Farmer Carry

Farmer Carry: Improve Your Posture and Strengthen Your Back

exercise gym physical training strength strength training Jun 22, 2024

I don't believe in good or bad exercises. Every exercise has a specific purpose and its place. What works wonders for one person can be dangerous for another.

However, some exercises just work for everyone. Meet the FARMER CARRY. Everyone who trains with us does this exercise. And for a good reason: it's one of the most functional exercises you can do. It’s fantastic for improving posture and has a minimal learning curve.

What is the Farmer Carry?

The Farmer Carry is simple. You lift two weights, one in each hand, and walk with them. You can use kettlebells, dumbbells, a hex bar, or special farmer bars. For beginners, dumbbells or kettlebells are perfect. They’re relatively light. With some training, you can use serious weights. It’s also the ideal exercise for holiday shopping (wink).


Although the Farmer Carry is technically simple, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Stand in the middle of the weights.
  2. Squat down and grab the weights with a flat back.
  3. Lift the weights by deadlifting them. Keep a proud posture, look forward, and engage your core. Push the ground away as you stand up straight instead of pulling.
  4. Once standing, bring your shoulder blades to a neutral position. Lift your shoulders, pull them back, and then let them drop. You should now have a straight, proud posture.
  5. Walk at a steady pace for 10-20 meters and then place the weights down controlled. Repeat this 1-4 times. This is one set.

Additional Information

I usually incorporate the Farmer Carry into my programs as follows:

  • 4 sets of 15-60 meters, with 60 seconds rest in between.
  • Change the distance and weights each week; Start with 60 meters, then 45 meters, 30 meters, 15 meters, and back to 60 meters. The shorter the distance, the heavier the weight, and vice versa.

Each training session uses a different distance. This is perfect for building both strength and endurance in the postural muscles.

Benefits of the Farmer Carry

The Farmer Carry is multifunctional. It trains:

  • Grip strength
  • Endurance
  • Leg strength
  • Bone density
  • Pelvic stability
  • Lifting technique
  • Posture (standing tall)
  • Your ability to carry heavy loads

I primarily use this exercise to improve posture. More and more people sit too much. This weakens the back extensors, upper back, glutes, and abs, often leading to poor posture and physical complaints.

During this exercise, the entire posterior chain (muscles on the backside) works to keep your body upright and stable. It strengthens the muscles weakened by prolonged sitting, such as the quadriceps, glutes, back extensors, and upper back.


There are many variations of carry exercises. One of the best and simplest is the Suitcase Carry, where you carry a weight in only one hand. In this variation, you have to work much harder on the opposite side's abdominal muscles.

This is a great exercise to train your core strength and stability. For sets and reps, you can do the same as with the Farmer Carry; 4 sets of 15-60 meters, with 60 seconds rest.

Both the Farmer and the Suitcase Carry are excellent to integrate into a conditioning circuit. I usually use lower weights, but longer distances and more sets. Of course, everything depends on your goals and capacity. Always train under the supervision of an experienced professional to avoid injuries.


The Farmer Carry is an exercise where you can use relatively heavy weights. You use your whole body in the exercise. Here is a reference for weights based on body weight and level:

  • Beginner: 25-50% of body weight per hand
  • Intermediate: 50-75% of body weight per hand
  • Advanced: 75-100% of body weight per hand
  • Elite: >100% of body weight per hand

For a distance of 15-60 meters or 15-60 seconds. Always ensure you do a good warm-up before training with challenging weights.

Maximum Results in Minimal Time

The Farmer Walk is one of the few exercises everyone can do. If you want to get the most out of your training time, you can easily integrate this exercise into your program. In fact, you could even do a workout with just the Farmer Carry:

  • Set a timer for 20-30 minutes that signals every minute.
  • Walk 15-30 meters every new minute and rest for the remaining time.

Your posture will never be the same, and there's a good chance your back pain will disappear or significantly decrease. Of course, no single exercise is the solution to all problems. To get the most out of your training, an experienced coach is indispensable. Every body has different needs. Once you know where you can make gains, you can train specifically. Only by training with a purpose can you achieve the best results.

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