One of the Best Exercises for Firefighters- The Carry

We as fire rescue athletes are generally moving in unbalanced positions. Whether its climbing a ladder, pulling hose, or ventilating, we are usually in an unbalanced, split stance. Therefore one area of focus should be the deep balancing muscles of the core. These muscles play an important role in holding and stiffening the pelvis to prevent it from bending and can be challenging to train in normal bi-lateral lifting and pulling exercises.

In addition, we as fire rescue athletes are routinely required to carry heavy loads and equipment. The farmers carry (and other carry variations) addresses these issues, it engages the core, improves balance and at the same time improves grip strength. It’s a simple movement, grab some fairly heavy objects, engage the core by bracing your abs and slowly walk (chest up, good posture). The longer and heavier you go the more you challenge the core and your grip.  Do carries at any point in your workout, I especially like to do them at the end when fatigued.  But, no matter when you do them, the payoff is the same- a stronger, leaner and more efficient body on the fire ground.

farmers carry

Here are some important coaching ques when performing “carries.”

  • Keep your shoulders back- Arching your shoulders forward can hinder the shoulder joint
  • Tuck your chin- Keep your ears directly over your shoulders and hips, this helps to keep your spine aligned.
  • Keep your abs flat-  Bracing your abs (preparing for a punch) will help support your back and core.
  • Grip Hard- A tight grip on the object being carried increases tension in your core and shoulders.
  • Go Heavy-  Carries are limited only by the objects around you.   Carry any weight that you can hold for the recommended distance or duration, as long as your body is properly aligned.

You can perform different variations of the “carry” for distance and/or for time. Click the video below to see some functional “carry” options for fire rescue athletes.

Give these “carry” options a try during your next FRF Workout.

Stay safe and Get FRF!

Aaron Zamzow

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