I have a personal favorite exercise for you today that is great for EVERYONE …
…. From bodybuilders and powerlifters interested in serious strength, to great-grandparents who want to stay independent and strong!
It’s one of the most functional exercises you can do for your core and your entire body.
It’s called the FARMER’S CARRY and it basically mimics a farmer carrying two heavy buckets of water.
When you’re using the right amount of weight, it’s surprisingly challenging.
It works your arms, shoulders, neck, back, glutes, and legs. It’s SO great for your core (which I’ve been talking a lot about this month), and it also can get your heart rate up!
When you use proper form in this exercise, it can build incredible total-body strength fast!
You can really FEEL it working all those muscles while you’re doing it – and it’s also why I recommend starting out slowly when you first try this because it can sneak up on you so you really feel it the next day.
Among other added benefits, the Farmer’s Carry builds grip strength – which is linked with longevity and general health as you get older! Who knew?
But for everyday fitness, you might wonder how this is functional and why it matters?
WELL, I have two words for you: GROCERY BAGS. Carrying them into the house after a trip to the store is basically the same thing as a farmer’s walk!
So, let’s talk about the proper “Farmer’s Carry” form.
To start, grab two dumbbells or kettlebells that are the same weight, They should be heavy enough to feel challenging.
Hold the weights by your sides, next to your thighs. You want your arms to be straight but you also don’t want to lock out your elbows. Just hold the weights naturally.
Set your shoulder blades so they are down and back, to put your spine in a neutral position, and brace your core.
The weight should be heavy enough so that you can feel the difference when you set your shoulder blades!
Now, it’s time to move. Walk at a slow pace in a straight line, keeping your upper body aligned … then carefully turn around and return to your starting spot.
As the weights get heavy, it can be tempting to hold your breath, shift your position by moving your shoulders forward or to lean forward, or even grit your teeth a little.
You might even think about walking fast. Avoid all of that! Just keep walking with good posture, at a steady pace.
And then, put your weights down when you get back to the starting position. That’s one set!
One set might be enough your first time trying it, to give you a feel for how your body responds.
And if you're more advanced and want to challenge yourself even more after you’ve got the basics down, try it with just ONE weight on one side (other hand is empty) ... while keeping in a neutral position while you walk (and not lean over to the side of the weight!)
Remember, the point is to CHALLENGE your muscles!
And also, controversy alert, since one of the goals of this exercise is to improve your hand and grip strength – using wrist wraps or grips to help you hold on to the weights won’t help you improve that.
Try this and let me know how you make out with it!