HYROX Farmer Carry: 7 Essential Tips for a Powerful You

An athlete intensely focused while performing a Farmer Carry, with the bold text 'HYROX Farmer Carry' beside them

New to Hyrox or a seasoned event finisher and looking for an extra edge?

Fed up of your grip giving up mid way through the Farmer Carry? I was!

Ready to learn the tips, tricks and training routines to glide through this section unbroken?

Grab a brew and lets get into the 9 insights that will maximise your performance. Let’s get carrying!

1. What is the HYROX Farmer Carry

The HYROX Farmer Carry is a 200m Kettlebell’s carry. It is the 6th work station in the HYROX race.

You’ll have already completed a 1km run, 1000m Ski Erg, 1km run, 50m Sled Push, 1km run, 50m Sled Pull, 1km run, 80m Burpee Broad Jump, 1km run, 1000m Row and 1km run by the time you start your Farmer Carry. 

Once complete you have a 1km run, 100m Sandbag Lunges, 1km run and 75-100 Wall Balls left to finish the race.

The Kettle Bells are heavy at a weight of 2 x 16kg, 2 x 24kg or 2 x 32kg, more details below, and can be put down as many times as needed until you reach the completion line. 

The Kettlebells used in HYROX Farmers Carry

HYROX Equipment - Official HYROX Kettlebell

Official HYROX Kettlebells

Available Weights

  • 16 kg / 35.3 lb
  • 24 kg / 52.9 lb
  • 32 kg / 70.5 lb

2. Competition HYROX Farmer Carry Weight and Movement Standards

The Weights

  • Singles: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Women Pro/Men and the heavier 2 x 32kg for Men Pro
  • Doubles: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Men, 2 x 24kg for Mixed
  • Relay: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Men

Movement Standards

  • The Farmers Carry begins and ends with the removal/return of the
    kettlebells from the marked area next to the start/finish line. 
  • The athlete has to carry both kettlebells at all times while they move.
  • Kettlebells must be carried with both arms extended
  • Putting down the kettlebells to rest is allowed.
  • The station is completed, once the athlete carries the kettlebells across
    the finish line and returns them to the marked area.

More details on the Official Rules.

3. Average HYROX Farmer Carry Times

If not taken seriously, the Burpee Broad Jumps can significantly slow your HYROX race.

During the 2022/23 Season the average Farmer Carry times for each category were;

Womens Open: 02:25 mins

Womens Pro: 02:42 mins

Mens Open: 02:19 mins

Mens Pro: 02:19 mins

Womens Doubles: 01:55 mins

Mens Doubles: 01:43 mins

The Farmer Carry training and preparation section below will help you strengthen and improve your performance in this element of your HYROX race and take you that step closer to elite finishing times.

Data Courtesy of https://www.theroxzone.com

4. Enhanced HYROX Farmer Carry Training and Preparation

For most people the first thing to go during the Farmer carry is you grip, followed by core strength and cardio capacity.

To tackle these pinch points and get you sailing through the HYROX Farmer Carry, add the following training to your weekly routine;

Advanced Grip Strength Exercises:

  • Dead Hangs: Aim for 3 sets, with each set lasting as long as possible.
  • Olympic Ring Pull-Ups: Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Use the rings to mimic the grip on a kettlebell.
  • Farmer’s Walk: Start with a weight that’s comfortable for you and walk a distance of 50 meters. Gradually increase both the weight and distance each week until you can comfortably carry a weight heavier than the HYROX weight further than the 200m distance.

Core Strengthening Workouts:

  • Russian Twists: Do 3 sets of 20 reps with a moderate-weight medicine ball.
  • Planks: Hold for 1-2 minutes, for 3 sets. Increase time as you get stronger.
  • Deadlifts: Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps with a weight that is challenging but manageable, ensuring perfect form.

Cardiovascular Endurance:

  • Running: Include interval running 2-3 times a week, varying between sprints and steady-state runs.
  • Cycling or Rowing: 30-45 minute sessions, focusing on maintaining a consistent pace.

Kettlebell Specific Training:

  • Kettlebell Farmer Walks: Practice twice a week. Start with 50% of the competition weight and gradually increase to 120-150% over several weeks.
  • Kettlebell Squats and Lunges: To build leg strength, do 3 sets of 12-15 reps twice a week.
  • Alternating Arm Carries: This variation challenges your balance and core. Do 3 sets of 100m each.

Race Condition Simulation:

  • HYROX Circuit: Create a mini-circuit that mimics the HYROX race, including running, kettlebell carries, and other functional exercises like burpees or sled pushes to practise the Farmer Carry while compromised/Fatigued.
  • Rest Time Management: Practice minimal rest between activities to mimic race day conditions.

Recovery and Nutrition:

  • Post-Workout Protein: Consume a protein-rich meal or shake within 30 minutes after training.
  • Hydration: Drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily, more if training intensely.
  • Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal recovery.

