Strength Training for Yogis: Farmer’s Carries for Functional Strength

Getting stronger doesn’t have to be complicated. Use farmer’s carries to increase your strength and improve your yoga practice.

As yogis, we cross-train to improve our yoga practice. When you incorporate farmer’s carries into your training, you’ll find inversions and overall body strength increase. Poses like crow and balancing in general will become more effortless.

We also train to create ease in our everyday life movements. A farmer’s carry is like carrying bags of groceries out to the car. The concept is exactly the same. Your new strength will make these tasks much easier.

When training the farmer’s carry, you will notice your grip strength is a limiting factor in how much weight you can carry. This is normal and something that will improve over time, especially if you train other movements, like kettlebell swings and pull ups.

Here are five points of performance for the farmer’s carry.

  • Start with your feet hip-distance apart, like you would set up for a deadlift.
  • Wrap your hand fully around the kettlebell or dumbbell, creating a cup with the palms.
  • Stand the weight up. Keep your core engaged, chest up, back flat, and shoulders depressed down.
  • As you begin to walk, keep the knees slightly bent and shuffle your feet, taking small steps.
  • Put the weight down as carefully as you picked it up.

Three Functional Farmer’s Carry Workouts

How do we incorporate farmer’s carries into our weekly yoga routine? Below are three workouts to do at the gym. They require minimal equipment and 12-45 minutes of your time, depending on which one you choose.

Warm Up:

  • 400 meter run
  • 10 burpees
  • 30 second handstand hold
  • 10 burpees
  • 400 meter run

Workout #1

Total time needed: about 45 minutes

  • 5×50 meter farmer’s carry with heavy kettlebells
  • The goal is to not drop the weight the whole set.

For time:

  • 30-20-10 kettlebell swings
  • 30-20-10 dumbbell push press
  • 400-200-100 meter run

How To Do It:

Start with 30 kettlebell swings, then 30 dumbbell push press, then 400 meter run. From there, 20 kettlebells swings, 20 push press, etc.

Suggested Weights:

For both kettlebell swings and dumbbell push press, choose a weight that feels manageable. Suggested weights are 25lb kettlebells and 15lb dumbbells

Workout #2

Total time needed: about 30 minutes

  • 100 meter weighted lunge walk step with dumbbells or kettlebells
  • Every 10 steps do 10 push ups

5 rounds for time:

  • 15 burpees
  • 400 meter run

Workout #3

Total time needed: about 20 minutes

3 rounds for time:

  • 25 ring row
  • 200 meter farmer’s carry (keep the weight light)
  • 50 squats

More Ways to Make Your Yoga Strong:

Teaser photo courtesy of CrossFit Impulse