your kettlebell or weight plates with one hand by your side, as though you are carrying a suitcase. With this exercise you can train both sides of your body, giving extra focus to the weaker side. For example, if you are right-handed, your right arm will naturally be stronger; this exercise lets you specifically work out your left arm to maintain balance.
When you work out just one side, the abdominal on your other side will be getting worked out as well. For instance, if you carry the weight plates in your left hand, you can feel the right side of your core taking the strain.
The racked carry is a variation of the famer’s walk that involves holding your weight plates by your chest. This requires a good amount of upper body strength and demands that you keep your core and back stable, so it works out those areas as well.
One thing that you need to look out for with a racked carry is your breathing. Since the weight is by your chest, you might notice that your breathing becomes more constricted. Therefore, it’s important not to overdo it with the weight and to be conscious of your breath as you walk. This will actually help you with your workout; maintaining your breathing will conserve your energy and help you keep your back straight.
The overhead carry is arguably one of the most complex variations of the farmer’s walk. This involves holding your weight plates straight above your head, keeping your body tall and your shoulders straight. This action makes your spine straighten up and go into hyperextension, strengthening your back and core.
The overhead carry requires more upper arm strength and body stability than the standard farmer’s carry. Because of this, you might need to use lighter weight plates than what you’re used to.
What Weights Should I Use?
If you’re doing a farmer’s carry with weight plates, it’s important to pick the right type of weights. The weight should be tailored around your body weight and capabilities. You can pick between a variety of weights, including:
- Standard weights
- Olympic weights
- Bumper plates
- Cast iron weights
Standard weights are great for anyone new to working out or for anyone who isn’t looking for an intense workout. They’re typically 25mm in diameter, whereas Olympic weights are double that at 50mm. Olympic weights are also thicker, which makes them easier to grip and more stable to hold.
Your options don’t end there. If you decide that you want an Olympic weight, you have to pick the right type. One of the most popular options is the bumper plate weight. These are made of rubber, so the weights can be dropped from considerable heights without causing much damage to your floor. Their durability makes them great for any exercise that requires swift movement.
Another option is cast iron weight plates. These are the types of weight plates you associate with traditional bodybuilders; while they might not be as durable as bumper plates, they’re easier to grip and tend to be preferred by most frequent weight-lifters.
If you want to push yourself when performing the farmer’s carry, then you should go for the Olympic plate sets. Whether you pick the bumper or cast iron plates depends on your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions newcomers to the farmer’s carry may have.
Is the farmer’s carry safe?
Like any workout, there are safety risks when it comes to the farmer’s carry. Overdoing a workout can seriously strain your body and leave you with long-term injuries. Here are some important regulations you should be sure to follow.
- Pick the right weights
Picking a weight that is too heavy can cause injury. A good workout should be done consistently; over-exerting yourself does more harm than good.
- Don’t lean
When doing a farmer’s walk, specifically a suitcase carry, you might be tempted to lean one way or the other. It’s important to keep your back and body straight, otherwise you won’t be benefitting from the workout.
- Keep your stride short
When walking for a set distance or time, don’t try and over-do your strides. The workout will be safer and more effective if you take short, light steps.
What Grip Do I Use?
The only requirement here is a firm, strong grip. You need to make sure that your hold on the weight plate is secure, especially if you’re walking around. You have two main options when it comes to grip:
- Overhand grip
- Hook grip
- Mixed grip
The overhand grip is the most traditional grip, in which you grip hold barbell or dumbbell in the overhand position (palm in, back of hand out). It’s probably the most natural and comfortable position to maintain, which makes it a favorite for many people.
The hook grip involves overlapping your index and middle finger over your thumb. It’s more secure than the overhand grip, but it can cause pressure on your thumb which makes you want to relinquish your grip.
A mixed grip offers high grip strength without adding pressure to your thumbs. A mixed grip involves placing one hand in an overhand position and the other in an underhanded position (palm out, back of hand in). This position boosts grip strength and can make your weight plates feel lighter.
Do I need a training regime?
Working out is more than just hitting the gym; if you actually want to maintain the benefits of your workout, you need to apply that energy to your entire lifestyle. For example, filling up on junk food after a workout will undo all of the great things you just did for your body.
However, finding the right motivation can be difficult. It’s one thing to get yourself to the gym and follow your workout plan; it’s another thing to do that workout plan correctly, optimize your nutritional health and follow a proper sleep and health plan. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it on your own.
At ALLMAX, we know how difficult it is to stick to your workout and accompanying diet plan, so we provide the resources to help you do it. With an ALLMAX VIP membership, you get:
- Priority access to gear, products and events
- Personal training
- Nutritional assistance
- Peer motivation with other members
If you’re new workouts or just looking for a way to enhance your regime, ALLMAX offers the resources you need. Find out more information by adding your email address to ALLMAX’s site!