For years, the farmer’s carry—and its many variations—has been hands down the go-to loaded carry for building core strength and a viselike grip. This has overshadowed the benefits you can glean from another carry: the duck walk.

A mainstay in strongman competitions, the duck walk has lifters carry a T-shaped handle, or T-bar, that’s loaded with 45-pound plates in between their legs. It’s a test of grip strength, speed, stamina, footwork, and stability. The challenge comes from stabilizing your body as the dangling weight sways back and forth between your legs. You want to maintain sturdiness through the torso, keep your shoulders locked back, and accelerate quickly. But be warned: “You’re going to get a little beat up,” says Matt Mills, a competitive strongman and owner of Lightning Fitness in South Windsor, CT. “Your inner thighs are going to get bruised from the plates, but, hey, that’s strongman.”

Below, Mills breaks down how to do the duck walk. Follow his advice and give it a try. You’ll find it’s a great substitute for traditional cardio at the end of a workout, as it taxes your whole body.


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How to Do It: Kettlebell Duck Walk

  1. Stand with a loaded T-bar between your legs, feet wider than shoulder width and toes pointed out in a 45-degree angle. (If you don’t have a T-bar, hold a dumbbell vertically by the head or grip the handle of a heavy kettlebell. You’ll also spare your thighs this way.)
  2. Pick up the weight, squeezing your shoulder blades together and fighting the urge to lean forward. “You want to be upright for a duck walk,” Mills says.
  3. Start walking forward, taking short, choppy, heel-to-toe steps. “Have your toes angled out and kinda just waddle with it,” Mills says. Do 5 sets of 50 feet.

Quick Tip

You can thread a rope attachment through the handle of a kettlebell to increase the sway of the weight.

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