To build a rock-hard core, grip strength, and a big upper back, the loaded carry reigns supreme. You’ve probably done the basic farmer’s walk, but now it’s time for a new twist on this classic muscle-building move.

What It Is: Loaded carries have you toting around various tools in different positions. They don’t target one muscle. Instead, they hit many, as well as your entire nervous system.


1. For single-arm carries, walk 10 to 20 yards or 10 to 15 seconds for each arm for 2 to 3 sets. Double the distance or time for dual carries.

2. Use lighter weights for longer distances or as a warmup. If you’re using heavy weights, shorten the distance and implement as a finisher.

3. Add three carry variations a week to your traditional workouts.


1. Pick up the item, brace your core, and stand up tall with your shoulders peeled back and eyes forward.

2. Move forward, taking small, choppy steps with a slight bend in your knees.

3. As you get comfortable with the loaded weight, your stride length can open up as long as your posture stays solid.

1. Trap-Bar Trifecta

The neutral-wide grip handles of the trap bar are easier on the shoulders. This versatile tool also allows you to stand inside it with the weight aligned with your sides, which is generally a more optimal position. Try these three trap-bar variations:

Trap-bar Carry: Stand in the trap bar, grab the handles, and walk forward and backward for distance.

Trap-Bar Front Carry: Hold the trap bar by its handles with arms bent at 90 degrees. This move is sure to blow up your shoulders, biceps, and traps.

Trap-Bar Overhead Carry: Standing in front of the trap bar, grab the handles and curl and press the bar overhead. Brace your core and begin to walk forward for distance.


2. Duel Overhead

This variation, in which you carry two kettlebells or dumbbells over- head, will help pack on size to your shoulders and the smaller supporting muscles like the triceps and traps. You won’t be able to go as heavy, but that’s OK. Just increase the distance that you walk for optimal time under tension.

Do It:

Pick up two kettlebells and press them directly overhead, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Work on keeping your rib cage tucked down and in, and aim to get your biceps as close to your ears as possible.


3. Single-arm Front-rack Carry

This one-sided, front-loaded carry will make your core fire like crazy while helping correct piss-poor posture.

Do It:

Clean one kettlebell so it’s in the front-rack position. Brace your core, then begin to walk forward.


4. Single-arm Bottoms-up Carry

This variation increases strength and stability in your core and shoulder as you fight to balance the kettlebell.

Do It: 

Hold the ’bell bottoms up by the handle. Keep arm bent at 90 degrees. For balance, point your elbow directly ahead, or to alleviate pressure, externally rotate the shoulder slightly and point the elbow outward a bit.


5. Goblet Carry

The goblet carry is another variation that will challenge your core immensely, since all the weight is front loaded. In addition to fixing that desk-jockey posture, your biceps, shoulders, lats, and fore- arms will be burning.

Do It: 

Grab a kettlebell by the horns and bring it up to your chest (bent arms), about an inch off your sternum. Then begin to walk forward or laterally.

Want more of a challenge? Perform this move walking backward.


6. Dual Carry

This spin on the farmer’s walk has you holding one weight overhead while carrying the other at your side. As with most of the carries here, this is a test of shoulder strength. But the offset weight will also challenge your core as you fight to stay completely upright.

Do It:

Hold one kettlebell at your side and a slightly lighter one overhead, keeping a slight bend in your elbow. Be sure to switch sides each set to avoid imbalances.