Walking around with weights in each arm is a very underrated exercise. It is also the simplest way to make a walk more challenging. As an exercise, it transfers quite well to everyday life as improved grip strength means grocery bags, dogs tugging at leashes and packed duffle bags feel lighter than they actually are. Farmers carry handles are a tool found in very few gyms. It is a speciality tool with one function: load it up to carry as much weight as possible and walk with it. Why not just do that with a trapbar, dumbbells or kettlebells?
Here are two photos to illustrate why. Notice how the weight lies much closer to the body and the mid foot with the farmers carry handle versus a kettlebell where the bell rests against you. This matters especially as load up more weight. It makes for a much more comfortable experience to carry your body weight in each arm as you cover distance with the handle. It also lets you squeeze your upper back more effectively and maintain a more firm grip on the object. Dumbbells will feel much more unsteady as they will bob around while you walk.
We wanted to keep the welds to a bare minimum. We took a solid 3 inch wide , half inch thick piece of steel. We drilled a hole on the shorter folded side. This is where we attached a handle using a simple but strong nut and bolt. On the longer folded end, we welded a two inch diameter rod of 9 inches length to load up plates. This is one of the four welded sections on this object. The other weld is on the handle. We folded a plate of steel into an open top square and welded a knurled handle to the open side.
The result is a simple, compact setup that can hold 80 kgs per arm.
Traditionally, farmers carry handles feature many more welds and are much longer. Space being a constraint in our training space, this tool has a very specific context and use case. The lack of welds also makes this piece stronger and more elegant. As always machined and made in Madras.