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Finish Strong! THe Importance of the Farmer's Carry!

Thoughtful Thursday – The Carrying Motion

Hey y’all! Tempo Training and Performance is back with another edition of Thoughtful Thursday, a blog where we help give you more information on form, technique, injury prevention, workout advice, or anything else that has to do with running and triathlons. Today is the sixth blog in our mini - series on strength training for endurance athletes. Today we are going to talk about the carrying motion, what it is, why it’s important, and lastly how to perform one example of this exercise. Let’s get it going!

What is the carrying motion?

The carrying motion is exactly what it sounds like… carrying heavy stuff. This motion is one that most of us are familiar with and is the same motion used to carry heavy grocery bags, suitcases, strollers, or anything with handles that we have to pick up and walk with.

Why is the carrying movement so important?

You may be asking yourself, What in the world does this have to do with running and triathlons? Why in the world would I go to the gym to do this? How will this help me be a better runner? How will this make me any stronger? You may think this has nothing to do with anything we need for our sport. However, that is far from the case! The carrying motion is a great way to work on holding our posture despite extreme fatigue and that is what our sport is all about. As discussed in previous blogs and videos, maintaining upright posture helps us push off from a solid core which improves our power and propulsion in each of our sports. So keep reading and learn how to perform the carry and how to get faster from doing it!

Set up for the farmer’s carry

Now that we’ve talked about why the carrying motion is so important, I’m going to walk through how to perform the farmer’s carry so that you can perform it safely and effectively into your strength training routine.

1. Grab yourself a set of dumbbells. For this exercise find something that feels pretty heavy to carry, but you could do safely and without hurting yourself. (again, if you are not sure, start light and move up as you feel comfortable)

2. Find a section of your gym that has a clear, straight path to walk where you won’t have to worry about tripping over anyone or having to dodge a lot of people.

3. Set your weights down at one end of this walkway.

4. Squat down and pick up your weights making sure that your back and spine are in a good flat position and your core is engaged.

5. Before you start walking be sure you are standing in a good, upright posture with your shoulders back, core engaged, and a nice flat back.

6. Holding the weights in both hands and maintaining a good posture, walk a distance of 50-100 feet and then gently set the weights down. Repeat this procedure for as many sets as are prescribed in your plan.

How often should I implement farmer’s carries into my training plan?

Like most other movements, the farmer’s carry is a motion that should be performed every time you strength train, which for endurance athletes should be between 1-2 times a week. I personally like to use the carry as a “finisher” exercise, meaning that I put it at the end of my strength routine in order to practice good posture with tired, fatiguing muscles. For this particular exercise, I like to start with 2-4 carries of 50-100 feet with 60-90 seconds rest between carries.

Well guys, that’s how you perform the farmer’s carry. I hope I’ve shown you that this is a beneficial and important exercise as it has big implications in our grip strength as well as our posture for endurance sports. If you liked this blog please share this out to someone who needs to hear this and make sure to watch the Technique Tuesday video on proper form for the Famer’s Carry here:

For the 5 dynamic warm up exercises for runners click here:

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Until next time,


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