I am a huge fan of mixing in a Farmer Carry exercise no matter what the performance goal. We all need grip, back, and core strength, which can be a challenge to acquire, build, and maintain. Need to drag a big deer back to camp? Farmer Carry will help you develop the requisite muscles to make it achievable without calling in the cavalry. Need to climb a tree, dangle, and hang a tree stand? Farmer Carry is where it’s at.
The exercise is simple enough: grab a set of weights—one in each hand—and go for a walk. The shorter the distance, the bigger the weights should be. If you can barely make it to your destination, you’re performing it with the correct amount of weight.
The Farmer Carry strengthens your upper back and traps while also emphasizing good posture (when done correctly, of course: shoulders back, big chest, walking tall), which is crucial when you’re carrying a heavy pack for extended periods of time while hiking up a steep grade.
If you want to ramp up the challenge and build additional core, stabilizing strength, try a one-arm variation. Without a natural counterbalance in your opposite hand, you’ll have to engage your abs and lower back to maintain a neutral spine position and correct posture.