Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeIsometric
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Quads, Shoulders, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Forearms Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Overhead Carry Overview

The dumbbell overhead carry is a variation of the farmers walk and an exercise used to strengthen the core and shoulders.

The dumbbell overhead carry provides a core stabilization challenge as you hold weight overhead and the core fights to stabilize the body as you walk for the predetermined number of steps.

Dumbbell Overhead Carry Instructions

  1. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip and stand up straight.
  2. Either snatch or clean and press the dumbbells overhead to get into position.
  3. While maintaining an active shoulder position, hold the dumbbell overhead and walk for a designated distance or amount of time.

Dumbbell Overhead Carry Tips

  1. When setting up for the lift, ensure you take a good deep breath to set your shoulder position. The weight will drive your shoulders into scapular depression so you want to ensure that your shoulders are set in a good position prior to lifting the weight.
  2. If you sit in a position of heavy scapular depression, you may find that a slight shrug of the shoulder is necessary to get adequate upward rotation of the scapula and ensure the shoulder girdle remains in a good position.
  3. If performing a unilateral carry variation, ensure that you’re not leaning to one side as you complete the movement.
  4. Shrug the shoulder just slightly. Not enough so that it takes above a position of neutral but just enough to offset the weight pulling your shoulders down.
  5. Walk slowly and ensure a heel-toe pattern.
  6. Stabilize the weight and don’t allow it to drive you into overextension.
  7. Continue to breath throughout the exercise and don’t rely upon respiration for spinal stabilization.