Mental Toughness:

  • Visualisation: Spend 10 minutes daily visualising completing the Farmer Carry efficiently and successfully.
  • Breathing Exercises: Incorporate breathing techniques to control heart rate and stay calm under stress which will help your energy management.

Structured Farmer Carry Weekly Plan:

  • Monday: Grip strength and core workouts, plus 30-minute steady-state cardio.
  • Tuesday: Rest or light activity like walking.
  • Wednesday: Kettlebell specific training and interval running.
  • Thursday: Active recovery – yoga or stretching.
  • Friday: Full HYROX simulation circuit.
  • Saturday: Rest or light cardio.
  • Sunday: 10 minutes of mental preparation and planning for the next week’s training.

5. Mastering the HYROX Farmer Carry: Tips and Techniques

Grip: The Foundation of the Exercise

Hold the Kettlebell Handle in the Center:
Gripping the kettlebell handle in the center is essential for even weight distribution. An off-center grip can lead to muscle imbalances and strain on the wrists and forearms.

Forearm Engagement:
Activating the forearm muscles is key for a strong grip. This not only enhances your hold on the kettlebell but also contributes to overall forearm strength and endurance.

Posture: Ensuring Spinal Alignment

Stand Tall:
Maintaining an upright posture is important for spinal health. Engage the erector spinae muscles along your spine to keep your back straight.

Shoulder Position:
Shoulders should be retracted and depressed, meaning they are pulled back and down. This position engages the trapezius and deltoid muscles, providing shoulder stability and reducing the risk of injury.

Core Activation:
A tight core creates spinal stability. Engaging the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, helps to protect the lower back from strain.

Stride: The Mechanics of Movement

Even Steps:
Taking even steps ensures balanced weight distribution between both sides of the body. Uneven steps can lead to instability and increased strain on one side.

Foot Placement:
Feet should be aligned with the hips during the walk. This alignment ensures proper engagement of the quadriceps and calf muscles, contributing to balance and stability.

Pacing:
Maintaining a consistent pace is important for muscle engagement. A rushed pace can lead to reliance on momentum rather than muscle strength, reducing the exercise’s effectiveness.

Breathing: Core Stability and Oxygenation

Inhale Before Lifting:
A deep inhalation before lifting the kettlebells off the ground increases intra-abdominal pressure, which provides additional core stability.

Controlled Exhalation:
Exhaling in a controlled manner during each step helps to maintain core stability. Proper breathing also ensures adequate oxygenation of the muscles for endurance and performance.

Correct Footwear and Gear

On Your Feet:

You want balanced shoes with a good level of grip to avoid rolling your ankle or slipping as you walk forward with the weight.

Gear and Accessories:

As with all the other exercises in the workout, you’ll want clothing with moisture-wicking fabric that allows a good level of mobility

6. Common Mistakes in the HYROX Farmer Carry

Image of a person incorrectly performing a Kettlebell Farmer's Carry, marked with a red cross to indicate common mistakes

Ignoring Core Engagement: The Jelly Belly

The Mistake:
Failing to engage the core muscles while carrying the kettlebells.

The Consequence:
Lack of core engagement can lead to an unstable carry and put extra pressure on your lower back.

The Fix:
Actively engage your core throughout the exercise. Think of pulling your belly button towards your spine to maintain a strong, stable core.

Poor Grip: The Weak Link

The Mistake:
An improper grip, such as holding the kettlebell too far forward or backward on the handle, is a common error.

The Consequence:
A poor grip can lead to wrist strain and uneven weight distribution, which in turn can cause muscle imbalances and increase the risk of dropping the kettlebell.

The Fix:
Grip the kettlebell handle in the center and engage your forearms. This ensures even weight distribution and reduces the risk of wrist strain.

Bad Posture: The Hunchback Hazard

The Mistake:
Slouching or hunching over while performing Farmer Carries is a frequent issue, often due to fatigue or lack of awareness.

The Consequence:
Poor posture puts unnecessary strain on the lower back and can lead to long-term spinal issues. It also disengages the core, reducing the exercise’s effectiveness.

The Fix:
Keep your back straight and engage your core throughout the exercise. Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head to help maintain an upright posture.

7. Benefits of a Farmer Carry

Image of a science lab featuring a microscope and a DNA model, symbolizing the scientific research behind the benefits of Farmer Carries

Metabolic Activation: Thermogenesis and Caloric Expenditure

The Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry activates your metabolic system, increasing thermogenesis and caloric expenditure. Research indicates that resistance training, like Farmer’s Carries, can elevate your resting metabolic rate for up to 72 hours post-exercise.

  • Quick Takeaway: This exercise helps you burn calories even when you’re not working out, making it easier to lose weight or maintain your current weight.

