The farmer’s carry seems simple, at least watching someone else do it, but when you pick up a heavyweight and start walking, you quickly realize how hard it is. Your shoulders ache, your grip starts slipping, and you begin to realize that you maybe making, what be one of many, farmer carry mistakes.

You may feel like letting out a few choice words and dropping the weight, but you realize other people are around, including a grandma who is warming up with your max.

So, it’s better not to embarrass yourself and suck it up.

Legendary strength coach Dan John has said on numerous occasions that carries are the missing link in many people’s programs because of the biggest mistake of all. They don’t do them. If there is one exercise that lifters go out of their way NOT to do (besides warming up and side planks), it is carries.

So, if you do them, the other mistakes are fixable. If you don’t do them, that’s on you to fix.

Here we will reacquaint you with the carry, what’s needed for it, and three common farmer carry mistakes to watch out for so you can get the best out of this functional exercise.

How to Do The Dumbbell Farmers Carry

  1. Select a dumbbell with 25% to 50% of your body weight in each hand.
  2. Pick them up and hold the dumbbells tight by your sides and at arm’s length.
  3. Get your chest up and shoulders down for good walking posture.
  4. Walk slowly and carefully, paying attention to your gait for 40-100 yards.
  5. Place the dumbbells back in the rack or carefully on the floor when you’re done.
  6. What’s Needed For Good Form

First, you must do them because if you don’t, you miss out on all the life-saving benefits of grip strength. And don’t you like pickles on your hamburger because almost all hamburgers are made better by adding pickles. Anyhow here is what’s needed for good farmers’ carry form.

  • Willingness to do them.
  • Some degree of mental toughness.
  • Good walking posture.
  • A clear path where you can walk.
  • The ability to grip using your thumb.

Seems simple, correct? Yet mistakes can be made. Here will go over some common errors with easy fixes to get the best out of this awesome exercise.

Male fitness model with a muscular core doing forearm workouts with dumbbell farmer's carry exercise

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Common Farmer’s Carry Mistakes

The best place to start with carries, no matter the variation, is to think of it as a loaded standing on your two feet plank. And you do planks. Right?