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Master This Move: Farmer’s Carry

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OK, you might never need to carry heavy buckets of feed to your cattle, but we’re willing to bet you often carry your heavy grocery bags home or lug an overpacked suitcase make it across an airport terminal on occasion. “If you've ever done either of those things, you've already done a farmer's carry,” says Alyssa Ages, trainer at Uplift Studios, Epic Hybrid Training, and the Global Strongman Gym.

By adding this move to your routine, you'll guarantee that the next time you find yourself toting 20 pounds of food or clothes is way easier. But this exercise isn't just an (awesome) functional strength movement. "The farmer carry builds muscle in all the places we want to see more definition: biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, glutes, and perhaps best of all: core," says Ages. "To keep stable and support the weight you're working with in a heavy farmer carry, you have to engage and keep your core super tight."

If you don't have farmer's handles, sub in a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells. (Master This Move: The Kettlebell Windmill.)  But if you have access to sled, don't be afraid to use it! Those special handles allow you to add more weight and keep it evenly distributed, so, as you progress, you can continue to make the move harder.

One key tip: Pick a challenging weight to get the max possible benefits. “Don't be afraid of the heavy dumbbells or kettlebells—your grocery bags weigh more than those 10-pound dumbbells do,” says Ages. (Find out When to Use Heavy vs Light Weights.) Work four sets of four reps of this move into your routine once or twice a week. Here's the breakdown.

A Stand with feet in a narrow stance (hip-width distance or less). Bend to pick up the handles/kettlebells/dumbbells by bending your knees and sending your butt back with your back flat and upper back tight.

B Drive through your heels to lift the weights, keeping your back flat and head up. Keep your body in a vertical line, shoulder blades drawn back, abs tight, keeping a strong grip on the weights and engaging your forearms. 

Then, take short, quick steps as you walk and try to move at least 100 feet before setting the weights down. 

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