Grip Strength and Forearm Musculature: A Neuromuscular Analysis

The Farmer’s Carry significantly improves grip strength by engaging the flexor and extensor muscles in your forearms. This neuromuscular activation is crucial for hand dexterity and can have downstream benefits for tasks requiring fine motor skills.

  • Quick Takeaway: Your grip will get stronger, which is useful for everyday tasks like carrying bags or opening jars.

Core Stability: Intra-Abdominal Pressure and Spinal Health

The exercise engages your core muscles, creating intra-abdominal pressure that acts as a natural weightlifting belt. This pressure supports the lumbar spine, reducing shear stress and the potential for lower back injuries.

  • Quick Takeaway: The exercise strengthens your core, which helps protect your lower back from injury.

Scapular Stability: Rotator Cuff Engagement

The Farmer’s Carry is excellent for scapular stability and engages the rotator cuff muscles. This is vital for shoulder health, as it helps to mitigate the risk of impingement and other shoulder-related issues.

  • Quick Takeaway: It strengthens the muscles around your shoulder blades, reducing the risk of shoulder injuries.

Functional Strength: Biomechanical Efficiency

The Farmer’s Carry is a closed-chain kinetic exercise, meaning it engages multiple joints and muscle groups in a biomechanically efficient manner. This functional strength is directly applicable to daily activities, enhancing your ability to perform tasks like lifting and carrying.

  • Quick Takeaway: This exercise improves your ability to do practical, everyday activities like lifting heavy objects or carrying groceries.

Lower Extremity Activation: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Calves

Your lower extremities are not bystanders in this exercise. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves work in concert to maintain balance and propel you forward, improving both muscular endurance and coordination.

  • Quick Takeaway: The exercise works your leg muscles, helping you walk, run, and climb stairs more efficiently.

Injury Mitigation: Musculoskeletal Balance

The Farmer’s Carry promotes musculoskeletal balance by engaging antagonistic muscle groups, reducing the risk of muscle imbalances that can lead to injury.

  • Quick Takeaway: By working multiple muscle groups, the exercise helps you avoid muscle imbalances, reducing your risk of getting injured.

Hormonal Responses: Testosterone and Growth Hormone Release

Resistance exercises like the Farmer’s Carry have been shown to induce acute hormonal responses, including the release of testosterone and growth hormone, which are essential for muscle growth and recovery.

  • Quick Takeaway: The exercise triggers the release of hormones that help your muscles grow and recover faster.

The Muscle Groups worked during HYROX Farmer’s Carries

Anatomical illustration of a human body with highlighted muscle groups targeted during a HYROX Kettlebell Farmer's Carry, including forearms, shoulders, core, and lower body

The Grip:

Forearms and Hands: The isometric contraction in your forearms and hands is crucial for maintaining a strong grip on the kettlebells. This phase primarily targets the flexor muscles in the forearms, which are responsible for grip strength.

The Walk:

Shoulders and Traps: As you walk, your deltoids and trapezius muscles work isometrically to stabilize the shoulder joint and keep the kettlebells from swaying. This helps maintain a balanced and controlled movement.

Quadriceps and Calves: These muscles are engaged dynamically as you walk. The quadriceps help extend the knee, while the calf muscles assist in plantar flexion of the ankle, propelling you forward.

Core Stability:

Core Muscles: The rectus abdominis, obliques, and the deeper transverse abdominis work in unison to stabilise the spine and pelvis. This ensures that your upper and lower body move in a coordinated manner, reducing the risk of injury.

Spinal Support:

Erector Spinae: These muscles run along your spine and are engaged isometrically to maintain an upright posture. A strong erector spinae is crucial for spinal health and effective force transfer between the upper and lower body.

Cardiovascular Endurance:

Heart and Lungs: The aerobic system is engaged during the Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry. As you walk, your heart rate increases and your lungs work harder to supply the muscles with oxygen, contributing to overall cardiovascular health.

Wrapping Up

The key to a successful HYROX Farmer Carry is Grip Strength, Core Strength, Cardio Capacity and Technique.

Now you’re armed with the tips, tricks and training routines, it’s time to go and put the work in.

You’ll notice significant improvement within a matter of weeks.

Your body and race time will both be thanking you.

Now go forth and carry!

And if you’re new to HYROX try our 6 Week HYROX Training Plan for Beginners to get you started.

FAQ’s

What weight is the farmers carry in HYROX?

Singles: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Women Pro/Men and the heavier 2 x 32kg for Men Pro

Doubles: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Men, 2 x 24kg for Mixed

Relay: 2 x 16kg for Women, 2 x 24kg for Men

What muscles do farmers carry work?

The Farmer’s Carry targets the forearms, shoulders, trapezius, core muscles, quadriceps, and calves

What are the pros of farmers carry?

The Farmer’s Carry improves grip strength, enhances core stability, promotes shoulder stability, increases metabolic rate, and develops functional strength applicable to daily activities.

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